Welcome to Lee’s gardening advice for April 2021 written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).
As I write this, we have just been advised of Saturday restrictions again so you will need to find something else to keep yourself busy on a Saturday.
Why not get out into your garden if you have one, or if not see if you can find space for a couple of pots on a balcony. Providing there is at least six hours of sun on the balcony, you can grow almost anything in a pot or even in the black plastic trays you often seen discarded by the bins. A friend of mine used these last year to grow tomatoes on her balcony. She simply lined the plastic tray with a plastic sheet (could use carrier bags) and filled it with compost, which you can get in most supermarkets in 5ltr bags – or bigger in the horticulture shops.
No need to worry about drainage as you can control the watering for plants undercover on a balcony. Once established they will need watering every two days. Most of these trays have slots on the corners which can easily be used for canes to either support what you are growing or even wrap clear plastic around to form a windbreaker for your plants.
Another friend of mine grew mini cucumbers on their balcony last year so why not give it a go. You can buy pots that have been designed to hang over balcony’s to give a window box style look.
It’s worth keeping an eye out for gardening equipment on offer currently as the supermarkets such as A101, Şok and Bim have seeds, pots and hand gardening tools. These offers soon sell out so you need to be quick.
Thanks to the long daylight hours and warmth, small plug plants, that can be purchased at the markets from 2TL each, will grow to give you a handsome display or harvest in no time. There are even plants that prefer cooler shady areas such as geraniums, hostas, nasturtiums and primroses.
Hydrangeas prefer partial shade such as under a high canopied tree or shaded by a building during part of the day.
Even edible plants can be grown in the shade but mostly leafy greens such as lettuce, cress, kale, spinach, rocket and pea shoots.
Plants that like semi-shade include daylilies, garlic, chives, alpine strawberries, potatoes, parsley, celery and mint. Basil prefers the shade in hot climates.
As mentioned earlier, April is when it starts to warm up so is a good time to think about where you are going to put any large plants such as varieties of squash (pumpkin, courgette, marrow etc) as most varieties need plenty of growing space and will benefit from improved soil to produce bigger harvests.
That said, smaller mini cucumbers and cucamelons (mouse melons) can easily be grown in pots or smaller areas. I should have some spare cucamelon seedlings so please let me know if you want to try and grow some this year.
Growing cucamelons can be fun and easy. Click on the link below learn how.
This year I intend to grow marrow, courgette, honey boat squash, spaghetti squash, giant pumpkin and a couple of different types of cucumber – as well as loofah plants that I will be planting in a location in Fethiye …
Tomatoes are another plant that can be easily grown in pots as I do and I suggest growing either the mini varieties or a type you can’t easily purchase as there is an abundance of tomatoes on the markets during high season.
I recently bought a pink (pembe) variety from the market which is just producing flower buds now so hopefully, by the middle of April, I should have some tomatoes – providing the sun still shines.
If you want a quick-growing crop, radish, lettuce, chard or rocket all germinate fast and some will provide you with a harvest in less than two weeks. Beetroot, cabbage, onion, garlic and basil are also easy to grow but just need a little more time and patience.
That’s it for this month. Please feel free to post any photos of your gardens or balconies on English Gardener in Çalış and share your successes (and failures) and details of where you buy your plants as it’s great information for others.
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.