Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Mouse64

Gardening In The Sun

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Hi all Posted Image

one of the things I look forward to in my new life is the possibility to do some gardening in the sun. I plan to grow some vegetables for my own use (yes I know they are ridiculously cheap in the market but I love to eat my own) and I would like to try out to grow some flowers from seed/bulb etc.

At the moment my soil is awful but I plan to compost and to get the quality up that way, anyone here with some experience and tips?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

red clay and lots and lots of rocks

I used to do landscaping when I lived in California, and red clay is not easy to work with. It's very hard when it's dry and very sticky when it's wet. You'll want to do this job when it's dry or it will be much more difficult to break up the clay. Get your gloves on, you're going to have a lot of work ahead of you!

You'll need a few things before you start: ideally you can use a power tiller, but i don't think you can rent them here and they're not cheap and you're only going to use it once, so a good spade shovel, a hand mattock with forked back end and a heavy pick mattock should be enough as far as tools go. You might also want a good pair of soft leather gloves (I like goatskin, it's more expensive than cowhide, but softer leather, more flexibility and still very good protection) and knee pads with a plastic cup. These can all be found at Koçtaş or Bauhaus. You'll also want to go to a garden store and get gypsum and fertilizer (manure is best -- you'll have to put up with the stench for several days, but it's worth it). A large bag of each (50lbs/20-25 kilos) should cover roughly 4-5 square meters. Start a compost/mulch pile as soon as possible; keep it near the garden, but not directly in it (a meter or two away is enough).

Start out with either the shovel or pick mattock to break up the soil. If you use the shovel, work backwards; to start out, push it into the ground as deep as you can and pull back on the handle (be careful not to break the handle!). If it resists, pull it out, move it back a few inches and do it again. Ideally you want to go as deep as the blade of the shovel -- you might have to dig in two or three times, depending on how hard the soil is. Once it's started it will get easier to dig. You should be able to pull up a good-sized chunk of soil. DO NOT REMOVE IT, you only want to break it up. Keep moving the shovel backward a few inches at a time and breaking up the soil into large chunks. Once you finish a line, go back to the front and start a new line adjacent to the last one.

If you use a pick mattock, start at the rear and work forward. give it a good swing and bury the blade as far as you can (if you're right handed, keep your left foot forward and vice versa if left handed, using your knees to lower your body to protect your back). Push up on the handle and that should break off a good chunk of the soil. Continue moving forward, several inches at a time until you reach the end of the planting area. Go row by row as with the shovel.

Once the whole area is broken up, now you can start the rock removal. Strap on your knee pads and grab the hand mattock. Break up the large chunks of soil and remove the rocks by hand (it doesn't have to be perfect; just the larger rocks need to go -- you can leave anything smaller than 3cm or so in diameter -- basically if it slips through the forks on the back of the hand mattock it's too small to worry about). Toss the rocks in a pile off to the side, you can sort and discard them later (larger rocks can be used to make a decorative border later on).

Once you've removed the rocks, you can start conditioning the soil. Start with the gypsum. Take handfuls at a time and cover the topsoil, about half a cm thick should be plenty for clay soil... it doesn't need to be perfect. Once the ground is covered, do the same with the fertilizer, putting down a layer about 1-2cm thick. Then grab your shovel and start "stirring" the conditioners into the soil, breaking up the remaining chunks in the process. The easiest way to do it is to stab straight down with the shovel and give it a quarter twist, moving about half the width of the blade at a time. Once it's mixed in, water the area lightly and let it dry (don't soak it, just wet it). When it's dry, repeat the process, adding about half the amount of gypsum and fertilizer as you did the first time. Now it's ready to plant.

If you're working 3-4 hours a day, you should be able to prep a good sized yard within 3-5 days from start to finish. This is hard work: don't overwork yourself! Drink lots of water and try to do the work in the morning or late afternoon when it's not too hot outside, and take lots of 5-10 minute breaks whenever you feel the need. Do your best to use your shoulders and legs to to the heavy work to protect your back. Work smart, not hard! Your body will ache for the first two or three days, but when you're finished you're going to feel fantastic!

Next, see if you can find earthworms for sale (you might find some in the soil as you work it, but if it's hard clay there probably won't be many), they will continue to condition the soil for you after you get it ready for planting. Put about 10-15 worms per square meter, and LIGHTLY cover them with soil (don't pack them in, you'll crush them!). After you plant you might also want to find ladybugs and/or praying mantis eggs at a garden center, either one will eliminate most insect infestations.

You also need to be vigilant about weeds: grab them with your thumb and index finger at ground level and pull straight up. This should remove the root system and keep them from coming back. Get them while they're young and they'll be easier to remove. Discard the roots, but cut up the greens and add them to your compost mix. When you harvest your vegetables, you can also take whatever you don't eat and chop it up and add it to your compost pile.

Keep your compost mix moist, but not soaking wet. If you're using an open pile or box, keep it covered with an opaque tarp (you can get thick black plastic sheeting at a garden center, this works pretty well and keeps grass and weeds from growing on your pile). You can hold down the edges of the tarp with stakes, or use some of the larger rocks you removed from the soil. Stir it frequently, about once a week. It should be warm to the touch and give off an ammonia smell as the materials decompose. If you or someone you know is a filtered coffee drinker, throw the used grounds into the mix, it will help keep the alkali levels in the soil down.

If you're planting seeds, you can use your finger or a hand trowel to plant. Push the trowel or your finger about 1-2 inches down, depending on the seed. Sprinkle in a pinch or two of fertilizer or compost, drop in the seeds, and LIGHTLY cover with soil. Don't pack it down too much!!! If you're planting bulbs, dig a hole about twice the diameter of the bulb, cover the bottom of the hole with fertilizer or compost, drop in the bulb and LIGHTLY cover it with soil. For transplants, dig a hole twice the size of the pot, cover the bottom with fertilizer/compost, remove the root ball from the pot, being careful not to bare the roots (keep all the pot soil together if you can) and plant it so that the top surface of the pot soil is level with the ground, then lightly fill in the hole around the pot soil. Water everything in as soon as you plant. If the soil sinks, add a little more to level the surface. You can also create a "well" around shrubs and trees if you're going to have any by creating a mounded ring of soil surrounding the plant. The ring should be about 3-4 inches above ground level and about the diameter of the foliage at full spread. this will help prevent water runoff and keep the shrub/tree healthy when you first plant it. Keep the mound built up for about the first 6 months, until the root system is established. After that it should be fine without the well.

Good luck, and have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got your work cut out if you've go lots of rocks as you're going to have to remove as many as you can before you start putting on fertilisers. You could utilise some of them to make a rockery.A thing that you need to consider is that are you going to be away from your garden for weeks as this must be taken into consideration as to what plants you use and do you have time to do a lot of watering in the hot summer months?If the answer to those is that you sometimes can't spend time on your garden then I would advise putting in plants that are indigenous to Turkey such as oleander which seems to survive right through the summer without water.Other plants which survive in my garden (although they do get a lot of water)and give a lot of continuous colour are bougainvillea, geraniums (pelargoniums for the purists), solanum and agapanthus For bedding plants the one that seems to survive the best is petunia.Just seen IWB's very comprehensive post. WOW. If you don't fancy all that manual labour yourself I'm sure you'll be able to find a local hunk that will be willing to work for you for a couple of days.If you do use animal fertiliser I wouldn't use seeds as you'll find that a lot of weeds spring up the seeds having passed through the animals.You can get lots of vegetable seedlings in bunches from your local market.As IWB says, good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also a couple of tips for watering: do it in the late afternoon/early evening hours after the sun has lowered. This will allow the water to soak into the soil overnight and prevent loss due to evaporation. If for some reason you need to water in the morning or afternoon, try to avoid getting water on the foliage, as the water droplets act as tiny magnifying glasses and the sun will burn the leaves as a result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's very difficult to get well rotted manure here so get goat manure. Cows graze on ground growing plants like grass and weeds and swallow the seeds which usually pass straight through then they grow from the manure. Goats usually browse on leaves growing on bushes from about two or three feet off the ground and higher and therefore eat a lot less seeds so their manure is not so full of them.If it is practical get a tractor or lorry load of goat manure delivered (get them to tip it where it won't be in the way) then cover it with polythene, put a lot of rocks on to hold the polythene down during the winter and let it cook for a year, most seeds will be killed by doing this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, what great gardening info ! I'm glad our soil isn't clay, though we do get a few rocks. Over winter I usually keep all organic kitchen scraps (just vegie peelings, nothing cooked) and bury them in the garden. Seems to encourage worm activity. Of course as a result we get all sorts of things growing wild from the seeds (like melons etc), and it does also help to enrich & break up the soil. Last year we bought very fresh goat manure, and for weeks on end it felt hot to the touch in the bags (and stank to high heaven!).Sounds like a lot of work ahead for you Mouse ! Take good care & good luck ! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow I`m impressed with the amount of info you have given me, all of you :)

to be honest I was going to take an a bit lazier way then IWB suggests. Part of my garden is on a slope so I was going to use the big stones to terrace that part (if possible have somebody muscly pull them out of the ground for me :) ) then I was going to get a lorry load of soil delivered and spread it over the top of it :D

The main reason for this being that there is a lot of building rubble in the soil and I think even with the most back breaking work I wont get a good quality garden going.

using that as a good start I`m going to use compost to get the quality up all over the garden. I`m planning to compost in two big plastic composter (two so that i can always have one on the go and one resting). Using vegetable and garden waste.and paper, card board and toilet paper to get a good lot of compost going. If I can get it I was going to add some horse manure.

I`m going to use rain water barrels for watering and for the summer month fill these up with a pump from our local stream.

At the moment I have a grass and flower garden (oleander, Bougainvillea and day flower) around my pool but in view of the water usage of the grass I`m considering replacing the grass with gravel (don`t know where to get that yet) and a weed suppressing membrane.

We are in Marmaris and up to now I haven`t found a Koçtaş or Bauhaus or even a decent garden center :(

I would love to get information where the nearest is

Thanks again and keep the tips and info coming Posted Image

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go and see a builder and ask about getting a tractor load of gravel, he'll know where to get it from and it shouldn't cost more than 80 or 100 lira, delivery will be on top of that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go and see a builder and ask about getting a tractor load of gravel, he'll know where to get it from and it shouldn't cost more than 80 or 100 lira, delivery will be on top of that.

will that be decorative gravel as we have over here? or more the stuff you use to fill up your drive?I had a look on alibaba.com and I know that there are firms who do nice gravel and decorative stones, its just how much they will charge, if they do private houses and how to get in contact as its all in turkish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the stuff I used to do my drive, they also use it on the roads around here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's the stuff I used to do my drive, they also use it on the roads around here.

ahhhh, I was more looking for something pretty :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...