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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Fashioned Fruit

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Alan J Hartley



Some Problems With Water.

Some of the vegetables really suffered because of the long dry spell we had for most of the Spring and early part of the Summer, so this season, I watered all of my freshly transplanted seedlings regularly, for quite some time after planting. Normal years I just water things in and more, or less forget them. However, coming up towards the middle of July we finally had some real rain that got things growing again nicely and it wasnít long before the Allotmenteers started complaining because they couldnít get on their plots to do anything as the weather was too wet! Towards the end of the dry spell I had taken advantage of the dry conditions to clean out 6 of the 7 water tubs at home. Whenever, I had systematically used all of the water in one tub to water my Greenhouse and planted tubs on the yard, I then set to and cleaned it. Firstly I bailed out the remaining dirty water and then the thick sludge that had built up in the bottom over the years since it was last done. If you havenít cleaned out a water tub before you canít imagine how revolting and smelly the sludge is. Needless to say, parts of the garden had started to suffer with the dry weather, so they benefited by the thick mulch of sludge that they received. When the rain didnít immediately fall within a day or two though, I decided to fork the surface over, to reduce the smell.

We had the usual June drop of Apples, but also, unusually, some Gooseberries dropped off the bushes and some Currants on the bushes shrivelled with the dry weather. Otherwise the pickings were quite good, because again I am pleased to say there was no Gooseberry Sawfly!
One fruit that did like the weather was my Mulberry tree in the garden at home and it fruited very well at last enabling me to pick a couple of full punnets of lovely, black, berries.

My early Strawberry bed was a total waste of time and looked like someone had treated it with weed-killer Ė it was so poor. Again this year I will dig it out and dig in plenty of manure and compost before replanting in a few weeks. I might even dig in the woodchip that is on the surface at the moment. I think the terrible growth was down to a combination of being too to dry along with the poor, clay soil that I filled the raised bed with when I constructed it.

My Squash and Courgettes have also needed watering regularly, because, for the first time, I planted them in large pots between my new fruit trees to make use of the space. The two Courgette plants are fruiting well and I am picking regularly with several small Squashes also starting to develop. Some Allotmenteers regularly buy their young plants, however, normally I start mine off from seed, but this year my seed all failed, so I bought mine as well. I have never tried growing them in pots before as they are thirsty and greedy plants, but as I couldnít plant directly in the ground due to the abundance of underground raspberry suckers, I thought I would give it a try. So far there have been no problems and they are now spilling over the pots as they put on their luxuriant growth.

I havenít done too badly with my Parsnips, although I did have to re-sow half of each of the rows, because they did not germinate. As I had worked my way down the rows sowing as I went, I had used up a packet of old seed first before finishing the rest of the rows with a new packet. Sowing old Parsnip seed is never a good idea because it really does need to be as fresh as you can get it to germinate successfully. Every year I remind myself of this but still try to make use of part packets with the same result every time!

Another thing that I did that was a bit silly in the prolonged dry spell, was to dig up and replant my patch of bunching Welsh Onions and Egyptian Walking Onions. In a way it was the right time, or at least in better weather it would have been, but not in a dry spell. However, I took a chance and they donít seem too bad, although again I have been watering them regularly which I wouldnít normally do. You have to be careful though as too much wet on the young Onion bulbs and they will rot as some of the tiny ones that I put in pots have done. The truth is my watering is clumsy and not as good as it might be because in a normal year I just donít do it!


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