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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



Not So bad After All!

Not only were my “Early Potatoes,” late going in, but they were also slow coming up and when they did the tops got caught a little bit by the occasional cold nights that we had. However, they are looking good now with nice full rows of shoots unlike last year when I had gaps in my rows. They always say that can happen if you don’t buy quality Seed Potatoes each year, but I am a firm believer in trying to save a few of my own each season to plant the following Spring. Commercial Growers go to great lengths to keep their seed Potatoes over Winter, but I have found it simple enough in a cool Garage. You might lose a few with mould, but checking them regularly prevents any rot spreading throughout them all. After all Seed Potatoes aren’t cheap to buy these days!

To some extent I did the same with my Onions, at least with the Egyptian and Welsh Onions, and Chives. They’re all coming on OK now as well, including the Cooking Onions, which I admit were done from bought Sets and like everything else were slow to start into growth.

My Asparagus has started cropping quite well after a slow start, but will be finishing soon, although, with the Winter wet, I think I have lost a few plants again this year. If I ever plant another bed up I will have to put more drainage material in to prevent them from rotting. It will soon be time to stop pulling the Rhubarb as well, in order to give it a rest ready for next year.

The Brassicas that I planted a few weeks ago have almost completely been wiped out by a combination of hot days immediately after planting, and feeding by some voracious Pigeons that have chomped away the rest of the struggling plants. Most people Net their Brassicas, but I don’t because I have seen so many birds caught up in netting. However, my Celtuce, Strawberry Sticks and Chard seem to be doing well and I think that is in part due to the fact that they are between rows of trees and so out of sight a little and also in part because I remembered to water the holes when I planted them before putting the plants in. Much better than watering after planting! My Runner and French Beans have only just gone in, in the last few days. Again like everything else they were late getting planted, but they really don’t like the cold nights that we have had anyway. I remember one year on my Mother Garden Centre, some 30 odd years ago, we had a cold night in June and everybody was desperate for Bean Plants travelling miles for them with not a plant, or seed, to be had anywhere! On the other hand my early winter planting of Broad Beans weren’t hit by the weather through the winter and are doing all right with the first pods starting to fill out.
Some other things on the plot don’t seem to have been affected by the weather much include the Gooseberry bushes that are developing what looks to be a good crop of fruit.

The assorted Tree seeds that I sowed at the back end of last Autumn are starting to shoot naturally after their Winter in the Cold Frame, although, I was struggling at first to stop them from “Cooking,” under the fierce Sunlight that we have had on odd days. A piece of fine, coloured, plastic mesh over the glass now seems to be doing the trick and keeping the temperature down.

Elsewhere on my plots I am getting quite excited over my experiment with the Red Leafed Hazel that I cut down almost to the ground as it is shooting very well from the trunk at what amounts to below soil level. I will soon be able to top up the pot to start off the natural rooting process on the young shoots. The Mulberry bush looks as though it’s starting to shoot from low down as well so, I am keeping my fingers crossed! The special Dwarf Mulberry that I bought, on the other hand, is not doing at all well as the top seems to have died from some fungal infection. However, there is a little life left at the bottom of the stem, so, I am just hoping that it is not coming from below the graft. Most suckers, (shoots from below ground, or below grafts,) are no good, as they don’t come true. There are of course a few exceptions to this including the most obvious one that is Raspberries. My special, purple leafed Sambucus is another and it is looking much better since it was taken out of its root training pot and put into the ground. It is full of leaf and throwing up suckers that will give rise to free trees exactly like the parent!

It looks as though I am going to get some more free Fruit trees elsewhere thanks to the TV Gardening experts who are always going on about making your own Pea Sticks and Bean poles from prunings in your garden. I did this with some Hazel poles that I used as supports and it look as though two of them are starting to root! More free trees, but what cuttings they make at about 6 feet in height!


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