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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Wellington Field Allotments Hixon


Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM


Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit


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Edible Plants.

Environmental Issues And Going Green.

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Alan J Hartley



The Plant Sale & Onwards.

This year we had our Annual Plant Sale a few days later than we have been having it because of Charles Coronation event. His event pretty much took up the whole Bank Holiday Weekend whereas ours only lasted 3 hours, BUT the weather wasn’t kind to him and the Sun shone on us ! ! ! It was undoubtedly our best Sale yet, although on first glance we only raised about the same sum of £350 as last year. However, I did sell quite a few Plants to friends and Family beforehand raising another 80 odd pounds that was added to the Total to take it to about £440 with a little bit more still to come, (as of writing this) from the Honesty Box on the Allotments which will take care of some of the leftovers. I will also say that we were much better organised this time than we have been some years which made it a more enjoyable occasion and made it less stressful. Having the Sale at the Villager Hall instead of actually on the Allotments meant that we had less Plot Holders attend and more general Gardeners though. This in turn was born out by the fact that we sold less of the Fruit and Vegetable plants and actually sold quite a number of Garden Plants that I had fortuitously decided to grow more of to add to the mix.

After the Sale was over the Fruit and Vegetables were taken up to the Allotments and the Garden Plants went back to my House for further distribution. A lady that sells Flowers brought me a quantity of large Plant Pots so she had a few of the leftover Plants in exchange and a selection of plants were collected for the Hixon Rail Crash Memorial Garden. Then a larger number were collected to be added to the Plants on Sale the following Weekend in another Village Fundraiser. After all of that there were not a lot of Plants left for me to sort out, but my Yard looked a real mess. There were Pots of half dead Plants and Weeds, with Compost spillages every where. However, with a bit of determination I soon got it tidy and a lot of the rubbish that was Swept up, was emptied into the bottom of my 3, large, Potato Bags along with most of the residual Compost. My Greenhouse had a real sort out as well which made a lot of room for me to sow and plant other things. My Cherry Tomato Plants were finally put into their 12 inch Pots with Canes and Strings up and as I say I planted the 3 Potato Bags with one last Tomato and two leftover Yacon Plants. I have decided to grow more Yacon Plants because, although I discovered long ago that the Tubers would keep for a couple of weeks in the Fridge, I have recently found out that they seem to keep almost indefinitely if simply cleaned a bit, dried and stored like Potatoes, in a cool, but frost free room.

According to the back of the Packets it was time to put in the Edamame Beans and Climbing Spinach – Malabar, that I was given as part of my last Christmas present, so those were the first things to go in to fill up my greenhouse. Next I decided to put in some Eucalyptus Seeds, Eucalyptus Gunnii and the Dwarf Eucalyptus Cinerea. It is my intention for a few to be grown on for future sales and some to go to Work, and in particular I put in some white flowered, Snow Gum seeds, Eucalyptus Pauciflora, to replace the one on my top yard that was taken by the cold spell last Winter. Normally Eucalyptus germinate fairly easily and grow quite quickly, but I imagine that they will want a bit of protection when next Winter comes. Last Autumn I put in a small selection of Tree Seeds including Black Elderberry, but it was only the tray full of Hawthorn seeds, that I had simply gathered from one of the Hedges around the Allotment, that germinated well. They are of course intended for work and will be added to the few bigger ones that I dug up and Potted a little while ago. Every year I get a few germinate naturally on my Allotment, amongst the Wood Chip, and if I am careful I can dig them out and pot them up. At the Charity where I work there are a lot of Hedges and from time to time gaps appear in the them that need replanting, so all of the little rescued Hawthorn Trees from my Allotment, come in very useful.
In my Garden is a lovely golden, Leycestaria Shrub that I also gathered some Berries of last Winter and I think those are coming up, but they are too small to pot yet.

Apart from Seed sowing I have been putting in more Cuttings because with everything in its peak growing time it is a good time to root most things. It is really only Hardwood Cuttings that don’t go in now as they go in over Winter. With the warmth that is in the sunshine and the soft fleshy growth that is on most plants, you do have to be careful that the Cuttings don’t wilt and dry out which can happen very quickly. When taking any cuttings they should immediately be put into a plastic bag as they are taken to try and stop them losing too much moisture and they need to have their leaves trimmed back, or even totally removed to again reduce transpiration and give them a better chance. Having said all that, if done properly, most cuttings will root fairly easily at this time of year. The Cuttings that have gone in will be for the Late Summer/Autumn Fundraiser/Sales Day. They include 2 different types of Hebe, one a plain green and white flowered one and the other a slightly tender, but lovely variegated one to replace the one that I lost last Winter; a large red Sedum; 2 different types of Euphorbia, one a ground cover rosette shaped one and the other a pretty, but large variegated one and a very pretty, purple variegated houseplant called a Tradescantia. I have had some hardwood Cuttings in all Winter including a red stemmed, with brightly variegated leaves – Cornus; some Weigela; some more Twisted Willow and some twisted Hazel that again have been in all winter. However, although the Cornus have started to root the others will probably take all Summer and it will be next Winter before I will be able to Pot them.

When I tidied up my Greenhouse, in about Mid May, I finally took down my Bubble Polythene that had been up all Winter. At times the Greenhouse was getting far too warm, but even so, nearly at the end of May, we still had one or two nights that were quite cold and I had to make sure that the door and Windows were all shut. I did finally plant out my more tender, Dwarf French Beans, Yacons, Courgettes, outdoor Cucumbers and Squash. As usual I filled the planting holes with water before planting them and then watered them in afterwards as well. I have found that filling the planting hole with water draws the Plants roots downwards instead of encouraging them to stay on the surface. This means that they will be able to cope with dry spells a lot better and won’t be at the mercy of the Weather if they don’t get watered regularly because of Holidays, or some other reason. Indeed after the wet March that we had, things have started drying up again and as we passed the middle of May, I was finding things were starting to get a bit dry at times. People on the Allotments have started reconnecting and repairing Guttering and Water Storage Tubs again. I am hoping that all of the Mulch of Shreddings/Woodchip that I have been liberally spreading everywhere will do some good. At the moment, where I have put a good layer down, the soil is still very moist underneath. I used to just put it down between my Fruit Trees and Bushes, but last Winter I started to put it down everywhere within reason.

Wet Winters can cause Asparagus Plants to rot and some years I lose one or two, but this year they seem to be fine and have been cropping well. The winter did affect my Globe Artichokes though, cutting them back several times as they started to shoot, but they are shooting well now. I am hopeful that they will crop, but think they may be a bit late. The Rhubarb seemed to start into growth a bit late as well, but I am doing all right with it as it growing quite quickly now. Indeed most things are growing well, especially the Weeds and it is almost a full time job trying to stay on top of them.

The only good thing about that is that my Compost Heap is filling up rapidly and the heat is maturing it nicely so it won’t be long before I can dig out some more for my Beds.
Elsewhere the small Willow Trees that I grew for last years Autumn sale and didn’t sell, have Coppiced well and are looking good. Instead of just a thin and uninteresting single stem they now have much more luxuriant growth which I am hoping will develop into a “Plume,” that I think People might find more appealing and may encourage them to buy one when we have our next Sale. The Young Figs and Red Hazels that I Potted are leafing up, so I am hopeful that they will also be ready when the time comes. Gradually, I am accumulating a number of Garden Plants that will be added to the Sale. By then the Composting Toilet and Storage Shed should be constructed and in use so the money from the Autumn Sale will go towards “finishing off,” tidying up Paths and making some Picnic Benches.

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