Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
Still Growing The Unusual!
Every year I grow a few
unusual, or exotic vegetables and this year is no exception. A few days
ago a customer at work gave me an envelope that contained what she said
was a “Pea Bean.” Inside where about 30 small, maroon and white Beans,
the size of a Haricot bean, from a Heritage variety that grows like a
traditional climbing bean. Indeed you can eat the purple pods like
Runner Beans, or you can let the beans inside them develop after which
you can shell them and eat them like Broad Beans, or even dry them like
a Haricot Bean. The history of the beans can be traced back to the 16th
century and would have been lost in time were it not for the variety
being saved by the Heritage Society.
Another different vegetable that I grow most years on my Allotment is
Oxallis Tuberosa, or Oca as they are called “Down Under.” This little
Lemon flavoured, Radish like, vegetable is a member of the clover family
and deserves to be more popular, but is only available from specialist
growers. This edible version of clover has a swollen root, but other
members of the family grow in a similar way from tiny tuber like roots.
My vegetable variety of Clover has been started off inside my new
greenhouse and the plants are shooting well now, but I have also got a
tender, large, ornamental, red leafed type of Clover that makes a rather
unusual house plant. They even have an attractive little flower. They
are tough and will stand a little neglect, but do die back when winter
comes. The tubers multiply up readily and proved to be very popular at
work last year. I have also got a hardy type outside in my garden that
comes in several varieties with different coloured flowers. An Allotment
friend gave me yet another hardy Clover variety last year that has large
green leaves with what can only be described as a black Bullseye on its
Back on my Allotment, my Thornless Blackberry that I planted some time
ago, is finally getting established and is already producing some
suckers that I keep removing as rooted cuttings to be passed around to
friends! The White Blackberry that I bought mail order is very tiny
still and in a pot until it gets bigger before I will plant it out.
The Black Raspberry that I also got from a mail order company is
settling in as well, but it will be next year before I can begin to hope
for any fruit. I have noticed though, that it has got some big thorns on
it - more like a Blackberry has! Maybe it is a cross between a
Blackberry and a Raspberry.
Elsewhere on my plot, I did well with my Licorice root harvest this
year, although, I left harvesting a bit late and it was well into the
new year before I got round to digging it up. Interestingly, Liqorice
roots can be cut up to make root cuttings in the same way some
Herbaceous plants can. So, I was able to chop some good lengths of root
into many shorter pieces that rooted well in seed trays resulting in a
number of young plants that I will be able to pass on. At the moment
though, they are individually potted and in the warmth of my new
greenhouse to give them a bit of a boost, because, Liqorice plants shoot
quite late in the season otherwise.
At end of last month I started sowing more ordinary, but tender things
like; Outdoor Cucumbers, Courgettes, Squashes, Tomatoes etc. They should
all be ready for planting out at the end of this month, in the space
left by the Broad Beans, when they have finished, followed by the space
vacated by the Garlic and then the first of the Potatoes and Early
The Sea Kale harvest finished a bit early this year and I am now
harvesting Asparagus which is again a couple of weeks early. I am trying
to grow White Asparagus again by putting upturned Buckets over the
Crowns before they start shooting.
To finish on a different subject there was a fundraiser for the Young
Farmers, that they called a “Muck Chuck.” This was done by taking a
tractor and trailer load of Manure round our village and selling it by
the barrow to, firstly, Allotment holders, and then ordinary
householders. It was getting a bit late to put fresh muck on our plots
when it came round as it should have been done in the Autumn, but mature
manure that has been standing for 6 months is all right at any time
really. Fresh manure is all right though for some things such as Rhubarb
and Roses, but not much else. We do normally have a regular supplier of
well rotted Manure as well, that is available to plot holders all year
round and comes from one of the local stables.