Go To Intro

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



Things Really Get Moving.

Sea Kale has a short cropping season and the harvest can vary considerably depending on several things, not least being the weather. Blanching it under Buckets helps to keep any late frosts off it to some extent, but a sharp, penetrating frost will still cause damage to the tips. Slugs are a real nuisance as well, because, they love the dark and often damp conditions under the buckets and will feast on the tender shoots. However, this year has been a bumper harvest with my picking great armfuls of lovely, tender, shoots that are just right for a quick steaming and some Butter sauce! Now that we are entering April, the plants are starting to throw up their flower spikes indicating that cropping has to finish. Consequently, I have uncovered the plants to let them develop their leaves and re-energise the plant ready for next season’s crop. However, as the flower spikes develop I will cut them off otherwise they will only drain energy from the roots. If Sea Kale are grown in a flower border you would leave them on to develop their white flowers that are a little reminiscent of a long and loose Hydrangea flower head.
While tending the crop I weeded out quite a number of “Thongs,” or “Crowns,” that were growing where they shouldn’t and gave them to one of my Allotment “Friends!” It really was the wrong time to take cuttings, as they should be done in the Winter months, but with a little luck they will be alright.

My Globe Artichokes will be the next to harvest and any day now I should be able to start cutting Globes. The plants got knocked back several times in our mixed up Winter, but put on lots of growth in the mild February/March that made up for it. I can see several heads starting to swell all ready. After that, sometime in May the Asparagus will follow on.
They are all very different looking crops and plants, but have similar tastes and are all expensive to buy in the shops making them worthwhile to grow. Of course I am already picking the first of the Rhubarb as well, but my freezer is still quite full of last years harvest, so a couple of friends will benefit from much of that as well!

I am going to put up my Runner bean canes any day now and am getting organised ready to start off my seed indoors and thereby avoid them being eaten by Mice. My canes will be tied up with Soft string so that when I take them down, the tangled mess can all go straight into the Compost heap without having to fish though it for bits of plastic string. I will have to be careful where I stand to put the canes up though, because I planted a lot of Onion sets in between where they are to go – hopefully – if I have got the spacing right! I have done this with some success in the past as the Onions will be nearly ready by the time the Bean plants are fully grown and before they shade them out.

April is the time to start sowing the seeds of other, more tender, plants in the greenhouse - things like Squash, Courgettes and Sweet Corn. Don’t be tempted to try and grow them outside just yet, as we could still get some cold nights throughout April, although, you will see plants on sale at most garden centres now.

Like most people I suppose, I didn’t know that you could buy Rhubarb Seeds, but I have put some in for work and should, as a result, get a large number seedlings, even though they will take a year, or two to develop fully. Normally you buy Rhubarb plants in pots which can be expensive, or you can buy them a bit more cheaply by buying them in their dormant state and in packets.

I shall not be putting in Tomato seed for a week, or two yet, although, I will want plants for outside planting later, but young plants can already be put into an unheated greenhouse to grow on now. I’ve not really decided how to use my new Greenhouse, other than for seed raising, but I won’t need insulation on it now until later on in the Autumn, If I had had some already on it, it would be time to take it down now anyway, due to the sunnier days and slightly milder nights starting.
One of the things I might do is to grow a Grape Vine inside it, in the traditional way, with it’s roots outside and the vine growing inside.
I may also try growing some Aubergines as I have never been successful in the past and another semi exotic that I would like to give another go is a Pepino, if I can get some seed. In the past I have obtained it from shop bought fruits, but recently I have seen it available on line.
Unheated Greenhouses enable you to successfully grow quite a wide range of plants that would be unlikely to do well in our climate without the added protection. Our Allotments are unsuitable for glass greenhouses, but another alternative is a Poly-Tunnel. They give a different set of growing conditions, but can be very useful for the right plants. Recently we had the opportunity to put up a big, communal, Poly-Tunnel on our Allotments that had been donated to the charity where I work, but the committee decided that our site is just too windy. It is a shame as it would have been a welcome addition. Instead the Committee have discussed the possibility of a constructing a set of large, brick built, communal, Cold Frames. It is a case of watch this space!


Click Here For Information