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Home | Turkish Gardens | Vegetables 1 | Vegetables 2 | Vegetables 3 |

Vegetables in a Turkish Garden

Asparagus

The ideal soil for growing Asparagus ( Turkish: Kuşkonmaz )is a deep, sandy loam. Soils which are too sandy do not have the capacity to hold enough water and plant nutrients, requiring the addition of manure or compost. Heavy clays are also not suitable for asparagus growth, as they have the tendency to become compacted, and they stay cold and wet later in the spring.

Because an asparagus planting will remain in the same location for 10 to 15 years, it is important to verify the fertility of the soil before the crowns are set. During the late summer of the year before the crowns are to be set, make a heavy application of manure, if available, and 5 pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer for each 100 square feet. Spade or plow the manure and fertilizer into the soil to a depth of 10 inches.

It is best to obtain strong, well grown, one-year-old plants. The roots of the two-year-old plants are often seriously mutilated when dug. Plant in early to mid-spring when plants are still dormant. To set the plants, open a furrow 8 inches deep and 10 inches wide. If the layer of fertile soil is not 8 inches deep, then a more shallow trench must be dug. Loosen the soil in the bottom of the trench and leave it a little higher in the center. Place the crowns in the trench about 12-18 inches apart, taking care to spread roots uniformly. If more than one row is planted, have rows 4-6 feet apart. Cover the crowns with 1 or 2 inches of soil and firm well around the roots. When growth begins, fill soil gradually around the shoots and by mid-summer the trench will be completely filled.

During the first year after the asparagus has been set, keep the area free of weeds. Let the stalks grow and stand over winter, as they will provide a mulch.

During the Second Season in the first part of March, old dead stalks should be cut down. Apply a good coat of well-rotted manure or compost as well as a 10-10-10 fertilizer (3 pounds for each 100 square feet of area) over and between the rows. The manure and fertilizer should be worked into the soil to a depth of 3 inches. Apply 2 pounds of nitrogen fertilizer for each 100 square feet of row at the end of June. Keep the planting free of weeds. Do not harvest any asparagus the second year.

During the Third Year which will be the first harvest year, give the same care as in second season. Increase the nitrogen application to 3 pounds per 100 feet of row. Harvest the asparagus spears when they reach 8 inches in length. Growth will soon become extremely rapid and harvesting will need to be done each day. Cut all spears for a period of about 4 weeks, then allow the spears to grow. If the soil is compacted at the end of the harvest period, rework as in the spring.

To harvest use a sharp knife and cut about 1 inch below the surface of the soil. Be careful to avoid knife injury to emerging stalks. Do not walk or step on the row during the harvesting process.

Aubergine

The Aubergine ( Turkish: Patlican ) is probably a native of India, and has been cultivated for a long time. It is a member of the nightshade family, making it a close relative of the tomato, pepper and potato.

The aubergine is a very tender plant, requiring a long, warm season for successful production. The plants are killed by light frost and are injured by long periods of chilly, frostless weather. Plants should not be set out until all danger of frost has passed.

The use of plastic mulch can increase the yield of eggplant by helping to warm the soil, by conserving moisture and by controlling weeds. Plants may be planted in staggered double rows on each strip of plastic. Place the plastic on 5 foot centers and allow 18 inches between plants in each of the staggered rows. Because of the need for a long, warm growing season, it is best to use transplants. These may be purchased or started in peat pots.

Insect and mite pests of aubergine include flea beetles, Colorado potato beetle, aphids and spider mites. Potato flea beetles eat small holes in leaves and can be particularly serious on small plants. Colorado potato beetle adults and larvae feed on eggplant leaves and can completely defoliate small plants if not controlled. Four-year rotations with non-related crops and the use of plants grown from disease-free seeds will help control some aubergine diseases. A particularly damaging disease in eggplant is Verticillium wilt, which can cause stunting in plants and interveinal yellowing, wilting and dying of leaves. Avoid tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, okra, raspberries or strawberries in rotation with aubergine.

The fruits of the aubergine are edible from the time they are one-third grown until ripe. They remain edible for several weeks after they become colored and fully-grown. Skin should be shiny; seeds inside should not be brown or hard. Harvest will continue over an extended period if the fruit are removed when they are well-colored and of adequate size.

Cut the fruits from the plants, leaving large calyx (cap) and a short piece of stem on the fruit. Plants of most cultivars have sharp spines, so care is necessary when harvesting to prevent injury.

Beets

Beets ( Turkish: Pancar ) are relatively easy to grow in the home garden, and practically the whole plant can be eaten. Beets can be grown for their roots--which can come in different shapes and sizes as well as red, yellow or white colors. The tops or greens, when young, are excellent in salads and can be cooked when the plant is more mature. The greens are even more nutritious than the roots.

Beets prefer a cooler climate, although they are tolerant of heat. Temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees F and bright sunny days are ideal for beet plant growth and development. Beets can withstand cold weather short of severe freezing, making them a good long-season crop.

Beets prefer loose, well-drained soils but will tolerate a wide range. Remove stones and debris which will hinder growth. Beets also make an excellent raised bed crop since soils are generally less compacted and there is less foot traffic.

Plant the seeds in a well-prepared seedbed as soon as the soil can be worked in the spring. Sow the seeds 1/2-inch deep and in rows 12 to 18 inches or more apart depending on the method of cultivation. Space the seeds, which are actually fruits containing several seeds, one inch apart in the rows. When the seedlings are one to two inches tall, thin to about one plant per inch. As they grow, thin to about three to four inches between plants. Succession planting can be done at three week intervals throughout the season. Avoid seeding during daytime temperatures of 80 degrees F, wait until it is cooler. Most varieties will mature within 55 to 70 days and can be planted until late summer.

After plants are well established, the application of a mulch will conserve soil moisture, prevent soil compaction and help suppress weed growth. Any mechanical cultivation should be very shallow in order to avoid damage to the beet roots. In order to obtain the highest quality, beets must grow continuously. Soil moisture and plant nutrient element supply must be adequately maintained to prevent checking of the growth. Supplemental watering may be necessary during dry spells.

Weeds, insects and diseases must be controlled in the planting. Principal insect and disease problems of beets are flea beetles, leaf miners, aphids and Cercospora leaf spot. Regular inspection of the crop can help deter a major pest infestation. Row covers at an early stage deter flea beetles and leaf miners.

Beets can be harvested at any time in their growth cycle. Greens are best when four to six inches tall. Beet roots are generally most tender after growing for 40 to 50 days. The best size is between 1-1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. As beets get larger, they tend to become more fibrous. When harvested, leave at least one inch of foliage on the root to avoid bleeding during cooking. Beets are suited to long-term storage if kept at temperatures near freezing and with high humidity to prevent wilting.

broccoli

Broccoli ( Turkish: Unknown ) and cauliflower both belong to the cabbage, or cole, family. Other commonly grown cole crops include brussels sprouts, collards, kale, kohlrabi and cabbage.

Cole crops are cool-weather vegetables, growing best when daytime temperatures are between 65 and 80 degrees F. Cauliflower is more sensitive to hot weather than broccoli. Both broccoli and cauliflower tend to do better when set out as transplants rather than planted from seed. It is important to use sturdy transplants that will become established quickly.

All of the cole crops grow well in reasonably fertile, well-drained, moist soils with plenty of added organic matter. A mulch will help keep the ground cool and moist. A liquid starter fertilizer applied to the transplants at time of planting will help establishment.

Broccoli may be spaced 18 inches apart in the row with 24 inches between rows. Cauliflower plants should be placed 24 inches apart in the row with 30 inches between rows.

Organic mulch will help keep soils cool and moist and suppress weed growth. Hand-pull or use shallow cultivation if additional weed control becomes necessary. Apply 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week if an equal amount of rainfall does not occur. An additional side dressing of a nitrogen fertilizer when the plants are well established may be desirable.

Harvest the center green flower bud cluster of broccoli while the buds are still tight and before any yellow petals begin to show. Cut the central stem five to six inches below the head. Many cultivars will continue producing bonus side shoots as long as a few leaves are left on the plant, extending the harvest period for a month or more.

Carrots

Carrots ( Turkish: Havuç ) are easy to grow and a wonderful source of Vitamin A and make an excellent crop for the home garden. The carrot is a hardy, cool season crop that can be planted in the garden as soon as the soil can be prepared in the spring. Carrots require relatively large amounts of moisture and are not tolerant of drought. Prolonged hot weather in the later stages of development may retard growth and result in an undesirable strong flavor and coarseness in the roots. Prolonged cooler temperatures, however (below 55 degrees F), tend to make the roots longer, more slender and paler in color than expected. The best temperature for highest quality roots is between 60 and 70 degrees F.

Carrot plants thrive in deep, loose, well-drained soil. Avoid stony, cloddy or trash-laden soils which will increase the incidence of root defects. Raised beds, which usually have loose soil and receive little compaction from foot traffic, are ideal for growing carrots. Carrots grown on heavy soils may produce considerable leaf growth and forked roots. Carrot plants do not grow well in strongly acidic soils.

Fertilizers and lime are best applied to soils for carrot production using soil test results as a guide. Carrots require large amounts of plant nutrient elements--particularly potassium--for good production. Too much manure and fertilizer applied just before seeding can result in forked roots.

Seed carrots into a well-prepared soil early in the spring. Suggested planting depth is 1/4 inch deep in rows spaced at least 12 to 18 inches apart, depending on the method of cultivation used. It is important to avoid crusting of the soil around the seed-bed by covering the seed with vermiculite or fine compost and keeping the soil evenly moist until the seedlings have emerged will help prevent this problem. After the seedlings have emerged, thin to one inch apart. When the tops of the carrots grow thicker, thin to about two to three inches apart. Some seed companies are now offering pelletized seed, making the seeds easier to plant and thin.

After plants are established, mulches will help conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.Cultivation, if necessary, should be shallow in order to avoid root injury. Carrots require an evenly-distributed and plentiful soil moisture supply throughout the growing season. Avoid too much moisture towards the end of the season, as this will cause roots to crack. Watch for the appearance of orange crowns at the soil level as the plants mature. If this occurs, mulch with soil or compost in order to avoid the greening of these tops in the sun. Potential pest and disease problems include leafhoppers, wireworms, carrot rust worm larvae, aster yellow, leaf spot and soft rot.

Harvest can begin when carrots are finger size. In general, the smaller carrots are juicier and more tender. The entire crop does not have to be harvested at one time. Carrots can remain in the soil until you are ready to use them. Carrots will last until winter in the soil if mulched well. Store at temperatures near freezing in a moist environment.


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