Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
Alan J Hartley
The Allotments And The Site’s Rules.
When the allotments were first set up it was decided that plot holders shouldn’t grow flowers and the site would just be used for vegetables, however last year several people did put a few flowers of one sort or another in. It was pointed out that all fruiting plants have to have flowers before they can produce fruit. This is most obvious where some plants have one variety that has been bred for their flowers, such as the “Flowering Cherry,” and one for their fruit such as the “Morrello Cherry.” The same can be said for “Ornamental Pear Trees” and many others. This doesn’t just apply to fruit trees though, but also to a few vegetables. The “Globe Artichoke,” is one of the most obvious that springs to mind, as it is really just an edible thistle. Also a new “Runner Bean,” has been developed that has the best of both worlds as it is said to be ideal for the back of borders, with its stunning, long lasting flowers that eventually fade and produce a good crop of beans!
With these in mind I decided to plant some old Chrysanthemum stools in my plot that had been over wintering in my greenhouse, so that I could make a little space under the staging to start off some more vegetables such as Potatoes and Jerusalem Artichokes, Etc. There was, and still is a good risk of frost as it is still very early in the new season, but I took a chance and as yet they have been OK. However, the pot of Sweet Peas that I bought, have been individually potted so that I can hold them back in the greenhouse until the risk of frosts has diminished. If they had been left in one pot, I would have had to divide a tightly grown pot full when they are eventually planted out and this would really set them back as they do not like their roots disturbed. Where the Runner Beans and Sweet Peas are to be planted on the allotment, I dug out trenches and filled them with lots of very rough, home made compost, that was produced from the waste stalks of last years Tomatoes and Cape Gooseberries as well as other assorted “Rubbish.” I did this because both Beans and Sweet Peas need moisture retentive soil to perform well, especially if watering is going to be a little more infrequent that it might be.
When the allotments were first set up it was decided that were to be no hedges or fences on the site, however since then, the rule has been amended to allow, low, open, fencing to divide up plots. With this in mind I decided to plant a few young, edible, Bay Trees which can obviously have their leaves picked as they get a little bigger for use in the kitchen. So as not to fall foul of the “ No Hedges” ruling I planted 3 or 4 Bays in a row, which according to the Governments “High Hedges,” legislation, is not a long enough row to be classed as a hedge.
The whole site has been rabbit fenced at some cost to the parish council, but a few weeks ago there were signs of what looked like rabbit damage. Some plot holders blamed Badgers, foxes and dogs, but I assumed that the gate had been left open and a lone rabbit had got on to the site. However, on one visit, when no one else was up there, I saw and heard a movement to one side of the site in some growth by the fencing. Watching closely, a few seconds later I had the closest view of a “Hare,” that I had ever seen! It scurried, or rather “hared” across the open field next to the allotments and was gone in a couple of seconds. Some days later I saw it again so it has obviously decided that the allotments produce some tasty food! Either we will have to put up some much higher rabbit
fencing, or find a friendly farmer with a gun!