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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

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Alan J Hartley



Jobs Indoors.

December isn’t normally thought of as being the time to either sow seeds, or start plants off, but surprisingly that is just what I have been doing. The Aquadulce type of Broad Beans should really have been sown in the ground a few weeks ago, but my new plot, where I planned to put them, wasn’t ready, so I held them back before sowing them rather late, in the greenhouse, in trays. As I hadn’t got any seed a friend on the allotments gave me an old packet that he had found when he was tidying up his shed a bit. Like everything seeds have a use by date, or at least a sow by date, however, most seeds will give good germination even several years past this date. The packet my friend gave me was 4 years out of date, but most of them seem to have come up ok. There are certainly enough little plants for me. I started them off in modular seed trays so that each seed could grow on a bit before it went out and the roots wouldn’t be disturbed, making them more able to resist the weather straight away. Of course coming out of the Greenhouse and going outside in the winter cold, I will have to pick a spell of a few days when the weather forecast says there will be no night frosts. However, starting them off in the greenhouse has put some growth on them quicker than if they had been sown in the ground. It shouldn’t get really cold until later on in January, or February, although as at the time of writing this we have just had a couple of quite cold nights.
Likewise, I started my Garlic cloves off in pots, a week or two ago, to grown on until I had a suitable patch clear for them. They have been outside all the time though, standing on some slabs at home, so they are fully accustomed to the weather and are already off to a good start before planting.

A couple of weeks ago I finally put in my order for tree seeds from a specialist supplier on the Internet. The tree seeds aren’t really for me, but to grow on for a couple of years for Oak Tree Farm Rural Project where I work. I have decided to start the seeds off in trays and pots, and then grow them on for a year before planting them out in a corner of a field to grow on for a further 2 more years. I think the 2 Christmas tree types will have to be “Pot Grown,” rather than “Field Grown,” as being evergreens they don’t like their roots disturbed. I bought 12 packets in all plus one packet of Akebia for myself. The Akebia are an unusual and little known climber that produces an edible fruit that will be something different.

It was interesting to note, that on the instructions that came with the tree seeds, they said that some of the seeds could be soaked in water to break their winter dormancy instead of cold stratifying them. I didn’t really believe it, but indeed one type had started shooting when I took them out of their over night water bath and some more were shooting after the next day, or two. Last time, a few years ago, the tree seeds I tried, were very hit and miss with their germination. We will have to see how I do this time after a bit more seed sowing experience!

Something else that I have recently tried to propagate was a Pineapple top. The plan was to root it over winter and plant it out in my Cold Frame on my Allotment next Spring, but it looks very dead, so I will have to try again. Many years ago I used to root ornamental, greenhouse, Bromeliads at mom’s GC and Pineapples are from the same family of plants. With those I treated them a bit like Cacti for rooting. That is to say, that, after cutting the bit off to root, I let the wounded bit dry and heal a bit before pushing into compost. One set of instructions I found for rooting Pineapples on the Internet also said this, but another set of instructions said to root the top suspended over a jar of water.

Other seeds that can be sown in December include onions and Shallots. It is probably too late to start off most other things, or too early for next season. It depends on whether you see your glass as being half full or half empty!


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