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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM

Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit

Herbs & Other
Edible Plants.

Environmental Issues And Going Green.

Vines And Other Climbing Plants.

Fish Ponds

Books By
Alan J Hartley



More Fun With Herbs.

I have often seen TV programs about getting food for free and how to go foraging in woodland and always been intrigued, but have never done it. However, recently I saw an interesting plant that had naturalised in a woody area at mom’s nursing home. It had very pretty white flowers on long stems with broad leaves covering the ground underneath. I was most impressed with it. Still fascinated by it, I got into my car and went home noticing a very strong smell of Garlic in the car on the way home. I soon realised the plant that I had been examining was Wild Garlic and I had the smell of it all over me. Looking it up I identified it as “Allium Ursinum,” which, apparently is easily mixed up with several other similar looking plants, but the strong smell of Garlic always gives it away. Thinking about where would best suit the Garlic, I decided it would do very nicely naturalised in the Spinney at the bottom of Oak Tree’s site. The next time I went to see mom, I decided I would get some seed from the now dead flower heads. When I tried the newly forming seed pods they had not developed enough though, so I will have to look again later on in the season.

A few weeks ago I had grown a lot of Herbs from seed for Oak Tree along with a range of unusual vegetables, some of which were taken as cuttings and roots from plants on my Allotment. They proved a big success at Oak Tree on their “Plant Day,” that was held a little while ago. The Herbs had been potted into “6 packs,” in a similar way to that done by one of the big, local, Garden Centres. However, their packs were 6 times the price of Oak Trees! No wonder they were popular!

Along with the “6 Packs,” were some individual pots of Herbs including Angelica that also proved popular again this year as it did the last couple of years. These were grown from my own seed taken from the plants on my Allotment last year. Parsley grown from seed from packets and Mint that was grown from cuttings taken from my own plants, also proved popular. 

With the success of the Herbs, I decided to try and keep growing a range of young Herb plants for Oak Tree throughout the Summer. There are quite a few Herbs that can still be sown now, such as Coriander and Caraway. I also put in some Chamomile that is sometimes used for low maintenance lawns! That seed came up like Mustard and Cress, but afterwards I found a plant at home that could easily have had cuttings taken from it as it roots readily.
Other Herb seeds that I have recently sown include Sorrel, which I later discovered is a close relative of Docks! I don’t think I want to plant any of those on my Allotment! Their leaves have a nice Lemony tang to them due to the presence of Oxalic Acid. Lemon Balm was another one that I sowed a bit earlier that is also a real thug, but smells very nice. I have got several different pots of Mint in my Greenhouse to bring on for cuttings including a lovely looking Apple mint that has come on well after looking very sad in the Winter. The cuttings of the Apple Mint that I took a week, or two ago are just starting to root. I hope they do, because the plant really does look extremely pretty with its variegated leaves. All mints though, especially the ordinary, common Mint, are thugs, and best grown in pots. Indeed, I am beginning to realise that a lot of the old, traditional, Herbs that are Natives, are simply common weeds, or at least their close relatives and should be grown with caution – ideally isolated from your garden and cultivated in pots!

If you are growing Herbs, or indeed, any seeds, do read the packets carefully as they all have different sowing seasons. Some Herb plants are annuals and some perennials with a few of the perennials Mediterranean and not very hardy like Oregano.
Oregano cuttings seem to root easily enough though if you have access to a mature plant. I now have a lovely golden one that I got from Oak Tree to go with the plain green ones in my greenhouse. 
Other hardy perennial herbs that are very easy to grow besides Mint include lots of different Thymes. On my Allotment I have got a gold as well as lovely silver variegated one which will produce flowers that attract the Bees. Although Sage likes drier conditions than most plants, it is also easy to grow along with Rosemary. These should also root easily enough from cuttings. Not only are some Herbs used in the Kitchen, but some like Purple Sage and Golden Oregano they are quite pretty in their own right grown as foliage plants in the border. Of course Lavender is another popular Herb, which has a lovely scent as well as attractive flowers. Looking out on the garden I can see mine in flower now, although I think it is coming to an end for the season.
It sometimes surprises me just how many Herbs are grown for decorative use as well as for the Kitchen that we always first think of when Herbs are mentioned.


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