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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



Jobs For January.

In the Winter you sometimes have to do jobs indoors, because the weather is often too wet, or too cold to get out on the soil in your allotment. If you have over wintering plants such as Dahlias, Chrysanthemums and Gladiola in your greenhouse, one little job that needs to be done indoors occasionally is to check them to make sure that they are not getting any stray drips from the roof, or from the staging, if they are tucked away underneath it. However, if you have a greenhouse there is often some growing in the form of seed sowing, or potting, that can be done. January is still probably too early for most vegetable seeds apart from Onions, but there are a few types of seeds that can be germinated at any time of the year such as indoor pot plants. My tree seeds that I sowed back in December are another case in point. They werenít fruit trees, (apart from the fruiting climber, Akebia) but there a lot of fruit trees that can be raised from seed and itís a lot cheaper than paying 30, or 40 pounds for one tree. They wonít be on a dwarfing rootstock and extreme care has to be taken when doing this to ensure that the seedlings get both enough warmth and light to keep them growing until the new season starts properly in the Spring when they will toughen up and can go outside.

Shopping for new tools, pots, trays, labels, etc can be another good thing to fill up the eager gardeners day when it is too miserable to be digging. It was on such a recent trip that I bought a pot of the indoor Parlour Palm. (Chamaedora Elegans) Before I bought it though, I examined the pot and saw that the ďPlant,Ē was made up of over 20 seedlings. I have bought pots of Bay Trees in the past that were made up the same and had great success in dividing them up into individual plants. At only about a fiver for a couple of dozen plants it represented good value for money, so I decided to separate them and pot them up for work. They will be kept to settle down for a few weeks before they are used for making up gift bowls. Chameadora are as tough as old boots and will happily go in a frost-free Greenhouse, but I also bought what was claimed to be a miniature Bird Of Paradise plant. It seemed rather different to the large, thick leafed Strelitzia Regina that I remembered from momís Garden Centre that could almost be called a Succulent plant. Although I got nearly 20 plants out of the pot, it was a bad buy, because they were not very tough and the first cold night took them all. That one failure wonít put me off trying the same trick again though, as in the past I have also divided newly bought outdoor Ferns, Ivies and Grasses in the same way. I have even done it with fruit bushes and shrubs where they have been planted deeply into the pots causing them to re-root from the stems. It does seem to be the trend for growers though, to put several small plants into one pot to make it look like a big plant without taking so much time for them to grow. It is always worth looking at plants before buying them to see if they can be divided like this. You can save a lot of money with this tip especially when you want to plant several of the same plant. If you donít want the surplus plants you generate you might be able to follow the age old gardening tradition of swapping them with somebody else for plants that you do want!

Earlier this year I remembered to grow some Winter Forcing Chicory in my Allotment. They had plenty of growing time and had made good plants when I came to dig up the mature roots as the first frosts came. I decided to give up with the forcing beds that I had made under the staging in previous years. It was just too much trouble to keep making them and then dismantle them every year. The Greenhouse was very full anyway with pots of Amaryllis and Gladiola under the staging. So, while on my wanderings around the local garden centres one day, I bought two very large and deep plastic tubs to grow the Chicory roots in instead. As I donít get much use out of moms ďPlant Room,Ē in the house now, (The Box Bedroom!) I decided to put them in there to grow. I plunged a few of the Chicory plants into the tubs with some moist compost around the roots, before covering the tops of the tubs with a thick layer of Newspapers to keep out the light. In the warmth of the house the Chicons grew very quickly, taking only a few days to develop, but they seem to have harvested OK. Because they grew so fast I had to keep an eye on them, but I had no problem with slugs coming from other pots!
Mushroom growing seems to be gaining in popularity again, so perhaps thatís something else that I could grow over winter in the Plant Room, in the dark of the large pots, when the Chicory have finished! Never mind. Spring and the new growing season will soon be upon us now that we have had the shortest day.


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