Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
A Year To
The biggest thing to affect the
gardening calendar this year of course is going to be our memories of
the Corona Virus and ensuing “Lock Down,” we all have to face. In some
ways it is having a good effect on our Allotments because people have
got more time on their hands to dedicate to working their plots, and
with a special mention by Michael Gove in one of his addresses, we can
carry on doing so, as long as we abide by the “Social Distancing and
hygiene rules. Of course on the downside everybody is having difficulty
in buying young plants and seeds because the garden centres have all had
to close and the online/mail order companies are being inundated with so
many orders they are struggling to cope.
There are of course those happy few plot-holders who normally grow their
own young plants each year and who had ordered their seeds back in the
Autumn all ready for the new season, so they have got their seeds OK.
Because, like many traditionalists, I have always grown my own seedlings
at home in my own greenhouses, my planting has gone on pretty much as
normal, but one unexpected problem I do have is how to sensibly dispose
of all of the surplus vegetable plants that I have grown that would
normally have been taken to work as they, like everyone else, have had
to shut down.
It doesn’t matter for things like the Asian Pear Tree seedlings that I
only have a few of which I grew from Pears bought in a supermarket. They
are doing well as are several other pots of tree seedlings such as
Quince that were also grown from fruit and a few other pots full of left
over seeds from old packets that have been grown on in the cold frame.
They will all be happy to go anywhere on my yard outside as they develop
and their true leaves grow, because as hardy trees, they are only
sensitive to frosts when they are seedlings.
Normally it is not advisable to grow young fruit trees from seed found
in their fruits as the resulting plants will not come true to type,
because their genetics are not stable. Indeed, most fruit trees are
clones that have been grown from cuttings taken from an original “Master
specimen,” This is especially true of the more popular fruits such as
Apples, Pears, Plums and Cherries. Furthermore, most fruit trees are
grafted to control their growth and sometimes improve disease
resistance. However, if you are not particularly bothered about
producing top flight fruit and a mongrel will do, then it is fun to grow
fruit trees from the seeds found in fruit and an apple tree pip will
still produce an apple tree that bears apples, albeit, maybe sour
A little sadly perhaps, this year has been particularly good for my
unusual vegetables which are doing very well and filling my greenhouse
up with tiny seedling growing everywhere. Even my Liquorice cuttings are
shooting well and starting to spring into growth.
I did have to put out an appeal to our allotments though, for small, 3 ˝
inch pots as I had nowhere near enough to pot everything up. Normally I
don’t have a problem because I simply get what I want from work, but
this year I have had to resort to using whatever came to hand. I have
even used a lot of 3 inch, brown, “Fibre pots,” some of which I was
given by another plot-holder and some of which I found buried in a box
of assorted bits and pieces buried in a pile of junk in my storage shed!
They had been there for years, because I have never liked using “Fibre,”
pots. “Fibre pots,” were developed many years ago as a means of growing
seedlings on, and transplanting them, without disturbing the roots. The
“Fibre pots,” simply bio-degrade in the soil and the plants roots will
happily grow through their sides without restriction so they do not have
to be tipped out of their pots and disturbed. They are still sold in
various guises, but many “Eco friendly,” growers simply use the “Free,”
cardboard inners from toilet rolls that work almost as well. They are
especially good for deep rooted plants that don’t like root disturbance
such as Sweet Peas.
Back to my little 10x6 Greenhouse at home that is overflowing. The trays
of Welsh Bunching and Egyptian Walking onions along with the large pots
of Liquorice plants have now spilled outside as they are now more, or
I will have to be more careful with most of my young plants though, as
many like Squash, Courgettes, Ridge Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Aubergines,
Celtuce, Yacon, Cucamelons, Tomatilloes, Chick Peas, Oca and Runner,
French and Dwarf as well as Soya Beans are very tender and, at the time
of writing this at the end of April, there is still a chance of the odd
cold night and will be until well into May. Indeed we gardeners must
remember the old adage of “Ne’er cast a clout ‘till May is out.”
On the Allotments, one thing we as a committee did got well organised
and timed right this year, was getting our friendly, local farmer, to
dig out and turn our big communal compost bins which has enabled
plot-holders to get on and use it on their plots as they needed it.
We would have liked to have had a load of woodchip delivered about now
as well, but I guess the Tree Surgeon has had to curtail his activities
because of the “Lockdown,” like everyone else, although I have seen some
self employed gardeners still working. Hopefully, it won’t be long
before we can all get back to some semblance of normality. However, I
think we will all be grateful this year for whatever vegetables that we
can grow ourselves on our Allotments.