Go To Intro

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




Problems At the Start Of The Season.

We have had a lot of changes in the plot holders list again this Spring as people have given up their plots because of one reason or another. To us gardeners our plots are sacred, but to many they can understandably become a nuisance if their hearts are not really in them and they develop family, health, or work problems. This can result in neglected plots that then spoil it for the enthusiasts, however, with a little persuasion; they may give up their plots to others on the eternal waiting list. This has happened on our site and so it seems that all the plots are now actively being weeded and cultivated. One of the local stables has decided to deliver lots of bags of horse manure that he brings regularly on weekends and they soon disappear as people eagerly grab them up to dig in to their plots as they are getting them planted up. Perhaps, it would have been better dug in over the Winter as it can burn the roots of plants if it is too fresh and concentrated, but our site is very free draining and the soil quickly turns to dust in dry weather, so it must do some good.

I put one lot of Broad Beans in over the Winter and they looked very sad after the late snows that covered and flattened them, but most of them have recovered although I did re-sow a few gaps in the rows and the seed quickly germinated catching up with the others. From the looks of the pods I will soon be picking them.
This year I have decided to sow all my beans directly into the ground and not start any off in the greenhouse at home as last year the wind ripped the young plants to sheds straight after planting. My Runners, Climbers and Dwarf beans are all shooting nicely now with only one or two spaces. The late Spring meant that I wasn’t cutting the grass at home much until the last few weeks, but now I have started in earnest and can put it round the Beans to act as a mulch and keep the moisture in as well as suppressing most of the weed seeds.

The cold start to the season also meant that my Sweet Peas went in too early and they just sat there for weeks, not growing at all, but again they have suddenly burst into growth and are rapidly going skywards needing tying in every few days. Likewise the Chrysanthemums are romping away, stretching up through their “Chicken wire,” support framework. Some plants are already 3 feet tall!

Gooseberry Sawfly has been a real nuisance this year on my Gooseberry bushes as the ravenous little yellow and black caterpillars stripped the leaves on several bushes before I realised they were there. Last year I started thinking about companion planting with my onions and Carrots, so I looked up Gooseberries. It was suggested to try planting members of the Onion and Chive family underneath the bushes as the strong smell confuses the fly. Two of my bushes have large Thyme plants under them that are also strong smelling and they have not, as yet, been infected, so I am going to try under planting the others with sprigs of Thyme. Thyme roots fairly easily, so hopefully the cuttings will grow, spread and act as a natural deterrent to the Sawfly in the years to come.

Now that some people have been working their plots for a couple of years they are finding that the edges to the paths are breaking up with the constant weeding and the soil is also flowing downhill onto the paths as well blurring the edges and making it even more difficult to keep them looking tidy. Consequently, the Committee decided to encourage plot holder to edge their paths with board, bricks and the like to maintain the edges. With some of the bricks that I unearthed from my new lot and a lot more besides, I have started to edge the worst sides of my plots to retain the cascading soil. Many other plot holders are doing likewise, but with a variety of things including railway sleepers and telegraph poles! When the site was first set up there were concerns that is should not get to look like a builders yard, but I think that the different materials used to lay out the plots simply adds character to the site and it is certainly helping to make the site look a lot tidier and more like an allotments instead of an abandoned field!

Click Here For Information