I can and do grow a ton of vegetables and fruits in my garden in Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey is in a customs union with the EU while she is not an EU state with a terrible exchange rate and postage fees. So it is cost-prohibitive and I can only grow great local varieties. They taste great and already adapted to local conditions. But frankly, I am quite envious when people start to talk about sugar-span peas, snowflake turnip, scarlet runner bean, salanova lettuce or glass gem corn. Sometimes I feel like I am the only kid in the school who is not allowed to have pokemon cards or Jordan shoes :P I want to grow them so much!
A friend of mine will make a short trip from the US this Jan-February (first time in 10 years!). Great!
As expectedly, I am lost in seed catalogs :) This is the first time I can actually buy from them; such as baker creek, burpee... or any other company based in America. I feel like I am getting overwhelmed by possibilities. Which heirlooms (or varieties in general) would you recommend? Which ones I should try?
This is my life!! Except seed imports are actually illegal here, although some seeds have accidentally fallen into my suitcase in the past (whoops).
I have gotten burned plenty of times buying things that are not adapted to where I live, so I think it's helpful to think about what kind of plants will be best suited. What's your climate like? and more importantly, what do you like to eat?
(Dr Google tells me Istanbul is 8B with significant snow. things I really loved that I can only buy in the US that would probably do well in your summer are curly kale, asparagus (or noodle) beans, scarlet runners would probably do well in your fall or spring seasons... I do grow sweet corn becuase I love it, but it doesn't do well here and is often an insane effort. For me, basil, shiso, and dill are essential. Other than that my rule is to only grow things I can't get locally or which are insanely expensive. This means I grow blue potatoes, orange sweet potatoes, kales, noodle beans, chinese greens like pak choi, and long Asian eggplant.)
I try not to get too caught up in all the pretty colours and focus on finding plants that grow vigorously, put up with uneven watering and maybe some neglect and imperfect soil, but once my soil improves maybe I'll look for pretty colours as well.
Some of my favourites:
Red Russian kale
Principe borghese tomatoes Tommy toe tomatoes
Amish paste tomatoes
Costata romenesca zucchini
Painted mountain corn
Short kuroda carrot
Giant curled mustard
Early wonder beetroot
Purple top turnip
Scarlet emperor bean
Provider bush bean
I don't have a chance to try new varieties and this opportunity is happening for the first time. Istanbul's climate is, well, weird. It is 9b, but we might have a ton of lake effect snow. Moreover; in the middle of summer, it turns very humid. It is Mediterranean Climate, but some years we had thunderstorms in July that dropped over 300mm of rain (twice). We had winters that had no rain or snow, not even a bit. Also, my garden is on a very steep slope in a quite deep valley. I have a ton of microclimates. I am just going to plant and try to grow as many varieties possible and see which ones work best. I might even try to blend them in with local varieties. So I am just going wild for once :)
Also, any ny winter squash/pumpkin suggestions are greatly appreciated :) I grow the same white sweet pumpkin every year. It works great, but even it has a name that is boring: white pumpkin.