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



Starting To Harvest

My first plot at Amerton is about a month advanced on the Hixon one and I am already starting to harvest a few leaves and stalks from my Angelica plants. After the first planting I had some plants left over and so have only just planted those at Hixon. Several people came up to me while planting and asked what they were, so I told them of our experiences with them. The week before I had pulled an armful of leaf stalks for the kitchen. Stripping the leaves away I washed and bagged them for the fridge and later use. The stalks were then chopped into shorter lengths and boiled. While cooking they smelled very strongly of “ Stinging Nettles” which were and still are, sometimes used for soups and the like. Looking them up on the Internet I found that Northern people are said to eat the stalks raw like Celery, but they are extremely bitter, even after cooking. Eventually I tried putting a thin layer of the cooked Angelica stalks over a dish of Ratatouille. The mixed tomatoey vegetables were overpowered by the almost Aniseed flavour, but the stalks were definitely more palatable like that. I think it is a case of less is more as regards how much Angelica to put in any dish. It is said that the leaves can be used as a Spinach type vegetable which I also tried doing. However, after cooking a large portion of leaves down and adding a little margarine, although they didn’t taste too bad, I did get a slight headache afterwards. Plants sold locally do actually carry a health warning for pregnant women, so I think as with many herbs it may be a case of eating them in moderation. Odd leaves can be added to pep up soups and salads, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Something else that is a little bit different are my Kohl Rabbi plants which are developing nicely. These were some of the first “Cell” grown plants that I put in at Hixon and although the books say they want water in dry spells, they weren’t watered and some are already tennis ball size. Everybody thought that I had got the name wrong as they hadn’t heard of them, but now I have made one or two “new friends” who want to try them as I have started pulling a few. When we first got some home we tried boiling a couple in their skins as they are a member of the “Cabbage” family and we also tried roasting some, but found that the 20 – 30 minutes cooking time wasn’t really enough because the end by the stalk was still a bit firm. A bit more cooking and they could have been mashed with butter, but they were still quite tasty with an odd, almost nutty flavour. My mother and I both agreed that the ones we had later, peeled, raw and then grated, (as you might a carrot) in a salad for tea was the best way to eat them though.

One of my darting friends has always been a keen aficionado as to the merits of Asparagus. Having managed to get 4 small, cheap, dried up, packeted roots to come to life, I decided it was time to plant them in my plot. Digging a deep trench I stood the pots in to get the depth right before tipping the plants out and filling around them with a mixture of rotted horse manure, bought potting compost and a little of the excavated, dusty soil. The 4 crowns then finished up some 4 or 5 inches below soil level as instructed. The trench was leveled off and the now tall feathery stems were caned and will be cut down later in the winter. All the books say that you shouldn’t cut any stems (spears) for a year or two after planting, but as two of the plants did seem to have more developed crowns than the others, who knows, maybe next year we might have a few fresh stems to cut for the table! My mother and I have never really eaten asparagus, so they will be something different as well.

The surplus Raspberries, that came from my now defunct Raspberry bed at home, have at last either been planted, or given away, including the half a dozen late fruiting Yellow Raspberries. As there weren’t many yellow raspberries, I had kept them in pots, so that I could plant them at any time. While planting them the other week, someone asked the inevitable question, “What do they taste like?” To be honest they are a bit tasteless and insipid. The actual berries don’t hold together so well either and tend to fall apart in your fingers if they are a bit too ripe, but they do look different in a fruit salad.