Welcome to Lee’s gardening advice for January 2021 written by local resident and keen gardener, Lee Stevenson (aka An English Gardener in Çalış).
New Year, New Hopes
Another year is upon us and despite the days being colder and sometimes wetter, there is plenty to keep us busy outside. Now is a good time to trim and cut back any trees or shrubs before they start to grow again in the warmer weather. You can even move most large plants to a different location providing you can get enough of the root system up with them. I have recently moved a small avocado tree that I grew from an avocado stone to somewhere it won’t be a problem once it gets to decent size.
Whilst there is not a lot you can grow in yoır flower beds at this time of year, you can still improve the soil or grow winter vegetables like Swiss chard, kale, onions, leeks (small plants are always available at the local markets). Radishes, spinach, lettuce and peas can all be grown from seed now. Try not to sow more than you will need of each.
Garlic, which is relatively expensive here, can be grown in pots or gardens and takes up very little room. Use separate cloves sowed 4 inches apart – remove the paper husk on the clove. There is no need to water them in (unless indoors in pots) until shoots poke up for the first time – unless mother nature is doing her thing and it’s raining.
When growing onions its best to grow them from sets (small bulbs) which I have seen at the markets on the plant stall. Onions like regular watering which shouldn’t be a problem at this time of the year. You could try growing them from seed as I’m doing but this takes longer. The only reason I’m attempting this is to try and grow a LARGE onion.
Radishes, or turps as they are called here, are bigger and available in black and white varieties. I’d suggest looking for seeds at the market plant stalls, as packets in the garden shops normally contain 500+ seeds.
Lettuce will still grow here in the cooler months. Try to keep it in an open area to avoid feeding the local slug/snail population. Most leafy lettuce can be used as pick and come again so there’s no need to pull the plant up – just pick the leaves off as required.
Peas/broad beans can be sown direct into the soil. If you’re growing peas, give them something to grow up, old twiggy branches are great as, apart from giving them something to grow up, they will deter cats from soiling the area and pigeons from eating the plants.
If you’re looking for winter colour, and the poinsettia you bought is looking a little sad, it’s not to late to sow bulbs. Daffodils, tulips and crocus bulbs are freely available in Fethiye.
There are winter pansies and primroses or violas, which will most likely self seed and come back year after year.
Cyclamen is another plant available here, mostly in pots in the supermarkets, but they will happily grow beneath deciduous trees (ones that shed their leaves) so they can enjoy winter sun and summer shade.
Camellias come in a range of colours and normally bloom in early spring. If you’re planting a Camellia from a pot, dig a square hole as opposed to a round one (I’ve mentioned this before) as if they’re planted in a round hole there’s a chance the roots will just grow around the hole. If they’re planted in a square hole, they are more likely to push through the flat wall of the hole in the search for nutrients.
If it’s just coverage you’re after, look for sage or lavender as they also provide a pleasant smell.
When to plant
If, like me, you’re a keen vegetable grower, here’s a calendar of what to plant and when to help you plan your year.
I’ll leave you with this funny…
Sherlock Holmes was doing some gardening, Watson asked what he was planting. He replied “A lemon tree, my dear Watson”.
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.