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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Fashioned Fruit

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Alan J Hartley




Some Odd Thoughts.

Most of December was quite mild, but wet until just after Christmas when it suddenly turned much colder with regular frosty nights followed by cold and often grey, overcast days. Indeed, the beginning of January had quite a snowy little spell that gave everything a proper post card type, picturesque, wintry look with the bare trees white from the frosts and sprinkles of snow.
With the ground often frozen and covered the birds started looking for different sources of food and in my back garden the Blackbirds found the small, bright red Crab Apples on the young tree in front of my Kitchen window. I was fascinated by them and often spent some happy minutes watching their antics from the warmth of my house. I think Black Birds prefer berries normally, but the cold had driven them to eat the very ripe, but sour, tiny apples. The red apples did look very decorative and colourful like little jewels hanging on the branches with the snow round and about, but the picture was soon spoilt with the crab apples gradually disappearing as they were eaten.

The cold prevented me from doing very much on my Allotment so I was pleased when the group order of seeds came from the seed company that specialises in sales to Allotments. Every year the Allotments place a large order made up of lots of individual orders from many plot holders. Each Plot Holder’s seeds are individually packaged, but ordered by, and delivered to, the Allotment Treasurer, who deals with the bulk order. Generally speaking the seeds are cheaper than normal online suppliers and a lot cheaper than buying them from the likes of garden Centres. Quantities of seeds in packets do vary though, so it is often difficult to compare like with like. However, the company does offer a good selection of vegetables, but not so many flower seeds as you might find in other ranges. There again, they also offer a good range of culinary herbs to grow. Their range even includes a few of the less well known and more exotic varieties of Vegetables like Radish Mooli, Cape Gooseberries (A Fruit!) Good King Henry, Sea Kale, Cucamelon, Kohl Rabi and even Mushrooms this year. I often find something new to me that I think will be fun to try and if I had seen the Mushroom listings earlier I would have given them a try. Apparently, the Mushroom spores are delivered impregnated into wooden plugs that you have to insert into holes drilled in logs. The Spores will then grow and develop a crop of Mushrooms for some 3 to 5 years. From time to time we do get logs included in our delivery of Wood Chip to the Allotments, but the catalogue does specify that the logs should not be Pine and as we usually have Wood Chip made from Pine trees those are the logs we get.
In the middle of writing this piece I had a parcel arrive as the rest of my Christmas Present from a friend and she had sent me a Mushroom Kit ! ! ! The kit I actually received grows Oyster Mushrooms on Straw, which was included with the Kit, so I don’t even need to find the right logs for them ! ! ! It does need a little warmth unlike the other kit from the Allotment Seed Company, but at this time of year everything needs a little protection to make it grow anyway and I do have a Greenhouse as well as a light, but cool Utility Room that may be even better for them. The kit was one of the most thoughtful presents that I have ever had and came as a lovely surprise because my friend hadn’t told me it was coming.

One thing that I did spot in the catalogue and decide to try this coming year was American Land Cress. Some companies say that it is a Perennial and some say an Annual, but I guess I will find out. It may well be that it is a bit tender in our Winters and so will survive some years and not others. From the picture I found though, it looks to me more like a regular WEED than a cultivated vegetable! The Catalogue states that the cress is a “Pick and come again,” salad crop that likes a damp spot, so I have decided that a suitable place for it would be by my Rhubarb.

On some of the remaining days of Winter that are too miserable to get out on my Allotment, or in my garden, I think I will try browsing through a few of the many on-line seed catalogues that are easily accessible these days and see if there are any other unusual vegetables that I can try in the coming season.


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