Warm wishes

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I’ve been reading lots of shivery cold blog posts lately. There are snow drifts in them! We don’t ever see snow in our garden (although there is snow just 100 meters higher than us in the dead of winter) and I sometimes wish we were somewhere with a “real winter.” But then the week in January when the pipes freeze rolls around and effectively cures me of the notion.

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We aren’t very high up – maybe 500 meters above sea level. But between our elevation and the proximity it brings to the snowy mountains above, the weather in the garden is quite different from that at sea level.

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I noticed at Sundance, for example, that their peach tree was in full bloom yesterday, whereas ours is still fast asleep. (Not so the plum pictured above, or the almonds.)

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Which is to say that even if you are digging your car out from under the snow right now, Spring is on its way and nothing can stop it. Think warm thoughts, guys, and know that I’m sending them.

cola bottles and the tops they wear

Out by us in Ulupinar, no one would ever dream of throwing away a cola bottle. Be it 1 liter, 500 ml or 2.5 liters, these handy bottles are used again and again. They don’t leak, so they are invaluable receptacles for fresh milk, diesel, home made pomegranate or grape syrup, and as I have discovered, great for watering.

This is the time of year when we peer at little pots of paper waiting for seeds to germinate. The paper pot, folded out of newspaper, is a wonderful thing. It’s cheap and easy to make, and pretty much any seed can be started in it. One thing that you have to be especially watchful of, though, is that they not dry out. Watering tiny seedlings sometimes no thicker than an eyelash can be nerve wracking, and is best done with a fine shower of water.

I used to have a rose for my watering can, but it was detachable, so naturally it got lost. Then I came across a couple of solutions that can be used along with the venerable cola bottle.

The first is a bottle top that screws on to the cola bottle. I got this from the Thompson & Morgan website when they were giving them away to anyone sufficiently spendy (I have my moments). It is a little fragile, though — I got four of them, and this is the only survivor. Still, it works really well, and it is serving us in the Yellow House as our seed sowing waterer.

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In the apartment in Antalya, I am starting tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and cucumber seeds in black bags. It is warmer here, since we have heat, and I am using bags so that I can grow them in the bags for a few weeks without worrying about them getting too cramped by the time I can plant them out. I have a little sprinkler cap that I got at years back. It is intended for sprinkling water on your ironing. I don’t iron, so I can’t say whether it works well for that or not, but it makes a great waterer when paired with a cola bottle, and since it’s a cork you could just stuff it into any old bottle.

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As usual, though, the best answer was staring me in the face. There’s nothing wrong with the bottle cap on the bottle itself. Here’s one that Ali burned holes in with a hot needle (a job best performed in open air, or at least with open window).

It works marvelously. Cola may be bad for you, but cola bottles are the gardener’s friend!