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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Fashioned Fruit

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Vines And Other Climbing Plants.

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Alan J Hartley



The End Of The Harvest.

The end of October and the beginning of November have been, and will continue to be, a busy time for me on the Allotments. Firstly, I finally got round to picking the last of my Apples before they dropped to the ground as they had been doing for some time. Normally when they drop they get bruised and won’t store, but one of the benefits of surrounding the trees with Wood-Chip is that it cushions their fall and makes a soft landing for them. Obviously they still won’t store if they have Grubs in, or have any other damage, but it does mean that more are fit for storage. They can be stored in any sort of box, but you must make sure that the Apples don’t touch each other. You can buy special Apple storage boxes, but to be honest any airy box will do. One little tip worth trying is to go to your local Green Grocer and get some of the Dimpled Cardboard sheets that their fruit is packed with. They will fit a large plastic crate and can be easily cut if they don’t. The Cardboard is only rubbish to them and they are ideal for stacking and storage.
On the subject of Apples – it is still not too late to put Grease Bands on your trees that will help prevent grubs in your Apples next Season.
Other things that are easy to store are Squashes and Pumpkins. Both will keep for many weeks if they have been properly cut and ripened. We tend not to eat many of them unlike in America where Pumpkin Pie is a firm favourite. We just use them for Halloween. However, I did come across an interesting idea for a very large Pumpkin that someone near York had come up with. He had suitably hollowed it out and carved it to make a small one-man boat a bit along the lines of a round Canoe, or Coracle. The enterprising chap could be seen on the TV News paddling down the River Ouse near York!

Other seasonal jobs that I have been doing include planting Brood Bean Seeds that I sowed directly into the soil this year. They were of course the Aquadulce type that will normally stand the Winter quite well with only the odd loss. I usually start them off in pots as Mice can be a real problem until they germinate, but we have a lot of Cats constantly exploring the Allotments these days, so I am hoping the Beans will not get eaten! I have also just put in some Garlic as well, but I didn’t put in any Spring Cabbage, or Japanese Onions that can go in now.
If you do this type of continuous replanting throughout the year it does mean that you will not just get one seasonal glut of vegetables, but have a more constant supply of things that have different Seasons for their harvesting. For instance I have got Leeks, Parsnips, Brussels Sprouts, Chard, Kale and Jerusalem Artichokes that were planted much earlier and that I will be harvesting throughout the coming Winter. As early Spring starts and things begin to green up again I will move on to harvesting Sea Kale, Asparagus and Welsh Onions followed by Globe Artichokes and then will be on to quick growing, Spring sown crops such as Turnips.
Salad crops for the Winter are a bit thin on the ground other than Chicory, unless you give them a lot of protection, but I also have some Radish Mooli coming on nicely that I did very late from seed. Supposedly they will stand up to some cold so we will see.

It is time to put in Hard Wood Cuttings, so I have been pegging down a few of the lower branches on my Fig trees in an attempt to get them to root naturally. If you scratch the buried bit of stem with your Secateurs this will help them to root. Gooseberries and Black Currants will root readily by this method as well.
Elsewhere I am shortly going to cut down and dig up my Chrysanthemums after which they will go into my Cold Frame for the Winter. It is not so much protection from the cold that they want, (although they want some shelter from the hardest frosts) but more protection from the Winter wet. If you live in a town and have well draining soil you may be able to leave them in the ground all winter. On the other hand I am going to leave my Korean Hybrids where they are as they are supposed to be that bit hardier.
In preparing for the coming Winter I will also dig up my root of Yacon and Winter Forcing Chicory which will both go in my garage for the duration. I will eat the fat, tuberous like roots of the Yacon and then it will have its crown divided and potted, but the Chicory will be roughly potted and put into the dark and warm to “Force,” it to produce its lovely “Chicons.”
Other than picking my Medlar Fruits, that really will be the last of the Harvest, we are moving towards Winter and the next batch of jobs will be all the clearing up of dead foliage and battening down the hatches for the coming storms.


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