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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.

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New Beginnings.

After moving in early March I expected things to warm up a little, but we kept on having cold spells lasting a few days at a time before Spring kept showing its colours again. It is nearly Easter at the time of writing this and we are still getting unusually cold weather. Not having a greenhouse to keep plants warm in on cold nights I resorted to putting my Orange, Lemon, Kumquat and Lime, along with a couple of Banana Plants and PawPaw, into my garage to protect them from night frosts. That was fine for the Bananas as they more, or less go dormant for the Winter, but the Citrus need quite good light at all times so it is no good keeping them in the dark, or even permanently in a house. They also need moisture as well unlike most over wintering plants, but they will stand it colder than most people think. Consequently, on the less cold days I put them outside in the sun for the daytime before bringing them in every night. This soon got to be a chore, so I bit the bullet and decided to take them to work as a donation for them to re-home. One of the girls at work took an instant shine to them and had two for her conservatory where it will be ideal conditions for them.
That left my over wintering Gladiola and Chrysanthemums to deal with. My glass Cold Frame was set up on my Allotment where it gave them a little protection for the end of Winter until the last days of March when I planted them in the ground. I have taken some cuttings off the old Chrysanthemum stools and put them in the Propagator at work to root. They should get away quickly now as this is the ideal time to take them. 

Hopefully, thinking that the cold snap just before Easter was the last of it, I finally put in my Early Potatoes that had been chitting in my shed. They really should have had more light to prevent the shoots from becoming too drawn out, but it has been so cold that the buds were barely showing any signs of bursting. Other people on the Allotments donít seem to have put in many rows of Potatoes either yet, although they should really have been in and growing this month. A lot of vegetable seedlings are on sale in the Garden Centres, but nobody on the Allotments seems to be in any hurry to plant anything this year, although most have started to work their plots.

Back at home emptying my garage of plants cleared the way to get wheelbarrows through from the back garden to the front. This meant that my plans to get the back garden into shape could start. The garden had a lot of conifers round a central square that was covered in landscape material and 6 inches of gravel where a lawn must have been. I have cut the first of the trees down and chipped it to make one of the paths between my new raised beds on my Allotment. The bigger branches had to go to the tip though as they wouldnít go through my little domestic shredder. When it is all cleared I am going to make lots of beds divided by long thin logs, (basically unused Pit Props) and plant it up with some Herbaceous plants from work along with a few that I brought with me and quite a few of the trees and bushes that have been stored on my Allotments. These include a couple of Figs, a Red Hazel, Golden Yew, Chinese Fan Palm, etc. The Deciduous fruit trees will basically replace the conifers and they will be under-planted with bulbs for a bit of colour. Then, the flowerbeds will go in the middle of the garden. The Gravel has gone to work to be used on the standing area where I have been putting my tree seedlings. I got a team from work to come in their small lorry to take the gravel away and bring the logs to edge my new beds with. The paths between the beds were going to be slabs, but as they will be on a slope I decided they would be safer made from Wood Chip which will fit in with the rustic look of the logs. The initial layer of chip will come from the Conifers that remain to be cut down. Homemade Chippings made from Conifers using a domestic shredder donít look so nice and arenít so woody as those made using a big Chipper like those that tree surgeons use because you canít chip all of the thicker branches. However, they still provide an excellent way of both disposing of, and actually putting to good use an otherwise waste product. Paths made from them do need resurfacing regularly as soil and dirt in general builds up on them. This can easily be done with any prunings that you periodically get from your trees. Hopefully, as the garden progresses and we go through April, the weather will warm up a bit and some of the Herbaceous plants that I intend to put in will have time to grow and manage to put on a bit of a show this Summer. My Allotment is starting to look a bit brighter already though as some of the early flowering bulbs that I planted last year are getting established. I will just have to be patient over the vegetables going in late due to the weather and the late start to the season.

 

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