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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



More Interest In Vegetables?

My mother regularly posts her gardening articles to a friend of hers who has a son close to my age. A few days ago he phoned up to say thanks for the latest articles and told me that one of the large local supermarkets, in the nearby town of Stone, had re-arranged their store and put in a new fancy vegetable display. It’s like something out of “Star Trek,” were his words. Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but when we looked we were impressed. The new display system employs a fine misting system delivered through large, bright and shiny stainless steel pipes that drops the mist over the vegetables like dry ice pours mist over the stage at the theatre. This system means that they can keep the vegetables fresher for much longer than on a normal display without chilling, which in turn means that they can offer for sale strange and exotic vegetables that would otherwise be difficult to keep saleable. The range of vegetables included quite a few that I had never heard of before, but also included many that I have written about such as Mooli, Kohl Rabi, Globe Artichoke, Chicory, yellow Tomatoes, Purple Asparagus as well as a few of the more ordinary types of vegetables to bulk out the display. Admittedly, I would never have valued my Kohl Rabi at the price they were charging, but theirs were much bigger than the ones that came off my allotment and a lot more crisp rather than solid. Undoubtedly they had been grown in perfect conditions with lots of moisture to stop them from getting tough. The same was probably true of the other vegetables, again giving some justification for the prices, but I still think I will continue growing as much of my own as I can on my allotment. If the shop keeps the display it will mean though that we can try out all the strange vegetables before we actually grow them and see what they should taste like if I grow them properly!

On the subject of my strange vegetables not growing so well as theirs, half of my early planting of Kohl Rabi are going to seed as are my Chicory that I replanted after the Winter. Maybe it is due to the dry spell that we had, or maybe I was just too early planting them. I can only console myself with the fact that other plot holders seem to have plants going to seed that really shouldn’t be.

People keep saying that it’s a shame my Asparagus are going to seed, but I am letting the tops grow now to put energy back into the roots after a very short season of harvesting from the first few planted early last season. I do have one plant that doesn’t seem to be shooting though, so I bought a replacement packet that had been reduced to £1 with 2 roots in and actually potted 5 plants after a little careful dividing! Two out of 8 of my tiny grape vines didn’t come through the winter either, so they had to be replaced as well with a couple of spares that I had and at the same time I put in some posts ready to support them, but with no wires strung between them as yet.

My recently planted Oca, or New Zealand Yams are doing well, although everyone keeps pointing out the large “Clover” plants that are growing in my plot. I try to explain what they are, but nobody seems to believe me when I tell them that they are a type of Yam and not overgrown weeds!

Another strange vegetable that I really must try and only came across a few days, ago is the Cinamen Vine, or Dioscorea Batatas. It is supposed to be an invasive weed with a 3 foot edible tuber that grows straight down and takes 2 or 3 years to reach maturity. Apparently the top growth also produces small bulbils on the stems which will drop off and grow hence it being invasive and difficult to eradicate, but it still sounds fun to me, especially when the supplier points out that you may need your own JCB to dig them up!