Welcome to Lee’s gardening advice for July written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).
July is one of the hottest times of the year here in Fethiye. Apart from fighting the effect of the constant heat on your plants, there seems to be no end to the number of insects around. These insects which can be both pests and of benefit to your plants. Here are just a few examples:
Ants come in all shapes, sizes, and colours and are not everyone’s favourite insect. They are seen as a pest to most when they appear marching in our homes! Outside, when they find something to eat, there seems to be hundreds of them and, for the most part, they’re a nuisance, especially when protecting aphids – who normally do major damage to your plants – from predators and parasites. Ants farm aphids. They care for them, offer protection, and literally “farm” them for food– much like humans farm their livestock.
It’s not all bad news as ants also tidy up bits of plant debris in your gardens for their nests, remove dead insects and do a fair bit of pollinating as they go from flower to flower.
Everyone knows aphids are a pest when it comes to new growth on roses and the leaves of most fruit plants/trees. Fortunately they can be easily removed by spraying a mild solution of soapy water or if there aren’t too many, just squish them were they are. Wooly aphids protect themselves with a white coating and are a bit more of a nuisance. If possible prune out any affected parts of your plant. Spraying insecticidal soap or neem oil also works.
All caterpillars feed on your plants. The main predators of the caterpillar include birds and wasps. It helps if you spot the butterfly eggs before they hatch and cause damage to your plants. If the plant the caterpillars are feeding on is not important, feel free to let them munch away and eventually form a chrysalis from which a butterfly or moth emerges.
One type of caterpillar to watch out for is the processionary caterpillar which make their nests in pine trees (they have been seen Kocaçalış and the forests in the area) and have been known to kill trees.
When they are on the move, they walk along in procession (hence their name) led by a female and would be easy prey for predators at this point if they weren’t poisonous.
That’s where the problems start for dogs (or anyone that touches them). The caterpillars are covered in poisonous hairs with a toxin that is devastating for dogs who put their noses near them and can cause an allergic reaction in humans.
Wasps, Bees and Beetles
There are many flying insects here in Turkey and, apart from our favourite the ‘Mosquito’, most are beneficial, especially for pollinating the wonderful plants and flowers that grow here. Without these guys we would struggle for the fresh food that relies on pollination. Apart from pollinating, wasps also enjoy feeding on caterpillars, aphids and other common garden pests.
They also like a drink and I normally end up rescuing some (by hand and to date only stung once) from the pool, Why not try and leave a shallow cup or saucer of water somewhere in your garden or on a balcony? Place a stone in the water so that any that fall in can easily climb out.
Carpenter bees, although good for pollinating, can be a pest if they chose a wooden beam in your house. They nest by burrowing into the wood leaving a small pile of sawdust. The easiest way I have found to get rid of them is to use mastic or a quick drying filler to fill the hole they have made when they fly off. All being well, they will give up and fly off to find another place to make their nest.
Beetles come in all shapes and sizes. Most only do minor damage to leaves and petals but some can cause a lot more damage.
The Palm Weevil is one such evil. The female can lay about 200 – 300 eggs in the crown of the palm which hatch into white larvae and, in turn, happily munch away on soft fibres and terminal buds (the primary growing point at the top of the stem of a plant) killing the tree.
Your best bet to prevent the weevils from spreading to other trees is to remove the infested plant, roots and all, and burn it. If the tree can be saved, spray the palm with insecticide. You can inject systematic insecticides directly into palm trunks as well.
Most of you will of heard the cicadas shrill in the trees in Fethiye, probably mistaking it for a bird chorus. They normally make this noise in the heat of the day.
Experts offer mixed opinions on the subject, but it is generally accepted that cicada bugs in the garden are mostly harmless. However, they may cause damage – usually minor – to young or newly transplanted trees, or to trees that are already stressed and less than healthy.
If you’re overwhelmed by the hordes of cicadas, or if you think they are damaging a prized tree or shrub, you can take steps to minimize the damage. One easy way is to protect the tree with mosquito netting or old curtains as soon as the invasion gets serious.
June Beetles or June bugs as they’re also known, look like scarab beetles and can come in metallic colours. June Beetles feed on roots of plants and can cause damage to a wide variety of plants.
You can apply an insecticide to the soil to get rid of them or, if you’re looking for an organic method for how to kill June bugs, you can build a June bug trap.
Read more here: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-get-rid-of-june-bugs-4688779
Sow and grow
There are still plants to sow and grow in July. Spring flowering perennials like aquilegia, delphiniums and lupins.
Prepare for winter flowers by sowing winter flowering pansies.
For flowers that bridge the spring-summer gap, sow biennials like foxgloves, sweet Williams or wallflowers.
Fast growing herbs such as basil, coriander, dill and parsley can be sown in containers or, if you prefer, in the ground. Salad leaves love the sun providing they are kept watered and will keep growing as quickly as you pick the fresh leaves.
Tomatoes can be grown from cuttings just as easy as from seed and it’s a quicker way to grow the plants. Place a cutting that is at least four inches long in water or moist soil and after 10 days there will be roots. You can transplant if necessary.
Cucumbers and gherkins can be sown now for late summer harvesting, or if you fancy something different sow kohl rabi for a crop in approximately eight weeks.
If you have already removed any spent flowering plants or vegetables look to replace them with flowering plants that are available at the local markets from 5TL to 20TL depending on size or even Migros have the occasional plant bargain – recently Dahlias were on sale at 7.90TL.
I’ll leave you with this pun until next time.
Why do gardener’s plant bulbs? So the worms can see where they’re going.
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