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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



Still Things To Be Done.

We may be into November, but there are still plenty of things to be done on the Allotment including some planting. At about this time of year I always start off some Broad Bean plants. As with Sweet Peas, Garlic and Jerusalem Artichokes there is some debate as to whether they do better started before the Winter, or afterwards. My thoughts are that, although any snow we get does sometimes knock them about a bit and you can lose the odd plant, generally they go through the Winter pretty much untouched and put on a growth spurt in the Spring that makes them mature about a month ahead of Spring sown Beans. This in turn means that you will be picking Beans before it warms up enough for Black Fly to develop and they become a nuisance. Consequently, while everybody else is having problems with Fly, your Beans will be safely harvested and you will just be clearing up the remnants. The Beans need to be of the Aquadulce type and are probably better started off in pots before planting out, because of problems with Mice. The older, traditional variety of Jerusalem Artichokes is probably best put in now as well, but the newer improved types like Fuseau can go in, in the Spring, as they are quicker maturing. Generally, I plant some Garlic about now and this year I have put some Japanese Onions in as well, although, normally I don’t bother with them. Of course things like Spring Cabbage can still be put in if they have been started off and are well into growth, but it is now too late to sow the seed.

Again it is getting a bit late, but some places are still selling a few Spring Flowering Bulbs, often at a reduced price to clear them out. Recently I have put in some more including one that I found called Nectaroscordum, or “Sicilian Honey Garlic,” that also goes under the name of Allium Nectaroscordum. It is of course a member of the Onion Family like all Alliums and as its name suggests has Garlic scented leaves. However, it is not to be eaten! The Allium like flowers are more exotic than ordinary Alliums and are nectar rich which Bees love. Seed heads can be cut, dried and used in dried flower arranging in the same way as other Alliums. Another type of bulb I have planted is some Bluebells dug up from my garden at home. I have planted them under my fruit trees to add into the mixture of bulbs and to increase the diversity and flowering times. I think they are English ones and not the Spanish that the powers that be are trying to discourage us from growing. After a little time they will divide and also start to spread by scattering their seed which can become invasive, but I will keep them under control and stop them getting into the adjoining field as they are poisonous to cattle and horses.

I am doing well with cut flowers at the moment - cutting great armfuls of Alstoemeria of differing varieties that seem to flower at slightly different times. Cutting them hard also seems to encourage more flowers even later. The Kaffir Lilies I planted earlier in the season are very pretty and seem to multiply up well. I have been able to divide several clumps up and give lots away to everybody that has been admiring their beautiful, bright pink flowers. They are late flowering the same as my Chrysanthemums that have also done exceptionally well this year. Last years plants didn’t go through the Winter at all well, so I bought some fresh, young healthy plants from a specialist grower back in the Spring. They were dashed down a bit by the strong winds and rains that we had recently, but I managed to get up to the Allotments and cut them before they were spoilt and lost to the first of our seasonal frosts. I will try to keep the plants for next year, but I have decided to plant some “Hardy,” ones for next year. They are I think, a fairly new idea with more varieties now available than ever before, but like “Hardy,” Fuchsias, they will probably benefit from good Winter drainage and something like Wood Chippings over the “Stool,” for a little added protection.

Elsewhere, the strong winds blew the fruit off my Medlar tree before I could pick them. This will be one of the last fruits to crop, apart from, the odd Cape Gooseberry of which I have already been able to pick one, or two fruits, the big Strawberry Tree at home and my Goji Berry. 

The Weather is definitely changing now and I have been starting to prepare for winter as I have taken things like the Bananas, Orange, Lemon and Kumquat into my Greenhouse for Winter. I did of course line the Greenhouse with Bubble Polythene before taking the plants in so that they wouldn’t be in the way. The first frosts seem to have been a bit later coming this year, although the plants seem to think Winter is coming now and are starting to shut down with leaves everywhere and some Herbaceous plants starting to die back.


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