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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



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 leaves.

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 Japanese Onions.

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.


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