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Wellington Field Allotments Hixon


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A Load Of Manure!

The horse has finally arrived in the field next to the allotments, so I did the right thing in moving my young fruit trees away from the fence and out of itís reach. They wouldnít have hurt the horse if it had eaten the leaves, but the trees would have suffered badly! I was told there was going to be 2 horses, but the second one to arrive kicked up such a fuss that the owners decided they couldnít keep it. In fact the brand new, kit built, stable block, which had been hurriedly erected at end of the allotments site, was partly demolished by the unhappy horse in its attempts to escape. Apparently, the people had arrived at the site on the morning following its arrival to find the horse wandering loose around the allotments!

Of course the big bonus of having a stable at the end of the allotments will be the horse manure. Normally horse owners have some difficulty in getting rid of an eternal supply of horse manure and are grateful for an outlet, although the lucky ones do manage to sell it, but even when allotment sites agree to take a regular supply to help out, they still often have to pay something for it simply because of the labour and the cost of transport involved. Here, of course though, all we will have to do, is barrow it down to our plots! Now the Winter has come it is a very good time to dig manure into the ground as long as the soil is not too wet to walk on. There should be a word of warning about the use of fresh manure though, because about the only plants that it can be put round fresh, are rhubarb plants and this can be at done any time. For most other plants the manure must either be very well rotted and spread thinly, or dug in over winter before planting up later the following Spring. There must be an even bigger warning about using fresh manure before planting potatoes as this will result in scab!

All the old tomato and bean stalks, as well as all the other spent vegetation from the crops, is composting very nicely at home even though the tomato stalks seemed very tough at the time. In a few weeks I will dig the compost heap out and start filling the old compost bags that I have saved, ready to take it down to the allotments. This will be good stuff and benefit the soil, but not will be so rich and will be safer to dig into the potato patch than the horse manure.

The rabbits donít really seem to be such a problem now that I have a better idea what to grow and how to prevent them from eating the plants, but the other site where I have a plot was rabbit fenced at great expense and someone recently left the gate open one night. Obviously nobody had any type of protection at all against rabbit damage and the rabbits that did get in had a feast on one poor gardeners lovely winter vegetables! His Leeks, Cabbages, Sprouts et al had great big sections nibbled out of them and others had simply been torn up and scattered as the rabbits dug into the soft soil. A reminder to keep the gates shut has now been posted on the allotments website!