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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



Waiting For The New Season.

When I had my allotment at Amerton, I bought 5 root wrapped fruit trees from one of those discount shops for just under £5 each. They were all common, but named varieties of Cooking Apple, Desert Apple, Pear, Plum and Cherry. As Amerton allotments were forced to close I dug the trees up and potted them. Unfortunately, they were not labelled properly and have lost their labels in the meantime. The Cherry was planted behind my greenhouse leaving the other 4 trees in pots behind the garage all summer. Recently I decided to plant a fruit tree on my Hixon allotment and wanted to plant the plum, because if it was planted next to a stone path it would benefit from the lime in the path that would help it to make the stones in the fruit, whereas apples and pears do not like limey, or alkali soil. The problem was, although the apples had fruited, only the cooking apple still had fruit on it to identify what it was, so it was a one in three chance that the fruit tree I planted on my allotment was what I wanted to plant. Only time will tell if the tree turns out to be the plum and suitable for the spot. My intention is to train the “Fruit Tree,” with its branches spreading outwards and not upwards, in the same way that I have done with reasonable success on a Plum, Apricot, Quince and Peach at home. This way it should not get too tall and cast too much shadow over the rest of my plot. Planting the tree in the Winter months will give its roots a chance to settle in a little before the new leaves make demands on them for food and water. This will in turn mean that the tree should not suffer a shock and have die back as the Summer comes. All of the fruit bushes that I intended to plant in my plot have also gone in and I have already planted some Winter vegetables such as Garlic, Broad Beans and Cabbages before the snow came. The Jerusalem Artichokes I am still harvesting, but some of the smaller ones are being re-planted as the old plants are being dug up.
Other vegetables being harvested are my early planting of Leeks that are short but fat and quite tasty. We are also cutting Kale and have decided that although the Kale variety we planted this last season produced smaller, thinner leaves, the central stalks weren’t so tough and didn’t need the fiddle of cutting them out before cooking, so it was a better variety. The Scorzonera roots have not forked this time as they were not transplanted from cells, but were sown directly into the ground. Care is needed when digging them out though as the roots seem to go down forever and are quite thin! Our Oca seem to be keeping well, but we are definitely giving far too many away to all the interested people that we tell about them! The Oca plants in the potato tubs in the greenhouse didn’t do any better than those grown outside and as such were really a waste of valuable space. The only real benefit was that they harvested much later and had started to produce bulbils on their stems that will yield plenty of “seed,” to give away this coming season.

Fortunately, I had done nearly all of the preparatory jobs on my allotment ready for the new season before the bad weather came and I had even dug out and manured my climbing and runner bean trenches with some horse manure I got locally. I fetched the horse manure in my car from a site nearby where there are many horses. When I first decide I wanted some horse manure we spotted the fields full of horses and kept watch on it to see when they put the bags out by the gate. For what seemed like months we saw what were obviously bags of manure standing up round the field gradually being filled. The bags stood quite tall for some time and mom said that, “Maybe they were training the horses to use them like an outside loo for horses!” It would certainly save the horsey people the trouble of scooping it up from all round the field!

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