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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.

Books By
Alan J Hartley




Growing Problems.

Most people have sown seeds of things like Parsnips, Carrots, Beetroot, etc directly into the ground and on a little walk around the allotments it is easy to see neat rows of seedlings coming up in most of the plots. On the other hand some people have bought young bean plants to transplant and some have sown them directly in situ. Last year I started all of mine off in trays and when they were transplanted they were set back so much that those sown later, in the soil, on other plots, did better than mine! This time I am not going to put full packets of everything in like last season, because I had far too much of each vegetable and in the end a lot went to waste. Now that people are getting to know each other a little better they are starting to pass part seed packets and spare plants to each other a little more. What better excuse to have a break from all that digging and go and have a chat with someone else and give them a few seeds or plants at the same time.

To make a little more space on my plots I have started giving away young Current and Gooseberry bushes as I had far too many that were grown from rooted cuttings. Gooseberries are very easy to root and will often root themselves. All you need to do is peg down some long, trailing stems and they will root in no time. Current bushes aren’t much harder, although they are best done through the winter when they are dormant.

I tried leaving a lot of the surplus Turnips, Carrots, Kale and Kohl Rabi in the ground over the winter. Not a lot of it rotted, except a few Carrots, but as soon as things started to warm up it all started to go to seed and the Turnips especially, went very woody. Because the Kohl Rabi survived the cold I decided to plant some young seedlings out very early to get an early start. In a few weeks I will sow another small batch to follow on and that way I should get an almost continuous crop all through the season. There are quite a few other quick growing vegetables that are best done like this, apart from the obvious salad crops like Lettuce.

The Garden Centres are full of all sorts of vegetables and have started reducing prices on plants, but with this crazy weather we are having it is still advisable to be careful what you plant out, even though we are into May. If in doubt put some fleece or cloches over the young plants.

All the garden outlets are full of cloches of all sizes and shapes including large “Cold Frame,” sized ones right up to mini greenhouses. At last my Sweet Potatoes have come so, being a bit delicate, I am going to try them in one of these giant cloches to give them an extra boost.

As plot holders have started to dig their plots this season, a lot of them are finding grubs in the soil. These may well be “Chafer,” grubs that over winter underground and munch on the roots of plants in the Spring. If found they should be squashed, because being an organic site there really isn’t any other way of dealing with them as no chemicals can be used.

Underneath all the taps on the site are large plastic tubs to catch the spillages and prevent the sloping paths from being washed away. However, I think as things warm up we may well get a problem with midges around the tubs. Again we can’t really use insecticides as such, but a tiny little bit of soap of almost any kind will break the surface tension and prevent the midges from hanging from the surface so they can’t breathe and the soap won’t harm any plants either. This is a good idea for water tubs at home as well.