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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



The Start Of Year 9.

March is really the start of the New Year for us on our Allotments as the Annual Rent is paid every February and a few plots regularly change hands then as some people decide not to renew and others are persuaded to join us. This will be year 9 for Hixon Allotments with a few of the stalwarts, like myself, having been here from the outset, but with most of the Plot-holders having been here much less. The site still doesn’t seem to have that feeling of having been here long either, partly I suppose, because most allotments have sheds and greenhouses that are a little antiquated and run down and paths that have that aged look with a few “more mature” trees scattered about the sites. Yes we have a few plots that are a bit unkempt, but random buildings are discouraged, as are concrete, or crazy paved paths. Large trees are banned and plot holders are advised that the best way to control them is by the “Espalier method.” Our plots are simple rectangles, which don’t encourage artistic development. However, a lot of Plot Holders are putting in raised beds that can break up some of the uniformity of the site. Indeed my plots, although perhaps not always the tidiest, are said to be the most interesting with their hotch-potch of small raised beds and their dividing paths, along with a number of trained fruit trees that all help to break up the drabness of the regular shaped plots. Speaking of the woodchip paths, I have found that they do need re-surfacing with fresh Wood Chips at least once a year - partly because of mud being walked onto them, but mainly because of Mole activity. The Moles seem to love the paths where they find lots of insects, as do the Birds! The moles are a real nuisance some times, but I am all for encouraging Birds who will also feed off any pests on my vegetables!
I have just renewed a lot of the Wood-chip on many of my paths after weeding them and found that where the level was building up to high, with constant addition, all I had to do was scrape a layer off and dig the dirty chips into my beds as a soil enricher and conditioner.
Other maintenance jobs that I was still doing at the start of the month included putting in some new posts to support my Climbing fruit, because two light-weight posts broke in the last winds and needed to be replaced. I have also been checking and tying in my Fruit Trees ready for the new season and when they leaf up and doing a bit of last minute pruning. With the freakily hot weather we have been having the trees might leaf up early and if they do and we get some strong, late, March winds, it could cause some real damage. Trees are designed to endure the strongest winds in the Winter, when they have no leaves. Strong winds when trees are in leaf usually cause a lot of fallen branches that lead to disruption around the country. 

The mild weather in late February might have tempted a few like me to jump the gun and start planting too early and I certainly did by putting in my Potatoes at the end of February instead of leaving it until later in March, but they were tubers that I had saved in my Garage from last year and they were shooting badly, so it was a case of throw them away, or take a chance and plant them. At least they were all “Earlies,” apart from the Pink Fir Apple, so it would have been time to start planting them soon anyway, perhaps a bit later in the month.
However, I have started planting other things in earnest as well. My ordinary Onions have gone in with some in between the Runner Bean Canes, and I have also Re-planted my Egyptian and Welsh Onions. A few young Chard have gone in as they are rapidly becoming one of favourite vegetables with their Spinach like green leaves and unusual, edible stalks.
I don’t think my old Chrysanthemum Stools saved from last year should have gone in just yet either, but they have not really been in heat over winter as they were kept in my Cold Frame, so they won’t have tender, soft growth on them and should be all right now.

Of course I have sown my Parsnips and started off a lot more vegetables at home, in trays, in my new, unheated greenhouse, including several members of the Brassica Family and some roots such as Turnips, Beetroot and Kohl Rabi. Also Asparagus and Globe Artichokes have gone in to give me a few spare plants, as they are both so expensive to buy compared to a packet of seeds.
Some of the more unusual seeds that I have propagated along with the vegetables include two types of Eucalyptus for work – the popular Gunnii, and a lovely Lemon scented one, and a few herbs such as Chamomile and a “Perennial,” Parsley that is normally thought of as only being biennial. 
After germination, all of these seeds will be grown on for a while before planting out in a few weeks time. As March ends and April comes around the ground will really start to warm up with fewer cold nights and everything will start to really grow including the weeds!


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