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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




Harvesting The Vegetables

This year gave us a fantastic crop of Tomatoes, the best ever, but unfortunately we were again infected with Blight from the Potatoes that was still around from previous years. However, this time most of the Tomatoes had chance to get to a decent size before they needed to be picked as the plants became infected. Just another couple of weeks and a lot more would have ripened. Never-the-less I picked 6 big bucketfuls of healthy green Tomatoes that were ideal for Green tomato Chutney. Yet again it was time to make a few friends!!! I have already been rewarded with a little assortment of jars of different types of Chutney in return! If I grow any Tomatoes next year I have decided to make a determined effort to grow an outdoor variety that is Blight resistant. Looking through the catalogues I have only found one suitable variety so far called “Ferline.” I am only going to put the Gardeners Delight and yellow Golden Sunrise that I usually grow inside the greenhouse.

With the idea of a “Work Day,” on the allotments a small group of us managed to build our new communal compost heap out of old pallets. It has also been lined with old compost bags and is now finished. Two compartments seem to have been co-opted for use as a store for chicken manure that a local chicken farm brings occasionally, but at least they keep it tidyish and there are two more compartments for waste. There has been a lot of talk about the ins and outs of composting tops from the Potatoes as they have all had Blight on them and one allotment holder has put up a notice to discourage others from contaminating the compost. My thoughts are that the Blight is all over the site anyway so it won’t really make any difference and anybody making raised beds will be grateful for what soil they can get. As long as neither Potatoes, nor Tomatoes are grown in it for a few years no harm will come from using it.

The tops from my Jerusalem Artichokes will have to be removed in a few weeks and composted. The stems look almost like tree trunks and need breaking up into short lengths before they can be composted properly, but being very fibrous will put some “Body,” into the compost as they will take longer to decompose to nothing in the ground. I have actually got to try and do the impossible and eradicate them from the spot where they have been grown for the last 3 years because I have some of the new, improved Fuseau variety. This new type is not lumpy and bumpy like the old and is therefore much easier to clean properly before cooking. The old Artichoke patch is next to my new fruit bush plantation, so I am going to transplant my Blueberries from home and put them in their place as they are doing no good where they are. Hopefully, the soil will prove more suitable for them on the allotment. At the same time as putting in 2 Blueberry bushes I am going to plant some of the new Pink Blueberry bushes that one or two mail order companies have been promoting this year and a Yellow Gooseberry as all the rest on my allotment are red.

A week or two ago I was forced to harvest my Yellow Beetroot that seem to have a tendency to bolt and go to seed. The crop was good, but would have been better if gathered a little earlier as they were starting to get woody from bolting. The Red cylindrical ones that I grew next to them, on the other hand, were superb with none of them bolting at all. Being cylindrical they all cooked through at the same time with none of them being undercooked and some well cooked. They were such good, healthy, long, beetroots that some were too long to fit in our biggest saucepan to cook them!! I am reminded of a distant relative who is long gone now, but was well known where he lived for his enormous vegetables. One year he proudly showed us his pickling Shallots that were as big as large Onions and we asked how his wife got them in the pickling jars. He replied, “That is not my problem – I just grow them!”

Several times I have spoken about making an old fashioned “Clamp,” to store my excess root vegetables in and have recently come across a couple of different methods for storing vegetables. Apparently some farmers these days, shear the tops off Carrots before covering them in straw and then leaving them in the ground to harvest later in the Winter. An idea that seems to work with my Beetroot is to store them in dry potting compost in some of those large plastic packing crates that are used everywhere these days. They do re-shoot a little, but are kept from drying out and going soft. The plastic crates seem to be good for storing Potatoes as well if they are well lined with old newspapers to keep the light out. The crates are strong, are perforated to let the air circulate and have the advantage of being able to stack them up to save on storage space. One of the better uses for plastic packaging!

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