Welcome to the fourth in our series of gardening articles written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).

Keep your garden surviving and thriving in August

As we now enter the hottest month, knowing when and how to water your garden is very important. Here are some tips to help you.

Water in the evening

The time of day you water makes a huge difference to how much moisture gets to your plants. Watering in the day when the sun is at its strongest will mean a lot of the water will evaporate from the soil before it reaches the roots.

The best time to water is in the early evening. As it is cooler, there is less evaporation giving the moisture a full night to seep down to the roots using a lot less water in the long run. If you can’t water in the evening, early morning before the sun beats down is the next best time.

Mulch your soil

If you leave the soil around your plants bare it will dry up and the roots of your plants will dry up with it. Keeping your soil moist and healthy during summer means protecting the uppermost layer. Cover it with a mulch of your choice, garden compost, composted manure, straw, grass clippings or I prefer to grow ground covering shallow root flowers like lobelia.

Direct Watering

When watering with a hose or a watering can try to direct the water onto the soil, not the foliage.

Growing in containers/Pots

Don’t use terracotta pots as they seep water. Use plastic with a small tray underneath to catch any overflow and leave a small amount for the plants to soak up throughout the day. Try not to use black plastic pots as they get very hot very quickly and cook the plants. I have seen people use foil around pots to reflect the sun but I have never tried this personally as it is more difficult to see and feel when containers are dry and need watering. Poke a finger in the soil to feel if its moist or not and, if it’s dry water it, if still moist leave it for the day.

Seed saving

It’s quite easy to save the seeds from most flowers and plants and use them next season. I have recently managed to save parsnip seeds and I managed to get them to germinate.

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice – keep your garden surviving and thriving in August
Parsnip in flower
How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice – keep your garden surviving and thriving in August
Parsnip pulled up ready to harvest the seeds

It is usually even easier to save the seeds from flowers. I am saving the seeds from my giant red and harlequin sunflowers that I have grown this year – well, the ones the finches haven’t got to! I’ve tied plastic bags over some of the flower heads to stop the finches getting to the seeds.

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice – keep your garden surviving and thriving in August
Lee tending to his sunflowers. Photo by Lee Stevenson.
How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice – keep your garden surviving and thriving in August
Sunflower seeds being removed from dried flower head. Photo Credit: Bee and Basil

Marigolds, morning glory, cornflowers and nasturtium are all fairly large seeds that just need removing from the flower heads once they have finished flowering. Store them in a dry place, out of the sun, and save for when needed.

For petunias and other small seeds, choose a day when its not windy, place a folded piece of white paper underneath the dried flower heads, gently tap the flowerhead and then slide the seeds from the paper into a container or envelope and label. Smaller seeds generally need covering with less soil when planting out.

Winter crops

It’s the last chance to sow seeds for any winter vegetables you may want to grow for harvest in December; cabbage, cauliflowers, carrots, leeks can be seeded or you can but seedlings or “leeklings” at the markets.

Any vegetable for harvest from December onwards need starting from seed now. Mostly, I start in seed trays or pots but bigger plants like onion sets or garlic cloves can be sowed where they are to grow. Why not try using any cloves of garlic you get from the market that you didn’t use or are too small? Within two weeks you should see a small green shoot and in around six months will have your own home grown garlic.

How does your garden grow? Lee’s gardening advice – keep your garden surviving and thriving in August
Garlic grown in a pot. Photo Credit: Quickcrop

Common fruit and vegetables and their Turkish names

Below is a list of common fruit and vegetables and their Turkish names:

Asparagus – Kuşkonmaz (Kush-kohn-mahz)
Broccoli – Brokoli (Broh-koh-lee)
Cabbage – Lahana (Lah-hah-nah)
Carrot – Havuç (Ha-vuhch)
Cauliflower – Karnabahar (Kahr-nah-bah-hahr)
Corn – Mısır (mis-sihr)
Radish – Turp (Tuurp)
Garlic – Sarımsak (Sah-rihm-sahk)
Green Bean – Taze Fasulye (Tah-zeh Fah-suul-yeh)
Leek – Pırasa (Pih-rah-sah)
Mushroom – Mantar (Mahn-tahr)
Onion – Soğan (Soh-ahn)
Peas – Bezelye (Beh-zehl-yeh)
Pepper – Biber (Bee-behr)
Cucumber – Salatalık (Sah-lah-tah-lihk)
Tomato – Domates (Doh-mah-tehs)
Potato – Patates (Pah-tah-tehs)
Apple – Elma (Ehl-mah)
Orange – Portakal (Pohr-tah-kahl)
Grapefruit – Greyfurt (Ghrey-fuurt)
Mandarin – Mandalin (Mahn-dah-leen)
Strawberry – Çilek (Chee-lehk)
Banana – Muz (Muuz)
Pineapple – Ananas (Ah-nah-nahs)
Cherry – Kiraz (Kee-rahz)
Watermelon – Karpuz (Kahr-puhz)
Melon – Kavun (Kah-vuun)

Do you have a question about gardening?

Please share your experiences with us and ask any questions you have on gardening. Gardening in a hot climate can present you with many challenges and these articles are here to help you.

If there is something you would particularly like advice on or to know about, we also want to hear from you.

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An English Gardener in Çalış

Happy Growing