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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit

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Alan J Hartley



Autumn Comes.

Some years I forget to sow my outdoor “Ridge,” Cucumbers, but this year I didn’t and I have to admit they are doing really well. I am picking several nice sized cucumbers every week so, there are plenty to go round. My neighbours are appreciative of my surplus and indeed had never seen “Prickly,” Cucumbers before. The only thing is, being prickly they need peeling before eating which some people do with Cucumbers anyway.

As the Autumn approaches not only does harvesting continue but, it becomes time to start tidying up in more earnest. With moving house last year and having things to do, including filling an empty garden, I only just kept things ticking over on my plot instead of really staying on top of things. Towards the end of August I attacked my bed that is full of mature fruit bushes pruning the Red Currants and Gooseberries a little more lightly than the Black Currants as they fruit on the old wood, whereas the Black Currants fruit more on the new wood. I did have to cut off a lot of low growing branches from all of them though because, with the weight of the fruit on them they touch the ground which encourages Slugs to have a feast! Also I thinned the middles out a bit because they hadn’t been done properly for a couple of years. Some of the branches of my fruit bushes had rooted down so, those were carefully dug up and quickly put into a bucket of water to keep them alive until they could be potted. It was the wrong time to dig up young bushes as they should be moved in the winter when they are dormant but, needs must and all that. Stripping the leaves from them will have helped reduce the stress on the cuttings and give them a better chance though. Even if they don’t all survive, a few will and any free plants are always welcome.
Later in September, when the leaves drop, it will be time to put in Black Currant and Gooseberry cuttings that will go in where my potatoes are still being removed.
The woodchip around my bushes had not been properly replaced for a couple of years either so, after a full load had been delivered to the allotments, that was all redone.
Another thing that I have been doing is pegging down Strawberry “Runners,” in order to get them to root. It is better to do this than cutting them off and trying to root them afterwards. After they have rooted you can cut them off and transplant them.

As the Potatoes have been removed I have been planting things like; late Dwarf beans, Beetroot, Leeks, Kohl Rabi, Chicory, Chard and Radish Mooli. These were all started of in pots and trays last month to give them a flying start. It is still very late for some of them, but a late Autumn may give me a small bonus crop. The Radish Mooli, like most “Root Crops,” doesn’t transplant well as they tend to fork if moved so, they was sown directly in the ground. Being more of a Winter crop, like Kale and Chicory, a late planting of these should be fine. Indeed Chard will get damaged by a hard Winter, but otherwise will survive the cold as well.

I dug up all of my Onions finding that one lot between the trees were worse than useless whereas the others between the Runner Beans had done well. I guess the Trees leafed up long before the beans and so shaded them out from the much needed sun.

With Autumn nearly upon us it is time to think about planting Spring flowering Bulbs and the Garden Centres are all putting on bewildering displays of them. There is a large range of bulbs that can be planted in the Autumn, but many people forget that in the Spring there comes a whole new range of bulbs to be planted with albeit a somewhat smaller selection. Things like Tulips, Daffodils, Crocuses, Irises, Bluebells, Snowdrops, etc. can go in now and for planting in the Spring Summer flowering bulbs that are more tender like, Cannas Lilies, Begonias, Freesias and Dahlias along with Anemones can be planted. I wanted to plant some additional bulbs in my front garden so bought some Crocuses and Bluebells and decided to dig up extra bulbs from my Allotment. The Camassias and Alliums were fine to move as they are dormant and are yet more bulbs that can be planted now, but the Crocosmias are still in leaf and flower. However, I wanted to get the planting done all at once so they came up as well. It is not normally recommended to move bulbs when in leaf, except for Snowdrops that the experts always say should be moved when “in the green.”
Next year my front garden should have bulbs flowering more or less continuously throughout the Summer. They will not be used for cutting though, whereas the flowers on my Allotment will. Indeed at the moment I am cutting the last of the Alstroemerias along with Chrysanthemums. It won’t be long though before even they are finished as Autumn settles in and Winter approaches.


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