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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.

Books By
Alan J Hartley




The Start Of Seed Sowing Time And The Beginnings Of New Life.

The other week I finally cleared the last of the Cape Gooseberries from my allotment. The plants had long died off and dried up, but many of the berries were still clinging on with a sea of berries fallen on the floor underneath the dead plants. The plants should have been removed months earlier, but with the crazy winter we have had, I left them in the hopes that more berries would ripen. After roughly pulling and bagging the plants to take home and pick them clean, I soon found that the cases on the plants held virtually no berries and the few that there were had been frosted. However, when I cleared the ground of fallen berries there were a couple of punnets, of large, ripish berries that had been protected from the frost by the plants above. It was ridiculous to be able to harvest a frost tender fruiting berry at the beginning of January!

I am still digging a few Carrots and Turnips, as well, although some of the carrots have started to rot in the ground. The last of the Jerusalem Artichokes have been dug up and the smallest tubers have been replanted for this coming seasons crop.

With the new planting season rapidly approaching, I have started a few potatoes in small pots in my cool greenhouse.

Seed sowing has also started with some Cape Gooseberries and Kohl Rabi being the first, apart from the onion seed which are already up and out of the propagator. Not having much experience of what to sow and when, I have gone through my tin of seeds that are stored in the cool garage, and made a list of the coming months and weeks in a sort of planting diary. The idea is to sow a couple of trays of seed in succession to make the most of only two propagators.

Where I can I am trying to sow most of the seeds in trays that contain cells, (except those that will go straight into the allotment ground like Carrots) so there is no, or very little, pricking out to be done! The only thing with using cells is that you need to be more careful with watering as they dry out much quicker than conventional seed trays.

On the subject of watering, I thought I had lost all the young Chrysanthemums that had been salvaged at the end of the season from the tubs of bedding plants on the yard. I had potted them up in small pots and watered them some weeks before, but mould had quickly covered the plants as I had got them far too wet. However, after being left to really dry out, most of them are shooting again from their bases. Now I am trying to water them very sparingly from beneath by occasionally putting them in a tray of shallow water. By picking the pots up I know when they want a spot of water at their feet as the pots become lighter.

The bigger, older stools under the staging are shooting well- too well even, at this time of year, but being bigger pots and the fact that they are standing on the cold floor, they are not drying out so quickly. As there were so many big stools at the end of last season I left some in the ground on my allotment, but earthed them up for a little protection. There are no signs of life at all on these so we will have to wait and see what the Spring brings.