Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
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
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
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.