November is a time to plant bulbs, trees and shrubs – the latter as it is a good time for the roots to grow with the rain we expect. Many of the supermarkets and markets – if not already doing so – will soon be selling bulbs including daffodils, tulips, snowdrops, crocus and hyacinth.
If you’re lucky enough to have a lawn, try sowing the crocuses below the surface and you will be rewarded with yellow, purple or white flowers brightening up the grass. Alternatively, simply plant in a wide pot for a great display of colour. Once finished, they can be planted in the garden or stowed away to plant again next year (remove any soil and old growth).
Remember that most fruit trees need to be at least three years old before fruiting for the first time so don’t worry if you don’t see any fruit in the first two years after purchase/planting. They will still benefit from being fertilized at the base of the trunk.
You may have noticed that trees here in Fethiye sometimes have there trunk/bark painted white. There are several reasons for this, the main one is to protect the young bark of fruit trees from cracking in the sun as this can introduce insects, diseases and fungus. I used watered down white paint on mine but it’s recommended using watered down latex white paint (I believe any watered down white or light coloured paint will suffice).
Spice up your life
Herbs and spices can still be grown in pots or a sheltered part of your garden. Basil is a tender annual that originated from India. Its strong aromatic foliage and warm, spicy flavour is an essential ingredient in Italian cooking. Going well with tomato based dishes, sweet or common basil (and the compact bush that you mostly find here in Fethiye) are the most commonly grown but there are numerous varieties and cultivars to choose from. These include ‘dark opal’ with attractive purple foliage, cinnamon with a distinctive flavour and aroma, and genovese which is grown for specific use in pesto.
Basil is best sown indoors in 7.5cm pots with 3 or 4 seeds in each. Cover seeds with a thin layer of soil, water gently and keep warm – or cover with clear plastic (old plastic bottles are great for this or plastic bags). Once seedlings are large enough to handle, plant individually into small pots and grow on.
Coriander on the other hand is best sown outside or in deepish pots as I find shallow pots cause the plant to go to seed quickly. When it’s the tasty leaves you are after, a slightly shaded area suits this plant the best. Lettuce or rocket can be planted alongside either of these for a “pick and come again” leaf salad.
Brassicas (cabbage,cauliflowers etc) can be planted now and are available at the markets and garden shops as small grown plants.
Other plants that can be sown now include lettuce, radish, broad beans, cabbage, garlic and some spring flowering seeds like sweet peas, antirrhinum (I refer to these as bunny rabbits or snap dragons), lupins & some varieties of poppy.
If you have any unripe tomatoes left over and don’t have a sunny window sill to ripen them on, wrapping them up in old newspaper and placing in a drawer will cause them to ripen. Make sure there are no damaged ones as these will rot and affect the other fruit. Pumpkins that are still green (still safe to eat but may not taste/cook down as well) place in the sun to help ripen.
Harvesting isn’t just about edibles. You can easily harvest seeds from plants you have grown or fruit and vegetables bought at the markets or shops. I managed to buy (less than 2TL for 100) some clear click close bags in Fethiye that are ideal for seeds, or you can just use or make paper envelopes. Wet seeds (tomatoes, pumpkins etc) are best left on tissue paper to dry in the sun before storing.
Remove any fallen leaves and debris to avoid slugs and snails having somewhere to hide. If possible use them as mulch to cover empty beds or create a space in your garden for a compost heap. You can also place any left over fruit/veg and cuttings to rot down for free manure.
If you have any tender or young plants, cover them up with cloches to protect them from heavy rains and, if the forecast is going to be cold, I use plastic bottles with the bottom cut off or the 19 litre water bottles you sometimes find thrown away.
Happy growing all.
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.
Please visit and join Lee’s Facebook group for more information about gardening and to ask any questions: