Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.
Finally, I decided to take down the Runner Beans as it was getting just too late for them with virtually no new flowers opening and at the same time I picked the last of the Climbing Beans before dismantling them as well. However, with both lots of plants I cut off the tops leaving the roots in the ground, so that as they gradually decomposed the “Nitrogen Fixing Nodules would release their goodness into the soil for the next seasons crops. I had used soft garden twine to tie up the beans, so when they were cut down there was no need to sort out the bits of string before adding the waste to the compost heap because it would all rot down. Had I used nylon, every last little bit would have had to be sorted out and disposed of separately.
It may be just imagination, but there seems to be a lot more interest in growing vegetables, not only in the Summer, but also in the Autumn. Garden Centres have been displaying trays and trays of Autumn Planting Vegetables as well as “New Potatoes For Christmas.” With all the recent Potato Blight I have shied away from planting any Autumn Potatoes, although I did try them last year and had a few develop, but was not very impressed with the crop. Nor have I planted any Winter Cabbages etc other than the Ornamental Variety “Northern Lights,” that is used in “Winter Bedding Displays.” The problem with slugs and fly in particular on the Allotments should be less in the Winter months, but being limited on the use of sprays I am just not going to bother. What I have sown though, is some “Autumn Sowing,” Broad Beans” and Elephant Garlic along with some cloves of ordinary Garlic taken from this years harvest. Supposedly both can be planted in the Spring, but the extra growing time should help them develop into better bulbs.
Traditionally, Autumn was the time for “Real Gardeners,” to plant all of their bushes and trees and pretty much everything else except bedding, but these days everybody wants to have instant gardens by planting things that are in full flower when they buy them. That is OK with most smaller plants, such as the small bed of “Pine Berries,” or White Strawberries that I have just put in, but big trees and fruit bushes are best planted when they have dropped their leaves, even if they have been “Pot Grown.”
Several of the “Currant,” bushes that I rescued from my other allotment, before the site was closed down, had started to drop their leaves, so as space became available, I have recently planted them with a sprinkling of “Chicken Manure Pellets,” around them for good measure. There are two more larger Red Currant bushes to transplant from home, but my cloche containing the Oka on the allotment needs to be harvested before there will be extra space for them. As with both beds of Strawberries, I am going to spread “Bark Chips,” around the fruit bushes to help keep the moisture in next year, act as a weed suppressant and provide a better surface for walking on. Some bags of “Chips,” were given to me by a fellow gardener who was doing a lot of pruning at home and some were bought cheaply from a forester who makes his own for his retail plant nursery.
Most people plant Raspberries in the middle of the season, but again, recently, I decided it was time to plant the ones that I had stored all season, roughly planted in soil, in half turned down, old compost bags. Two rows of Red and one row of Yellow went into the allotment with a long strip of soil left empty between them. The idea is to use this strip for short term planting so that it will be dug regularly and that will enable me to keep the runners from the two colours of raspberries apart.
Another Autumn job that most people don’t think about is taking hardwood cuttings. Moving my Currant bushes resulted in a few branches getting broken, so when trimming them, it seemed like a good idea to take a few more cuttings at the same time. “Hard Wood,” cuttings are better if they are larger than normal “Softwood,” and they should be left
in the ground until the Spring when new leaves start to appear before they can be disturbed by which time most of them will, hopefully, have rooted. As well as Currants, I took some cuttings from my Goji and White and Yellow Buddleias that are all fairly easy to root. The resulting, small, rooted, plants will make nice swaps for the new season!