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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



Fruit Harvest Round Up.

This year, I harvested a lovely crop of Plums for the first time, along with my first Asian Pears from the sad little tree that I moved up to my Allotment last Winter. Since moving the tree it has put on lots of new growth and looks like a different tree altogether. I think that all of my Apples also did very well giving me lots of different types of fruit from the various varieties. One little tree that did particularly well has lovely "Eaters," but sadly they don't keep at all, so many had to be given away before they went brown. All of the other trees have hard Apples on them whether they are "Eaters," or "Cookers," so they can be stored for some weeks. At least they can if any stay on the trees long enough to be picked rather than being "Windfalls," from all of the winds that we have been having.

I picked a reasonable quantity of Figs this season, both on my Allotment for the first time and at home, although the big tree at home is getting so tall that I couldn't reach a lot of them and the birds had a feast with those high up! On the subject of "Exotic," fruit, my Moutain PawPaw flowered a short while ago for the first time and now it has got two little fruits forming on it! If the cooler nights, that we are starting to get occasionally, don't get Frosty, I may be able to pick my first home grown PawPaw fruits.

Elsewhere, I remembered to pick the Hazel nuts from the big tree at home before they fell this year, but a lot of them were high up as well and I couldn't reach them because I haven't been so on the ball with pruning the last couple of years and the tree is starting to go skywards! Having said that I still got half a bucket full of Nuts and the winds brought a lot more down afterwards that were collected off the ground. No doubt I have missed some, so there will be a bonus of a few little trees growing round the big one next year!

Now that we are getting into Autumn and the leaves are starting to fall, it is time to think about ordering "Bare Root," fruit to plant out during the Dormant spell we call Winter. Looking through a Catalogue recently, my attention was caught on the soft fruit page, by some white "Blackberries!" I have already got Pink Blueberries, Yellow Raspberries and White Strawberries, so I am going to have to order a White Blackberry! I just can't resist it!

Also I am going to order and plant either a Peach, or an Apricot, in the space where the Pear tree died last year. A soon as the leaves have fallen off it, I intend to dig up a Mulberry tree from home that is in the wrong place, cut it down hard, and pot it for future cuttings in the same way that I did with a red Hazel. Also, I will be digging up and potting a mixture of small tree seedlings that have been growing on in one of my plots like I did last year with some Plums. The Plums "Suckered," though from bits of root that had been left in the ground last year and I had several bonus plants a few months after the young Trees had been removed. I have already dug up and potted a lovely Red leafed Sambucus, or Elderberry that should sucker as well. While potting it up I tried pruning the thicker roots and putting in some root cuttings. With any luck they too will produce shoots as if they were suckers. If it works it will be an easier method of getting new trees than trying to root Hardwood cuttings that can be difficult for some trees.

My Dwarf Mulberry tree eventually arrived recently after ordering it last Winter. It really does look like a "Dwarf," tree as it is only about 18 inches high and has a couple of embryo fruit on it already! This again will be planted out in a few weeks when things are really dormant. I shall be re-doing my Rhubarb and mixed Fruit bush bed to make room for it, but at the moment the Rhubarb hasn't quite died back, although the stems are starting to wilt at the time of writing this. The Rhubarb will also need a fresh helping of Manure put round it to feed it for next years growth and also suppresses weeds. The bed is going to have a new bit of path cut into it, when I get round to it, to give easier access to the fruit instead of walking on the bed. The two fruiting Myrtles and Acca that are in the bed will be removed from the root training pots that they have been in for a few years and planted directly into the ground as the pots are inhibiting their growth too much. I have already done this with several other small trees. Instead I am going to try and restrict their growth by simply pruning. The pots were a new idea at the time and will work for some things, but I think they restrict the growth too much for most trees and bushes.

I don't know what I did wrong, but my Akebia seeds never germinated, however, recently, I saw that one of the "On Line," Mail Order companies were advertising young plants. Needless to say, I ordered one and it promptly arrived in a small pot rather than "Bare Root." A few small, fruit bushes and other plants do sometimes get sent out like this.

My Cinamon Vine still hasn't developed big enough tubers to bother with yet, so obviously they will take several years outside to reach harvestable size and are probably better off grown inside a Greenhouse, or Polythene Tunnel, here in the UK. They were growing up a tripod of canes, but always put on a lot of luxuriant top growth that means they keep blowing over with the constant winds. Consequently, I am going to give them a stronger and more permanent support system for next year.

My Strawberry Sticks, (Good King Henry) didn't germinate either, but several self-set plants have popped up around my plots giving me some usable fruit sticks that are a bonus.

The Tomatilloes harvested well, but I am still not really sure what to do with them other than give them to my mate who makes a lot of chutneys. Their cousins, the Cape Gooseberries will hopefully harvest a bit later, if at all, but we really need a late start to Winter for a good harvest of them outside.

On the other hand the Medlar fruits can't be harvested until we do get some frosts. They need the frost to start off the rotting process in the fruits, which softens them making them edible. Without it they are like bullets and totally inedible. With the crazy un-seasonal weather that we get at times they have had a second flowering in September and into the beginning of October when they should only flower in the Spring. At the time of writing this we are having a spell of unseasonably mild nights, although the days aren't as warm as they might be, so who knows what sort of Winter we are going to get this year. All we can do is prepare for a cold spell and expect nothing.


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