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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



Winter Won't Last Long!

At this time of year it is sometimes difficult to know what to do on the Allotment as the ground is often too wet to get on to dig, but by doing different jobs as the opportunity arises and with a little planning, you can usually keep busy. In very bad weather all you can really do is to clean and oil tools like Spades and Secateurs, but on better days you can turn, or dig out Compost Heaps and do other maintenance jobs. I was intending to dig mine out in April, or May but I got impatient and dug out one section at the beginning of January and the other at the end. The Compost comprised of a lot of Conifer shreddings from hedges at Home mixed in with a copious amount of general weeds. It really did need a lot longer for the Conifer to break down properly, but as the smaller bits wash into the soil over the rest of the winter, it will leave the coarser shreddings on the surface to act as a mulch. Some of it went on the front garden at home to put a little life back into the soil where the hedge had been taken out. Hedges really do rob the ground of any nutrients often turning the soil into impoverished dust. I had planted some daffodil Bulbs in the 2 long, narrow, beds and managed to put the compost on just before they started shooting. Most of the small compost bin was bagged up and carried out to the back garden to finish covering the rest of the beds. The contents of the bigger compost bin on my Allotment stayed on my allotment and went on to my raised beds to top them up. Still wanting more soil to top up the beds I dug out 2 trenches in one patch and used the soil dug out to cover the rough Compost on the beds and then filled the trenches with weeds and a couple of small bags of manure. The plan is to plant my Butternut Squash plants on the 2 heaps in the late Spring as in the traditional way of planting them. Squash Plants appreciate a rich, moisture retaining soil so they could do well. One of my friends, who has a plot on another site, did this last year and his plants did very well. Incidentally, I have just helped him to dig out his Compost heap to top up his beds as well.
Another job that I am in the process of doing is tidying up the paths between my plots. One Plot-Holder next to me is in the habit of spilling soil onto the adjoining path every time he does any digging. I didnít do the path last year and it has now become now a major job. He has been asked to install retaining boards on his plot as it is on a slope, but he wonít. Instead of being a flat surface, the path consists of mounds of packed soil and weeds that is all up and down. Ideal for someone to twist an ankle! As I dig it out the weeds will go into one of the trenches and the soil will go onto my raised beds as well.

There is still time to buy and plant Bare Root trees and bushes before, Winter ends and Spring comes and they start to leaf up. With this in mind, one miserable day, I was browsing the Internet and ordered a new Peach Tree for the yard at home. Hopefully, it will grow in a large tub as it said it was a Dwarf variety. Being a good time to uproot and replant things I also dug up and potted the Pomegranate bush that had been on my plot for a few years. It wasnít doing much on the Allotment as it is too cold up there with a seemingly constant cold wind that is no good for more delicate plants so it may do better in my more sheltered garden at home. Also at home I potted up into a big tub, a smallish Lonicera Nitidia that had been pot grown. The idea is to grow it on for my yard and shape it, training it into a sphere, or something.
Another cold day, whilst browsing the Internet, I came across some Root Parsley Seeds that looked interesting. Apparently, you donít need to cook the root, which can be eaten raw in salads with a taste that is a cross between Celery and Parsnip.
Indeed, as the month of February progresses and the end of winter comes into sight, a lot of seeds can be sown such as Parsnips and Parsley. If you have already bought your seeds for the coming season, it is a good idea to go through them to look at sowing times that will be on the packets. Some may need to be started off later on, whereas others can go in now, some under cover, but some such as Broad Beans can be sown straight outside. 
February is a bit early for Potatoes, but Shallots and Jerusalem Artichokes can also go in.
Before winter does finish, and life really returns to the allotments, Grape Vines and Fig Trees can be pruned towards the end of the month as can Autumn fruiting Raspberries.
Also at the end of the Month, you can start to wake up things like over wintered Fuchsias, Geraniums, Chrysanthemums and Dahlias by giving them an occasional drink, but not too much, or else they may rot. Then as February ends and March comes the weather will start to warm and growth will start to return everywhere.


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