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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



Starting The New Season.

While it was still growing, and before Winter set in, I treated the Squitch on my Sea Kale bed with a Systemic Weed-killer. Hopefully, this action will have dealt with most of it, but completely getting rid of Squitch is never easy and takes perseverance. Now that we are into February it won’t be long until the new shoots start to come up from the Sea Kale Crowns, so I have covered them with upturned Buckets. This will not only keep the young shoots a bit warmer, but will “Force” and “Blanche” them making them suitable to harvest. I will keep inspecting them and at the first sign of growth I will scatter a few Slug Pellets round the plants as they are susceptible to damage. Again in the earlier part of Winter I dug up, and put in to root, a few offsets in an empty part of one of my beds. Looking the other day I was pleased to find that they already had some roots on, so I took them to work for potting. Unfortunately, they need really deep pots, as the thick underground root beneath the Crown is normally quite lengthy and goes straight down. Luckily, I had been given a number of pots that Rose bushes had been bought in and they are deep and narrow so were ideal.

Elsewhere on my plot I finally cut down my “Late,” “Autumn Raspberries.” It is a bit early, but its one of those jobs that can be done any time about now. I was a bit lazy though, as this time I didn’t shred them, or compost them. Then I set to and tidied up the rows where straying canes were growing out of place. This doesn’t seem to happen so much with the “Early” varieties, only the “Lates,” be they red, or yellow. Another difference seems to be that “Earlies” are generally “Thornless.” Of the canes that I dug up - some were roughly potted and given to another plot-holder. Another bit of pruning to do about now is to hard prune my grape vines. They can be cut right back to the main stems as they fruit directly form dormant buds on these and not on the younger shoots at all.

I don’t really know when Kiwi Vines should be pruned, but mine had been devastated by the last storm with one of the supporting posts snapped off, so, I did some work on this. It has not fruited yet, but, I am still hopeful. Some types of fruit trees, bushes and vines take several years to mature and do not give an instant harvest like most vegetables. Having said that one friend had a cutting from my Kiwi vine a few years ago and this year he has had dozens of smallish, but perfect fruits. I think mine is in more direct sun, whereas his is in more shade, which may be the answer.

It may seem like the middle of Winter with some of the weather that we had in late January, but Spring is not far away and it is time to start a few things into growth. I potted some Yacon buds, cut from Crowns that I had been harvesting, to start them off inside and I also potted a few Oca and Jerusalem Artichokes for work. I never eat all of the Artichokes, so I am going to reduce the quantity that I grow again next year. Last year I planted up half as many as previously, but they are such good croppers it was still too many.

Some seeds can go in now such as Onions and Shallots, although, it is getting a bit late and it is nearly time to put in the Sets. Red Cabbage and other varieties of Brassicas like the “All Year Round” green Cabbage can go in now, as well as other seeds that need a long growing season like Cape Gooseberry and Parsley, but these need to be in a heated greenhouse.

I also bought some Hardy Korean Chrysanthemum seeds that can go in under heat. These were developed in America in the 1930’s and are regaining a little of their popularity after being largely forgotten about during the Second World War. The flower stalks are generally quite short for Chrsanthemums, but more suitable for our climate outdoors. If I sow the seed indoors it will give early development and better flowering this year, although they can be sown outside later on in the season. The plants can then be left in situ the same as you would any Herbaceous Perennial. No more having to dig up the Stools to over Winter them! At least that is the plan, but as yet though, there is a limited range of varieties and colours available, so I will persevere with a few of the ordinary ones as well until I can get more types.
Next month, March, there will be a lot more seeds that can be sown and growth will be starting everywhere.


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