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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




Rushing In Where Fools, etc!

According to the TV the Asparagus season has been terrible this year with firstly a dry start followed by too much wet. Crops are said to be disastrous, but my first batch of plants, that were put in my allotment last Spring, have yielded some 20 stalks already. A local farm shop, situated on a canal bank in a nearby village that grow their own, seem to have plenty of Asparagus for sale as well. In fact they seem to be doing a much better range of locally grown vegetables altogether, now that they have redeveloped the site. As well as the seasonal pick your own fruit, they always sold some vegetable plants in the past along with a few bedding plants, but now they have also opened a separate retail plant nursery shop on the site. To make even more of a visit, there are plans to build a new café later and the whole site backs on to a new purpose built marina behind the greenhouses.

But back to my allotment. I have Planted my Globe Artichokes that eventually arrived through the post and was disappointed to find that they were not crowns, but only seedlings which I could have grown myself for a fraction of the price. It pays to read the text in adverts properly!

I will definitely have to wait until next year before I can cut any “Globes.”

My Asparagus bed is in front of the strawberries and next to the Globe Artichokes and my perennial Welsh Onions, or Ciboule at the side of them. Hopefully all of this block of plants are going to be in for a few years at least, and with the need to walk between them, I decided to cover the whole area with bark chippings. Not only will they be a good surface to walk on, but they will suppress the weeds and help to keep the moisture in. Bags of chips can be very expensive, but I heard of some very cheap bags of chips being sold on Cannock Chase in a little old fashioned nursery where they make their own. At only £2 for a big bag they seemed a bargain, but when I got them back to the allotments I realised they were made from Pine. Bark chips will remove nitrogen from the soil anyway and pine is even worse because they are poisonous to most plants. That is why not much grows in an old pine forest. Having bought them and put them down I am going to take a chance, but it pays to be cautious of bargains!

Recently I had to abandon my allotment in the next village and dig up lots of fruit bushes and trees that were all potted and taken home as I didn’t have enough space on my plot at Hixon. You really shouldn’t uproot plants, especially large bushes and trees, when they have leafed up, so some have really suffered. The smaller currents don’t look too bad, but the fruit trees look awful with all of their leaves shrivelled up. Hopefully, the dormant buds will throw out new leaves later on when the roots have had chance to recover. In the meantime I am keeping them in a very shady and sheltered spot, so the sun doesn’t dry them and the wind doesn’t rock them in their pots.

As yet I haven’t decided to put any of the Rhubarb or Raspberries that were dug up, in at Hixon, but my brick built compost heap at home provided a simple solution for the Rhubarb. They like very rich soil full of manure, so it was an easy matter to level it all out and add a little spent potting compost from the winter planted tubs at home that were going to be emptied and replanted soon anyway. This made a tidy surface around the plants and a new home for half a dozen plants. For the red raspberries, I rolled down some old compost bags and “Potted,” a quantity of canes in the bottom of each as if I were roughly “Healing them in,” as you would bunches of canes in open ground. My prized yellow canes were potted up individually, though. When I had originally dug up my Raspberry bed at home a couple of years ago, I had kept the canes for a full season in old compost bags like this before replanting them, so they should be ok until I find a more permanent home for the all fruit.