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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



Lots of Wind and Wet.

Ever trying to grow more types of different and “interesting,” fruit at home and now vegetables in my allotment, I decided to buy one of those enormous cloches that have been on sale all winter. At one metre in height at the peak they can only be called a cloche, but at 2 metres long and a metre wide they are not what you would normally think of as a cloche, but more like a mini greenhouse for VERY short people! The idea was that such a cloche would be ideal to give a real boost to one of the more exotic and delicate vegetables that I was trying to grow. My Sweet Potato “Slips,” that had been ordered some weeks before hand arrived and I managed to get a good deal on a giant cloche. Erection was relatively simple, even for someone who had never mastered “Mechano,” as a child, and the ground was dug and watered underneath. Access was a little awkward through the large zipped, top and side that unzipped as one piece. Pleased with the cloche I carefully placed house bricks all round to hold the cover down firmly having seen similar, smaller ones blow away the previous year. The plants settled in and looked good. Then one day, after about only 2 weeks, in a bit of a hurry, I was a little careless with the zip and broke it. High winds were expected the next day, so in pouring rain, I bundled up the cover and took it home with the intention of replacing the 1 metre long zip with “Velcro,” tape. That hasn’t been done as a stupid fall sprained my fingers making it impossible for me to sew such a heavy material. Maybe it was not such a good buy after all, but I still think the idea was sound. Things like sweet Potatoes definitely would like the warmer, sheltered growing conditions that my giant cloche would have given them.

With the problems that my bean canes had on the windy site last year, I took a lot more care putting them up this time and I also put them up a few weeks before the beans were to be planted. This gave the trenches and the deeply dug loose soil around, more time to settle down and firm up a little to make the canes just that little bit more secure before the beans grew too much and put up too much resistance against them for the wind.
Using 6 foot canes for my Sweet Peas was perhaps a bit of “over kill,” but on our very windy site, it meant that the canes could go in deep. Everyone thought that the Sweet Peas wouldn’t grow at all in the persistent wind, but they are now flowering quite happily and full of scent. The old Chrysanthemums stools, saved from last year, seem to be standing up to the wind as well, but I am tying them in regularly to canes. Globe Artichokes are something else that is not recommended for a windy site, so I thought I was being silly putting some expensive plants in, but while talking to another plot holder, she proudly showed me her magnificent plants that had been put in last year and that were full of fantastic “Heads, or Globes”.

Not only have we had a lot of wind to contend with, but at times, a lot of wet as well. Bark chips seem to be keeping the slugs off my strawberries and stopping them from rotting on the ground, although to be honest the soil is so free draining I don’t really think that would be a problem anyway. The chips do help to stop the soil splashing onto them in the rain though.

I am blaming the heavy rains for causing the loss of almost all of my early sowing of Dwarf beans, but I may just have been too early for the cold weather at the time of sowing. My later sowing of Soya beans came up very quickly after only a few days from sowing and a re-sowing of the Dwarf beans came through quickly as well, so perhaps it isn’t always a case of the earlier the better, or the early bird catches the worm. Sometimes the tortoise wins the day - as long as he doesn’t come on my allotment because we have had just about every other animal!