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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Warming Up At Last.

May had weather that was definitely more typical of April with seemingly never ending Showers and cool days, until the last week of the Month when things picked up a bit with slightly warmer night-time temperatures and drier, sunnier days. The combination of the cool days and nights continued to hold the Figs and Grape Vines back though and they didnít really start to leaf up until the very end of May. Even the Potatoes didnít really shoot until late in May because of the cold. Hopefully, everything will catch up, although last year the Potato crop was down a little and my Grapes were worse then useless. It wonít be a great loss if my Potatoes donít do well though, as the tubers didnít cost me anything, because as usual, they were grown from my own saved tubers. The experts always say you shouldnít do this because of the risk of disease which is fair enough, but if you rotate your crops properly, any problems that you get in the soil should disappear before you grow in the same plot of soil again. Careful examination and monitoring of the Tubers, while they over winter, should also go some way to alleviating any potential problems.

With one of the wettest May months on record I was bemused to find that I had grown a new crop that I hadnít grown outside before and that was Mushrooms! The only problem is that I donít know if they are safe to eat. The Creamy coloured Mushrooms are growing from the Wood-Chip against my edging boards and the black Bracket Fungus (to give it a more proper name) is actually growing on one of the Logs edging my Boarders in my Garden at home. After being given a Mushroom kit for Christmas, that I have to confess I didnít do very well with, I had said I would try to grow some mushrooms outdoors. However, I didnít expect to do it so soon and without even planting them!

With the weather finally improving at the end of May, going into June, I felt that I could at last start to plant out my more tender vegetables including all of the different Beans, Courgettes, Cape Gooseberries and Yacon. However, I am still a bit reluctant to plant out the Squash, Outdoor Ridge Cucumbers and Outdoor Tomatoes that really do need the warmth to grow. With so much planting underway, the wet weather has been a bit of a bonus making things settle in a bit more easily and reducing the amount of watering that has to be done. However, as one of the TV gardeners pointed out, it may seem a bit surreal to be watering plants in the rain, but it is necessary immediately after planting to make sure that the roots are settled into the soil properly and to prevent air pockets.

At home, the warmer weather tempted me to take some more plants out of my Green House and stand them out in the sunshine. I am still holding back with my Banana for a few more days, but the Citrus plants including my Orange, Lemons and Kumquat have all been put out on my yard where they will get some real sunshine and natural rain on them which they really prefer. They do not like being inside at all and will positively curl up and die if you give them Tap-water instead of Rain-water to drink. The Lime is a bit more tender though, so I am still holding back with that. On the other hand the red leaved, and red flowered, Cannas have been re-potted and divided as they were shooting very nicely and have all gone out.
They are very expensive to buy and only seem to be on sale for a short time each year, probably because they grow so fast once they start into growth. From the one plant that I bought 2 years ago I actually potted up about 12 this time making the original £10 investment a good buy. 4 plants I kept and then one plant went to my Brother, one to a neighbour and one to a lady at work, but the rest went for sale at our fundraiser. A couple of weeks ago I bought another Cannas, but this time a green leaved and yellow flowered variety. It is still very small at the moment, but starting to grow fast, so I should soon be able to re-pot it into a large 12 inch pot where it should bulk up nicely, as the others do each year. The main thing to remember with Cannas is that they like lots of water and they like to be fed.
At the end of May I also swapped the red leaved Phormium, that over wintered in my front garden, for one of the Cannas. The other plants that I kept are in large pots and have been put on my 2 yards to add a bit of colour in the shadier spots as they donít mind a bit of shade.

In a few days, when I have a bit more confidence that the Weather has finally warmed up, I will plant my Tomatoes out in my Allotment. It used to be that Gardeners Delight was about the only variety suited to growing outdoors, but these days there are many others to choose from and even more like ďCherrola,Ē (Cherry Tomatoes) and ďSun Gold,Ē (Yellow) that will grow in a sheltered spot. In a decent Summer, I have found that both of these varieties do quite well, perhaps because smaller Tomatoes ripen that much more easily outside than larger ones.
After our recent Fundraiser I finally had the space in my Green-House to put 4 Tomato Plants in large tubs to grow on for indoors. The Pots were part filled with re-cycled compost before being topped up with fresh compost and a few pellets of processed Chicken Manure on top. Last year my Aubergines didnít do very well as the fruits developed to late to ripen in my unheated green house, but this time I have got a better suited variety called ďMoneymaker,Ē that is supposed to develop quicker and earlier.
As I sorted my Green-House out at the end of May, with my Tomatoes and everything, I decided it was finally time to take down, and store away, my Bubble Polythene Insulation, for the Summer. Oddly, as soon as it came down, the Green-House felt warmer with the Sun flooding through the Glass. The Polythene had, to some extent, been shading the Glass, so I guess I will have to paint on some white, Green-House shading, solution. Our weather never seems to get any less crazy!


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