Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
Alan J Hartley
And Rain At Last.
After we had first been given access to the new plots in Hixon, I had a quick look around and saw 2 or 3 little piles of soil on one of the paths. I assumed at the time, that it was something that had dropped off the diggers during construction, however, I now realise that they were Mole Hills! There is no problem with Rabbits on this site as yet, unlike my other, because of the expensive Rabbit fencing, but Moles are a whole new challenge! To be fair, I think that all they will really do is be a nuisance making little mounds of soil in my tidy rows of young vegetables and occasionally burying a few plants. What Moles really want of course are worms. I have been scattering clean, wholesome, pelletted, chicken manure, but most plots have been liberally adding, rotted horse manure, which as we all know, is full of lots of live, fat, juicy, wriggly, worms! At the beginning of June we had a couple of really wet days with some torrential rain at times, that will have brought worms to the surface and hatched even more worm eggs in the manure. I wonder where my mole will go to for his next meals when he realises what’s in the neighbouring plots?
The welcome spell of wet weather has also meant that the seeds everybody else has been sowing are coming up nicely now all over the site, whereas, some of my early sown plug plants are still struggling to settle in. With that in mind, I have found that it is still not too late to sow some vegetable seeds straight in the soil including one purple carrot called “Purple Haze,” that might be interesting. I know that purple beans go green when they are cooked, but purple potatoes don’t and obviously Beetroots don’t. (Unless they bleed!) I have also got some late sowing Swede and quick cropping baby turnip seed.
The wet weather has also highlighted the problem of the whole site being on a slope and soil falling downhill onto the dividing paths. Before construction there was talk of installing retaining walls on each plot, but due to safety issues, time constraints and the prohibitive cost it wasn’t done. However, several plot holders have discovered that they need to take their own action. From the outset we were told that the site was not to become a builders yard, so I am trying to make little retaining walls in 2 or 3 places on my plot where the soil is the highest. Bricks and concrete blocks were the obvious choice, but of course Lime from the blocks will be a problem for many plants. My brother’s lady friend gave me some old pipe lengths that had been used for growing “Show Parsnips,” a week or two earlier. 7 of the pipes had already been planted as ”Strawberry Towers” at home, but I had some leftover. Properly spaced with some old, brown, clay tiles, placed upright between them, they make an unusual low wall that can be planted. Different varieties of Thymes, to be used in cooking, are ideal as they will root down all over them and bind all the bits together. Being raised, the Thymes will also be easy to cut, when the time comes as well.