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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



Late Frosts.

Back at the beginning of April I warned people about planting things like Runner Beans out too early as we could still get cold nights and low and behold, come the last week in April, we had a couple of sharp, frosty, nights with some places even getting a covering of snow one morning. Many gardeners must have jumped the gun planting out tender vegetables and lost them as garden centres have been selling them for several weeks now. The frosts took the leaves on both of my Kiwi Vines that had been shooting well and indeed, I didn’t heed my own warning as my Potatoes weren’t earthed up properly which meant all the Potato tops were taken - even the one growing in my compost heap! Blossom on fruit trees sometimes gets damaged as well by late Frosts, but the trees have been covered in flowers for weeks now, so, it was mostly over and falling anyway. If it was pollinated the fruit trees promise to give a very good harvest in the Autumn as they were absolutely covered in blossom this year, even the trees that don’t normally do much, flowered well. My Plum trees, both at home and on the Allotment, have always looked good, but never produced much fruit. After this year’s profusion of blossom, though, I am quite hopeful.
Back in March I said that I had not had an Asian Pear Tree fruit from a pip, however, this year, for the first time, one I planted at work, produced a couple of flowers back in mid April. Most fruit trees grown from pips take many years to mature, often 10, or 20 years and more, so it has developed very quickly to flower after only about 6 years. My grafted one on the Allotments has flowered very well, so hopefully, I shall be able to compare the fruit from the two trees.
Still on the subject of fruit trees – in the patch on my allotment where a few weeks ago I had dug up some Plum trees that had been growing, I found bits of the roots that had been left in and they were shooting! Needless to say I potted them up. They will be a few more, free, wild Plum trees for Oak Tree!
I am quite pleased so far with the tree seeds that I have been sowing over the Winter as they seem to be doing much better than when I tried the same idea a few years ago, but you can’t beat nature as the Plum trees show and I also harvested some more Hawthorn plants that were germinating courtesy of nature in the Wood Chip that is spread around my fruit bushes. After they have grown on a bit they can be used to fill in gaps in one, or two of the hedges at work. 

Some people have just sown their Broad Beans, but mine are more advanced and flowering well as they went in before the Winter. Hopefully, it won’t be long before I can start picking them, certainly by the end May. Planting them to over winter, generally means they mature before problems with Black Fly develop and thereby prevents a regular problem that you get with Broad Beans as they are prone to infestations on the tender tips. 
Some things are already harvesting including the “Everlasting,” or “Welsh Onions.” These grow, like a bunch of Chives and the tops can be used the same, but the Onions themselves eat like Spring Onions. The real benefit is that you don’t need to re-sow them every year, just divide and replant! The similar “Egyptian Walking Onions,” always self set themselves from their bulbils that they drop, so they are easy as well.

The Sea Kale harvest was particularly good this year with my picking 112 stalks and no signs of Slugs damage at all. That may be due to the dry spell that we had while they were growing throughout April. I had also been a little concerned about whether the Crowns would come through the thick layer of compost and bark chips that had been used to raise the soil level in the beds. However, the shoots pushed through OK and have grown well. Now the plants are starting to throw up flower heads, which I have just cut off and put in my compost bin so that the plants produce leaves to energise them ready for next years crop. Sea Kale can be planted in big borders and grown for their blousy flower heads. You sometimes see them grown on TV like this, but rarely see them grown as a vegetable.
My Asparagus has been late shooting this year much to the delight of a couple of other, Lady, Plot-Holders. Both of the Ladies concerned are usually jealous of mine, but this year theirs were very much first and they have started cutting, whereas mine are barely showing. Most people don’t realise that there are different varieties of Asparagus that will shoot at different times and this may be the reason as they may have an earlier variety that has just got established now. It is the same with Rhubarb with different varieties growing at different times. 3 of my Rhubarb Crowns were shooting a couple of weeks before one other that had come from a different source. I am picking all of the plants regularly now to keep the shoots fresh and stop the stalks from going tough.
It will be a while before I can start harvesting more standard vegetables though, as I am still planting them out. Indeed, my Runner Beans are only just about ready to go in now and my Tomatoes won’t go in the ground until the Broad Beans come out.


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