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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



Some Late Pruning & Spare Plants.

This Summer I was a bit late trimming back the excess growth on my Apples, Pears and Plums so that I could keep them in their proper shape, but I finally got round to doing it the other week. Summer pruning should be done as the fruit starts to develop, before they are thinned out. This allows the sun to get at the fruit and helps with the ripening process. Of course they also say that Pears and Plums should not be pruned when they are dormant in the Winter, but when they are growing to allow the cut to heal quickly and prevent infection. (Apples can be done in the Winter as can many other Trees and woody Shrubs.) Another pruning job that should have been done weeks ago was to cut back the luxuriant growth on my Grape Vines. After heavily cutting them back there was, as usual, great armfuls of waste for my Compost heap. I didn’t think that there were any Grapes on them this year, but after giving them a “Short Back and Sides,” I can now see tiny bunches of Grapes. Other things that I pruned recently were my Bay Trees, Figs to start and train them “Espalier” type, and Gooseberry bushes, although again, I am sure that it was the wrong time for these.
This year, my early, Summer fruiting Raspberries have got some real growth on them, so these too were cut back, or at least the old, dark brown, stems that have already fruited, were cut out leaving the new shoots that will produce next seasons crop. One by one I tied them in with string to horizontal Bamboo canes to give them support against the wind over the coming Winter.
After tidying up my fruit trees, I refreshed much of the Wood Chip that surrounds them, but I am waiting for another load as I feel guilty about taking too much of it at once. I will need quite a bit more wood chip to freshen up the area surrounding my Black and Red Currants, and Gooseberries, etc.

After a cancelled Open Day that was planned for our Allotments, I disposed of some of my surplus plants to my mate at another allotments site in the next village. While down there I started chatting to a nice young lady and she was quite taken with the idea of trying some yellow Raspberries, so that got rid of a few more plants! Chatting to other plot holders on their site it turned out that they have had a great big load of woodchip delivered free of charge as well from some land that was being cleared for building. Instead of paying through the nose for it at Garden Centres, the idea of getting it free from local Tree Surgeons, seems to be catching on. Recently I even saw one of the “Make over,” type TV gardeners do the same to economise on a makeover that he was doing.

On the subject of creating more plants, I have been taking Softwood and Semi Ripe shrub cuttings to fill the propagators at work and having mixed success. They really did suffer badly in the hot spells that we had especially when they had only just been put in. Those that had gone in earlier, in cooler weather, seemed to stand up to the short hot spells better though. As Summer is fading I am changing over to seed sowing going into the Autumn and then I will move on to Hardwood cuttings as we go into the Winter. With this in mind, in the last week or so, I have already put in loads of Herbaceous Perennial seeds for work. Mistakenly though, some of those that I ordered need to be stratified before they will germinate, so I will be sowing them in a few weeks time and putting the seed trays in an open ended, cold polytunnel, to chill naturally through the Winter.

To end on a lighter note, we recently had a Plant Swap at Oak Tree Farm Rural Project. They had had one a long time ago, but nobody really remembered it so we were all a bit nervous about how to organise it. We were encouraging all the Staff and volunteers to get us started with some of their spare, unusual plants, that they had got at home. The Gardening Services Manager said he had got some surplus plants for us – Some Fruit Bushes, Grasses and some Herbs, one of which quickly fills an empty space and has a pretty pink flower, one of which you can make soup with and another medicinal – It turned out that they were Brambles, Couch Grass, RoseBay Willow Herb, Stinging Nettles and Docks!


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