Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
And Other Climbing Plants.
Alan J Hartley
May & The Fundraiser.
Parsnip Seeds can be a bit hit
and miss, so I am pleased to say that this years sowing seems to be
coming up very nicely. Most years I don’t water things very much and
usually only water things immediately after planting. But, as this April
proved to be the driest on record, I thought I ought to water my Parsnip
seeds as well as a few other things including my Strawberries and it
certainly seems to be paying off.
However, I didn’t water my first planting of Broad Beans that went in
way back, before the Winter set in, nor my second planting that went in
some weeks ago. Both batches are still growing very well, so it goes to
show that once most things are established they don’t need molly
coddling. Now we are going through May though, the weather seems to be
getting wetter and we appear to be having April Showers this month.
Perhaps things will balance out as often happens with nature. I don’t
normally make a second sowing of Broad Beans in late spring, so it will
be interesting to, see how they do with a lot more rain falling on them
now and, see how the two batches compare. The second planting are likely
to suffer from Black Fly though, for which, I will have to pinch out
It has also been the frostiest April for decades, but because the days
were colder than normal as well, most of the more delicate plants, like
the Kiwi and Grape Vines, along with the Fig trees, did not leaf up, so
they haven’t suffered. On the other hand my Broad Bean plants always
flagged badly after sharp night frosts, however, a few hours later, as
the sun came out, they invariably stood up again and looked fine without
Another patch that I watered regularly was that containing my cuttings.
The Fig Cuttings haven’t started leafing up yet and are therefore
unlikely to be rooted, but the Black Currant bush cuttings were
developing lots of new growth so I dug them up to find some good roots.
The Sea Kale “Slips,” or stem cuttings, had started to leaf up as well,
so they were potted, although they could have been left a bit longer as
they were only just about rooted. Hopefully, these will all settle down
a bit in time for the fundraiser sale later in the month.
The actual date set for the sale is quite late for the start of planting
some things such as Brassicas and root crops, but the date was decided
to coincide with the approximate opening of the Allotments 10 years ago
and to fit in with the next phase of the easing of Covid restrictions
that we all seem to have been living under for so long. Of course the
date is fine for planting more tender things like all of the different
beans including Runners, French, Soya, Kidney and Harricot except of
course Broad Beans that could have been planted much earlier as well.
Other tender things ideal for planting in late May include Squash,
outdoor Cucumbers, Courgettes, outdoor Tomatoes, Sweet Corn, Yacon, Oca,
I have grown a lot of these things for the sale as well as a lot of
fruit bushes of one sort or another. Undoubtedly, I have grown far too
much of everything, but it is planned that some of the excess will be
donated to another village fundraiser that the “Green and Clean Team,”
are having immediately after our sale. Then to make the most of the
remainder and not waste it, more will be donated to the Allotments in
the next village to ours for them to dispose of with their members. We
are hoping that they may make a small donation for the plants, but we
are really trying to build a bridge of friendship and cooperation with
They are about a mile away from us and have maybe twice as many plot
holders on a more traditional layout with buildings higgly-de-piggldy
and each plot individually fenced for rabbits. Whereas, our site is open
plan and fenced round the perimeter with rabbit fencing. We also have a
much stricter control on the erection of buildings. Their site has many
greenhouses of both glass and polythene whereas ours has none. We
haven’t actually banned them, but the site is on a hillside and very
exposed to the winds so it is very unlikely that any would stay intact.
Indeed, whenever we have gales there are usually several sheds blown
over. Plot-holders try everything to stop them going over including
bracing them to the perimeter fence and covering the floor inside with
heavy slabs to weigh their sheds down, but they have mixed success and
some keep blowing down.
Now on a different note entirely - a few years ago, the charity where I
do some voluntary work, installed a Willow Weaving out building that was
in fact a large shed made from boarding consisting of recycled plastic.
It was fully equipped with shelving, workbench and above all,
electricity for lighting and some heating. The chap who runs it managed
to get lengths of different coloured Willow as well as a few other types
of material to weave with. Lots of basket ware was made and there were
plans to make larger things like “Willow Hurdles,” that are basically
old fashioned fence panels. With this in mind we “Coppiced,” some small,
but established Willow trees and planted a lot more that are now
starting to develop quite nicely. So, it was with great interest that I
spotted a display of pots of various sizes containing woven, living,
willow, sculptures on sale at my local garden centre on a recent visit.
The picture doesn’t do the original display justice because most had
been sold before I could get back to the centre with my camera to take a
picture. I know Willow roots quite readily, but was still fascinated by
how they had woven the willow and got every shoot to root and produce a
little bundle of leaves on top of the sculptures. They really were very
attractive, which, I suppose, is why they sold so rapidly. It did make
me wonder if it was something that we could replicate at the Charity
though and as I am involved with growing plants there, I think it is
something I will be trying in the near future!