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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Alan J Hartley



Some Early Propagation.

I am now into my 8th season on the Allotments and indeed this is the 8th year since they were started, but I am still changing things around on my plots. The raised beds that I installed the other year were so successful, that I have decided to put 2 more in next to my climbers on an old plot that I have had for years. My Jerusalem Artichoke patch is going to be reduced to make way for them. People often say that once you have Jerusalem Artichokes you canít get rid of them, but this is not true Ė it just takes a bit of perseverance! I have found in the past that if you simply dig out what tubers you can and then continue to dig out the bits remaining as and when they shoot, they soon disappear. 
One of the new raised beds will be for flowers, partly because there are some Agapanthus already in the area that are doing well and they take a while to settle in if they are moved, and partly because I will need somewhere to establish my Korean Chrysanthemums that are just tiny seedlings in the propagator at work at the moment.
Speaking of propagation, there arenít many Sweet Chestnuts germinating from the nuts that I put in shortly after Christmas, but a few are coming up, however the Olive Tree seeds arenít doing anything at all. They are supposed to be the European Olive that is fairly hardy here in the UK, but we will see what happens. My Mountain PawPaw, or Ficus Carica fruits started to develop late in the Summer, but the cold took them before they could fully develop and ripen. Maybe next year I ought to take them into the Green House to ripen the fruits off - if it has any more. I did get some seed out of the 2 fruits, but they almost certainly werenít developed enough, however, I did put them in any way. Of course all of these seeds have been in the warmth of my house, whereas, the other tree seeds I sowed of Hazels, Rowans, etc, were put in the cold frame on my Allotment. They wonít start to shoot until the weather warms up a little, but hopefully that will be soon.

As I am in the middle of packing and moving house whilst writing this, I have no greenhouse until it all gets sorted out and I get another one at the new house. So, I am growing my vegetable seeds in propagators at work where there is more space than in the house on windowsills. The seedlings were germinating well, but the cold spell that started at the end of February stopped them growing. Those that had been taken out of the Propagators were covered with fleece as they were in a cold, unheated, greenhouse. This was alright for the Brassicas, Leeks and Sweet Peas, but when the cold spell was forecast I put some of the others, including Lettuce, back in the propagator for warmth. I know I jumped the gun with the Lettuce, but I was told to put some in for work. I took a chance with the Fennel and Chard and seem to have lost them, but the Camomile and Parsley are also OK Ė I guess because they are not annuals. It wonít be long though before most of the ordinary vegetables can go in. Normally, I would be thinking about putting in my Early Potatoes about now, but the cold snap held me back.

Other things that I have been doing include trimming my large Fig tree, at home, of the many, thin branches that were growing close to the ground, to tidy it up ready for the new people who will be moving in shortly. A lot of the shoots had aerial roots starting to develop in much the same way that roots grow from Ivy stems against a wall. I cut these stems off and potted about a dozen, or more bits. It is getting rather late in the winter to be taking Hard Wood cuttings, but they may take as they leaf up Ė especially as they have what amounts to the start of a root system already on them. The cuttings are from my Brown Turkey Fig which is the most reliable and hardiest variety for the UK, but there are others available these days. I have a Chelsea Fig planted in my Allotment and a Panachee and Ice Crystal in root training pots sunk into my plot. They seem to stand the cold, but havenít fruited as yet.

Hopefully, Spring is not far away now. Indeed, during the cold spell at the end of February, my Apricot tree that is planted on the yard, at home, under the kitchen window, started to flower with its very pretty pink flowers, but there was no hope of pollination as no bees were venturing out in the cold and snow!


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