Field Allotments at Amerton
By Mrs FM
Herbs & Other
Issues And Going Green.
Alan J Hartley
Flowers on the Allotment.
When the Allotments were first set up it was decided to discourage plot holders from growing flowers and try to persuade people to grow just vegetables and fruit. It was said that the Allotments were not to be thought of as gardens, but large and productive vegetable patches. However, comments were made that without flowers to encourage the Bees, things like Runner Beans would not get pollinated and the beans wouldn’t set. The first year there were virtually no flowers anywhere on the site, apart from on the vegetables, but this, the second year, there have been flowers grown on many of the plots. Sweet Pea towers standing tall have been dotted about the site and several people have put on a show with some spectacular Dahlias. Little borders of Marrigolds have brightened up one or two plots as have Poppies and a wild flower mix on others. My own Chrysanthemums did very well providing many cut flowers for the house and one or two for some of my mothers elderly friends, so consequently, I am planning to put in more flowers for cutting next year.
When I had my plot on the other Allotment site at Amerton, we had a problem with Rabbits, so were looking for and experimenting with natural deterrents. One plant that we identified as fitting the bill nicely was Monarda Didyma, otherwise known as the herb Bergamot that is used in making drinks. As a result we bought some seeds which produced over a dozen nice sized plants ready for planting out this year. One of the TV gardeners talked about them saying what a wonderful display of flowers they produced, so after losing the intended site for them, we decided to plant them at the Hixon allotments. I don’t know how suitable the flowers will be for cutting, but I have planted 6 plants anyway that should make a nice little drift of flowers, next to where I will make my Chrysanthemum bed in the forthcoming season. Instead of tying the Chrysanthemums themselves up with canes for support though like last year, I am going to plant them in a broad row and run a roll of “Chicken Wire,” horizontally along the length fixed securely with posts at a height of about 18 inches and 3 feet. Hopefully, this will give the growing plants more natural support and allow the stems to space out better instead of being bunched and tied up against canes.
My Sweet Pea towers were also very successful this year and will be put up again in the new season, although I would like to find out why the stems on the flowers got shorter and shorter as the season progressed this year.
Normally we grow quite a few Gladiolas at home for cut flowers, but many corms seem to die over winter in the ground. It may be because they are supposed to be a little bit frost tender and don’t like winter wet either, although they have been in sheltered, dry spots in the garden, so this year, as they die down, I am digging the bulbs up and storing them dry and frost free, in the greenhouse. When I recently I emptied the fish-pond at home I saved the big mesh planting baskets to plant some of the Gladiola bulbs in. The idea is to plunge the baskets in the ground in the allotment next year, so that the plants will draw the moisture they need from the ground, will not need watering, but will be easy to fetch up when next Winter comes.
Next year, after seeing the great looking Dahlias on the other plots, I have also decided to try a few plants from tubers rather than growing the cheaper bedding type. By the time the new season comes round I may have added a few more flowers to the list to grow.