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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit

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Environmental Issues And Going Green.

Vines And Other Climbing Plants.

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Alan J Hartley



The End Of Cold Nights.

Some of the tougher vegetable plants have been available on sale in the Garden Centres for a few weeks already and now that we are into April I have just put most of my seed in to germinate, in trays, in the greenhouse to bring them up quickly rather than leaving it to chance outside in the ground. I do my vegetable plants nearly all from seed unless they fail after transplanting and then I sometimes buy young plants ready growing. Runner and French Beans are want to do this as they can be ripped apart by the constant winds that we get across our site, or indeed they can sometimes be taken by a late frost after planting out, as they are also susceptible to cold nights. Runner Beans can be sown in the ground when it warms up a little more, or else they too can be started off in pots and Tomatoes definitely need starting off in the warm. They should be sown about 6-8 weeks before you want them, so indoor Tom’s should already be growing well, but outdoor plants can be started off about now. If your plants are already growing and getting quite big they can be held back for outside planting by potting them on into large pots and then keeping them under shelter until it is time for them to go out properly.
My Turnips, Beetroot, Calabrese, Red Cabbage and Kale are all up, along with Swiss Chard that will replace those plants that over wintered and are getting a bit tired now. My Parsnip was sown directly in the ground, but germination is always a, bit hit and miss, and the other seeds were all sown in cells, or modular trays. The experts always say that root crops such as Beetroot, Turnips and Swedes don’t transplant, but I have always done it. The theory is that transplanting them may damage the roots which can cause “Forking,” and this can certainly be the case with Parsnips, but unless you are very rough with the rounder roots of Beetroot and the like, it doesn’t generally happen. 

People often don’t think of growing Brussels Sprouts and Leeks until the Winter comes and it is time to start picking them, but to be able to harvest them then, they need to be sown now as they have a long growing season, so I have also put some seed of these in recently.

Along with all the vegetable seeds, I have put in a lot of flowering Herbaceous Perennial seeds for work including:- Kniphofia, Gailardia, Oenothera (Evening Primrose) and Delphiniums. Some of these plants would be suitable to go into my Allotment for cut flowers and I may put some in as my cut flower area develops, but at the moment I am thinking about growing them for work. A lot of Allotmenteers also grow Sunflowers for fun and the birds, amongst their vegetables, or in a spare corner of their plots. I don’t usually bother with them, however, I was given some old packets of seeds that had been free samples in gardening magazines, so I put them in, again really for work and not for my plot. 

Still on the subject of seeds, I ordered a mixed packet of hardy Eucalyptus seeds and some more tree seeds, although the ones I put in are not coming up as well as I had at first hoped. Some species seem to come up like “Mustard and Cress,” whilst others are just sitting there with maybe one coming up out of a whole tray-full. I must keep reminding myself of the value of a tree seedling that reaches a few feet as compared to growing a Sunflower!

Talking of trees, I ordered a special Apple tree and new dwarf variety of Mulberry bush before the Bare Root season came to an end and the Apple tree arrived as promised, but I was told that the Mulberry had sold out within 5 days of advertising and will not be available until the autumn! Great stock control and planning! I also bought a couple of cheap fruit trees in an end of season sale from the gardening section of one of the big discount shops.

While in the buying mood I ordered some rooted Chrysanthemum cuttings for delivery in May, but again I had left it too late to get some of the “Earlies,” as they had already sold out!

With the cold nights coming to an end I recently decided to sort out my more delicate fruit trees. Most Winters in the past I have wrapped up my Figs, Olive tree and fruiting Myrtles on my Allotment. However, this year, although we had some cold nights, we never really had a prolonged cold spell, so they were never protected. At home though, with expectations of coming cold weather back in the late Autumn, I did take some plants into my Greenhouse for the Winter. A few days ago I took my tender Figs, Callistemon, Olive, etc out of the greenhouse and put them back on the yard at home. I am sure that we will still get an odd frost during April, but they won’t be too severe now. I am going to keep my Orange, Kumquat, Lemon, Banana, etc inside the Greenhouse for another couple of weeks though just in case!


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