Welcome to Lee’s gardening advice for November written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).
Now that the weather is cooler, its a good time to do some of those jobs you may have been putting off because of the heat, like cutting back overgrown trees and shrubs.
Most will recover in the spring sprout new growth, but if you’re not sure how to prune a particular tree, please check out the guide below..
I recently cut back a bougainvillea that had started to climb the lamppost at the front of our house. The newly exposed branches have given the birds somewhere for safety and also revealed bugs that they can eat.
Before weeds appear and take over your lawn, give it a final cut for the winter (make sure the grass is dry). Plant some crocus bulbs in the grass for a splash of colour early in 2021.
Still flowering and fruiting
Just because there are fewer hours of sunshine and the temperature has dropped a few degrees, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow flowers and fruit.
Most sheltered balconies can be used to grow pots of flowers or small fruit tree’s – like cumquat – and salad vegetables. Most salad vegetables can be grown from seed to harvest in less than two months – I am currently trying to grow tomatoes in pots for a crop in late November/December. I’m trying four different varieties, (black krim, blue bayou, gardeners delight, and tigerella) to see if any variety grows better than others in the cooler temperatures.
Salad leaves, especially rocket (roka here), will germinate from seed in three days if conditions are right. If you’re a fan of parsley, why not try growing your own so you can pick as required rather than trying to keep it fresh in the refrigerator. All of these can be grown in pots, either on a balcony or a kitchen windowsill that receives outside light.
Chrysanthemums are currently flowering and can be bought at the local markets or in Migros. You can choose from small bush varieties that will look great either indoors or out. If you grow them indoors, they can be planted outside afterwards to flower again next winter. Dead heading (removing spent flowers) will encourage the plant to flower for a longer period.
There is also still plenty of time to plant bulbs, either in the ground or in pots.
Prepare for the worst
We all know how heavy the rain can get here in Fethiye during the cooler months and it’s not just the garden furniture that needs protecting from the weather. Any loose branches should be removed and pots that may become water logged lifted off flat surfaces (small stones or bricks is an easy way to do this) to prevent roots from rotting.
Cover any new plants that are not yet established with clear plastic sheets that can be tied down or use plastic drinks bottles to cover small plants. Lightly press them into the soil to secure.
If you didn’t grow your own (Why Not?) there are still plenty of squashes and pumpkins around the local markets – they are not just for Halloween…
Pumpkin soup is easy to make and there are many recipes available on the internet.
Here is an easy recipe.
1.2kg/2.4lbs pumpkin (or butternut squash)
2 garlic cloves
3 cups (750ml) stock
1 cup (250ml) water
Salt & Peppper
Peel and and chop the pumpkin into large chunks. You can buy pre-cut at the local markets.
Onion and garlic – the secret ingredients for extra flavour.
Vegetable stock for broth.
You can also add a carrot or sweet potato for added sweetness.
Place the peeled pumpkin, onion and garlic, broth/stock and water into a pot.
Boil rapidly for 15 minutes until pumpkin is tender.
Use a stick blender or transfer to a blender to blitz smooth.
Add salt and pepper to taste and add either milk or cream if you like a creamier soup. There’s no need to thicken the soup as the thickness comes from the pumpkin.
Try not to use any of the fancy coloured/decorative pumpkins as whilst edible are not that tasty.
Did you know?
The seeds of pumpkins have many benefits, including acting as an antioxidant (full of vitamin K & vitamin A), promoting healthy blood pressure (they contain magnesium, copper, zinc), aid restful sleep (magnesium from seeds). They can also help as a deworming agent for dogs as they contain an amino acid called cucurbitacin that paralyzes the worms making them easily eliminated from the intestine. Either feed them whole as a treat or you can grind them into a fine powder to add to your dogs food – but only give a few seeds at a time as the fat content can lead to soft stools.
That’s it for this month – please feel free to send in pictures or any gardening questions you have to my Facebook group, an English Gardener in Çalış
I’ll leave you with this thought…
Why was Cinderella so bad at football?
Because she had a pumpkin for a coach.
What do you want to know about gardening?
If you have any questions or suggestions about gardening and there is something in particular you wold like me to cover in future articles, please let me know via an English Gardener in Çalış or Fethiye Times.