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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



Winter's Coming.

With November now upon us we are well into Autumn with the days getting much shorter and the Sunlight not so intense on the good days, as well as having many more dull and overcast days. However, many plants such as over wintering young Perennials that have been grown from seed this Summer, are still growing, albeit much more slowly, and they need as much light as they can get. Putting up Greenhouse Insulation is a job that needs to be done at this time of year to cut down on heating costs, but the bubble Polythene does cut out some of the light. So, clean glass in the greenhouse is a must for the Winter and that means washing the glass down of any dust and Algae on the inside and washing off the greenhouse whitening paint on the outside. With regards the Greenhouse, another important little job is to check that your greenhouse heater is still working and ready to be turned on for any cold and frosty nights that may be forecast. Admittedly, we don’t normally get many frosts before January, but it only needs one big drop in temperature to do damage to some of the more of tender plants. I have just taken my Oranges, Lemons and tender Figs inside, because if an Orange gets badly chilled it will drop its leaves and then takes a long time to recover - if you are lucky. I took my Bananas inside a week, or two ago, as they are particularly tender. Other things that I have recently taken in are the Chicory off my Allotment and pots of Gladiola bulbs. The pots of Gladiola had been plunged into the ground on my Allotment for their growing season, but need to be kept dry and frost free over winter, so they will be dried off and put under the staging in my greenhouse until Spring. The Chicory roots will be planted into a rough, blacked out bed under the staging to force them i.e. to blanche the “Chicons.” The Chicons grow quite quickly in the dark and warmth of the greenhouse and you need to keep a close eye on them so that they get some ventilation and don’t rot. Harvesting is only a few weeks after planting, so if you have a number of roots it is a good idea to stagger their planting to give a constant supply of Chicons.

With the leaves dropping I decided it was a good time to dig up the Damson seedlings I have been growing on for Oak Tree on my Allotment. They have been potted and Oak Tree will use them, either to fill in missing parts of hedges, or as specimens to grow on to maturity for their fruit. Indeed now is the time when the wholesale plant nurseries will start digging up and supplying “Field Grown Bare Root Trees” for their customers. This will go on all through the Winter, but if you buy any like this, either Mail Order, or over the Internet, they should only be planted in the milder weather when there are no hard frosts about – even if this means temporarily potting them up until a spell of better weather.
Another thing that can now be dug up and potted for Oak Tree are my surplus Raspberries. Where I have been clearing my over grown new plot there is quite a big patch of them and rather than compost them I have decided to donate them. In the past I have potted a lot of excess Raspberries and left them on the Allotments for any one that wanted them, but there are so many Raspberry patches on the site now that a lot of canes are constantly being thrown away.

As usual I have spare Gooseberries plants to give away. This is because wherever branches bend down and touch the soil they root. Gooseberries only have shallow roots and don’t like being disturbed when they are growing, but should be OK to pot up now. Other plants that it is time to pot up are my rooted Fig cuttings. This year I only managed to root a couple of cuttings on my plot, but I am hoping that there are a lot of self-roots round the big Fig tree at home. I usually bend down some of the floppy, lower branches on the tree and peg them down into the surrounding soil. These are called Ground Layered cuttings, but Air Layered cuttings are another way of easily rooting suitable trees and bushes. However, they do need patience as they will take many months before they root. This involves wrapping a selected branch on the tree in a little parcel of damp soil and newspaper, sealed in a piece of plastic bag and then tying it up soft string to hold it all together in place. 
Fruit bushes like Currants make ideal candidates for “Hard Wood Cuttings,” at this time of year. Again though they do take a long time to root and won’t really be ready for potting until after the Winter and well into next season. Suitable shoots need to be about a foot or more long and trimmed to just below a bud. Then they should be pushed firmly and deeply into free draining soil that will stay moist, but not get too wet over Winter. If leaves start to appear in the Spring it is a sign that they are starting to root. Then, with a little more growth they can be potted, or planted out. It is through rooting cuttings like this that I have managed to build up quite a little fruit bed on my Allotment for very little cost. Allotment gardening is all about making the most of what you can get for free!


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