About two weeks ago, I posted that it was time to plant your seedlings indoors. Remember this one?
I have to admit that according to the chart on that blog post, I was already a little late for some. And then I sat on it for another two weeks! I am now happy to report that I made a good start this morning.
Although I have done this year after year, this year I decided to do a little research. I decided to do it all from scratch. I used the bottom half of an egg carton for the herbs. I used a plastic container under it as a water tray. The plastic container was purchased at the market – full of frozen kofte, I believe. So we are recycling here! I love being green!
I added soil and watered it. Then I added the seeds, and then a little more soil – just enough to cover the seeds. I sprayed the top with a mist of water, which I will continue to do each day. You don’t want to use a watering can – it will flood the seeds.
I planted thyme (one of the many varieties known in Turkey as “kekik.” In Turkey, oregano is also called “kekik.” I also planted lavender, sage, basil, rosemary, and cilantro. I took a chance with the cilantro. It should actually be started in the pot where you plan to keep it, not repotted. But I did it last year and I was pretty successful with it. I love to plant basil! It’s not easy to find in Turkey and is usually expensive. It is becoming more popular in southern Mediterranean areas like Antalya. But there’s nothing better than having it on hand whenever you want it!
Next, I started on the vegetables. For this I used the top of the egg carton and planted my seeds in rows. I’m looking forward to see how this little plan works! All of the packages said to plant the seeds in individual containers. Hmmmm. In Turkey, when you buy a seedling, they are usually sold in individual tiny containers, made of something like a very thick plastic trash bag.
My mother-in-law has been sending food in (as they often do) in plastic containers. She has a big stash of them. So I cut the lid from container and used it as a water tray under the egg carton. Then I used the bigger body of it as cover – like a greenhouse effect. It also works to keep my cat from walking on it. However, just seconds ago, I realized I will need to move the herbs – because my cat has already started his attack!
I planted 3 varieties of tomatoes: Roma, Brandywine, and Super Sweet 100’s (cherries). Everyone loves a good Roma! The Sweet 100’s are absolutely the best cherry tomato to grow. We have cherry tomatoes in Turkey, but they are NEVER as sweet as these. They often sell the small pear tomatoes as cherries too – also not very sweet.
The Brandywine is from my hometown! It’s named for the Brandywine River that runs through Chester County – and that is why I planted it. It is a beefsteak. These are not my favorite to grow because they often ripen and start to go bad on one side before the other side is ripe. These tomatoes can grow up to 1 lb. each!
I also planted two varieties of peppers – California Bell Peppers and Jalapenos. Recently, I have seen gorgeous Bell Peppers being sold at a local pazar – red, yellow and green! American style! And cheaper than Turkish peppers! [Turkish bell peppers have a much thinner skin and are not as flavorful. They are also only sold as green. They are the perfect size for making stuffed peppers (“dolma”).] Fun to have in my own garden. I have never seen fresh jalapeno peppers here. I’m dreaming of making “armadillo eggs” with them.
I still have more to do: poblano peppers, cucumbers, butternut squash, flowers. My sister says she is going to get me seeds for a Passion Flower. She better! This is the plant I nourished in my Philadelphia backyard. Boy, do I miss it!
For those of you who know my tiny balcony, you must think I am nuts! I am. I have started way too many seeds, for plants – many of which I can buy here easily. This year, I am hoping to expand. I am going to take a piece of land from the common area and start planting. Why not? That’s the Turkish way – do what you want. Don’t ask questions.