Go To Intro

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



On A Nice Winters Day.

In the Christmas post, along with the cards, I received several catalogues from various seed and plant companies all pushing their new ranges of Spring planting varieties ready for the coming season. Bare root fruit trees featured in some of the catalogues as it is still OK to plant them right up until the Spring when they start to leaf up. It is not advisable to try doing it when there are heavy frosts though, but otherwise there is no problem at any time throughout the Winter months. If you can leave it very late into the Spring though, you will see last minute bargains at some of the discount and hardware/gardening shops. Then, they usually sell some of the more popular varieties of fruit trees for a fiver, or less. There won’t be much of a choice, but what a price! Of course planting them that late, will need a little more care, and you may lose the odd one, but if you want to plant fruit on a budget it is certainly the time to buy.

With this in mind, while looking for fruit in a local Garden centre, I saw pots of 10 hedging plants including; - Beech, Hornbeam, Hazel, Thorn, Rose, etc with many pots at half price. In the past I had bought some bushes like this to fill in gaps in a hedge on another Allotment that I once had, but this time I thought of getting some purple beech to grow on as specimens for work. At the same time I also saw some cheap pots of Bay seedlings at only a fiver a pot for about 15, or 20 seedlings. At that price they can be used in a sheltered spot to make a bit more of an exotic hedge! (I actually have two short rows on my current plots.) They do grow fairly slowly and will take a few years to establish themselves though.

Not only is it still a good time to plant, but also to dig up and move fruit trees and bushes. One of the jobs I did on one of the better winter days we have just had was to replace one current bush and one gooseberry with other types of fruit. I just decided that I had too many bushes the same, so I took a couple of the largest ones out. They took some digging to get them up with good roots on though. Using a combination of fork and spade to cut through some of deeper roots I got the job done. It won’t really hurt the bushes at this time of year while they are dormant as long as the roots are kept moist until they are re-planted. They also need to be cut back a bit though and given a bit of care when they are replanted. I am going to have another try with a Honeyberry and a couple of other bushes that I did from seed a couple of years ago and never planted. Many people say that the Honeyberry needs to be planted with a companion, (which I don’t have,) for good pollination - so we will see. The second bush I planted was an Eleagnus Angustifolia, or Russian Olive, and here again it is stated that you need two trees for adequate pollination. The fruit is supposed to be edible, but apparently they don’t always ripen here in the UK. I also planted another climbing fruit bush on my Allotment that I had done from seed a couple of years ago, but rather stupidly lost the name for it when the label faded. However, last season, it did have some fruit on that ripened quite nicely, so it is worth keeping! 

I also moved a nicely developing, old fashioned, Medlar tree that I had bought for a Tenner from a “Plant Rescue Bin,” at a local Garden Centre, three, or four years ago. Normally they are quite expensive trees and this one was a bit lop sided, but it is filling out well now and this last season it has rewarded me with quite a harvest of tasty fruits that I am still eating now at the time of writing this.

On the subject of moving and planting things to grow on, I had a nice surprise when I looked under a couple of bricks that had been keeping down some floppy, young, Fig branches at the base of one of my little trees on the Allotment. Lifting the bricks I saw a tangle of roots that had obviously come from the stems. Putting the fork under the two separate masses revealed half a dozen well-rooted young branches either side of the main trunk. I had tried the same trick at home, but this time got much better results on my plot. Maybe the bricks had kept the stems cool and moist and maybe it was better soil for rooting, but whatever the reason I was very pleased. One, or two of the cuttings will be for the allotments and the rest will go for work for them to grow on. With this batch of cuttings I had 100% success rate whereas only a few had rooted, albeit poorly at home with this method and only two, or three actual cuttings taken in the traditional way had rooted. Another way that I like to root suitable bushes is by “Air Layering.” I have a couple of branches on a variegated, Exotic, Fig tree undergoing this method at home as well as some Mulberry branches and red Hazel. Hopefully by Spring these can also be cut off and potted as they have been wrapped up for some time now. I can barely wait for the Spring to come when everything leafs up again and I will see how all the plants I have moved take to their new positions and if all of my cuttings sprout.


Click Here For Information