Welcome to the third in our series of gardening articles written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).
Its getting hot, hot, hotter
As summer is now here you may, like me, be watering every day (or evening) and sometimes twice a day as it’s important to take care of the more delicate plants in your garden and/or house.
Providing shade during the day is the easiest way to do this but, if you don’t have any shady areas, you can also place pots on trays with water to help keep them from drying out. Try not to water plants in the full sun to avoid scorching the leaves or, if you have to water whilst the sun is out, water from the base of the plants.
Not too late for seedlings
It’s still not to late to start seedlings but due to the constant sunshine its harder with smaller plants that may well struggle if they don’t have a root system in place.
I have just started a second lot of cucumbers to start fruiting when the current ones have finished. Beetroot, cabbage, carrots, salad leaves (lettuce, rocket) can all be sowed where they are to grow but, if that is a place you aren’t able to keep moist, you can start seeds off in pots and transplant them once the seedlings have their first two to four proper leaves. These are the leaves that appear after the first seed leaves (normally a different shape to the seed leaves).
Any flower seedlings, especially smaller type plants, will need a cooler place to establish before you attempt to plant them in their final position. The hot weather will just fry any young plants! If you are able to sow and keep them moist, do so where you intend the plant to grow as moving them, no matter how hard you try, will be difficult in this heat.
The difference in temperatures to the UK means you can sow seeds and plants a month earlier here (plants normally sowed in March can be sowed in February) and an extra two months before if sown or harvested in October. Please refer to the UK vegetable planner below as a rough guide to when to sow.
Tomatoes are a fruit that most of us enjoy. They can be used in everything from salads to sauces, pizza topping or eaten fresh from the plant, as I do.
There are 100s if not 1000s of different varieties to choose from; cherry tomatoes (small ones), beefsteak (big-un’s) and every size in between. They come in different colours too; yellow, black, striped or the traditional stop-light red.
It’s still not to late to grow your own. Whilst they are currently cheap on the markets (have seen them for 1 TL for a kilo), in August and September the price will most likely rise – and you can’t beat the taste of freshly picked tomatoes.
They are easy to grow in pots if you don’t have the space to grow them in your garden. You need a five- litre pot (minimum size) to grow each plant or you can grow in bags. 25kg bags of soil are ideal for up to three plants and can be used the same way grow-bags are used in the UK.
You can buy seedlings at the markets or use seeds from tomatoes. Cut your tomato in half, dab the wet sliced part on a tissue or kitchen towel and the seeds should stick to the paper. Leave to dry. Once dry, place the paper towel with the seeds on the soil where you will grow the plants (if possible). Lightly cover with more soil and keep moist.
In approximately four days you should see the seedlings appear. Once they have their first proper leaves you can move the plants to their permanent positions if necessary. In around four weeks you should have flowers and then baby tomatoes.
Another red fruit most of us enjoy is strawberries. The bonus in Turkey is that they seem to have two fruiting periods, April to July and December to January. Once plants are established they send out runners which, if placed on soil whilst still attached to the parent plant, produce more plants which in turn means more strawberries.
It’s important to grow flowers as well as fruiting plants to encourage beneficial insects, who will not only pollinate your crops but also keep the non beneficial (greenfly etc) insect population down.
Yellow seems to be the favorite of bees and wasps, who help to keep greenfly and caterpillars down by eating them. Marigolds and sunflowers are an easy solution and easy to grow.
If you are unable to grow them from seeds, most garden shops and markets have seedlings available. You will need to keep them well watered to make sure they survive once planted out.
Do you have a question about gardening?
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