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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



Starting The New Season.

My Liquorice root has been on order for a couple of weeks now from Brandy Carr Nurseries in Yorkshire, so hopefully it will arrive any day. In preparation for it I have made a small raised bed about 1 metre square that was dug out and lined with weed control membrane as I am given to believe that Liquorice can spread a little uncontrollably if allowed too. The raised bed will also mean that it will be free draining and its roots should bake a little better in the sun which it likes. Even though I haven’t actually got the plant yet it is causing some interest when I tell people about it and how it was used in olden days to wean people off cigarettes. Apparently, the chopped up roots were dried and cigarette sized pieces were sucked on to occupy the hands and mouth. Many people giving up cigarettes turn to sucking hardboiled sweets and the dried Liquorice root also has the sweetness that people crave. It was said that in days gone by it was very popular and sold everywhere and my mother remembers that even chemists like Boots used to sell it. 

My Sea Kale plants hold great promise for the future, as although this was only the first year of harvesting after growing them from seed, I actually managed to cut 45 stalks from the few plants that were big enough and had enough energy. I won’t be cutting anymore this year and have uncovered the “Crowns,” to allow them to green up and build up their strength and reserves for next years harvest. According to the books they shouldn’t harvest until April so I guess the mild weather has brought them on early, but they do come before the Asparagus that follows on.

The Rhubarb has already given a really good first cutting with lots of very thick, juicy stems that were completely different to last years late and poor harvest. If the weather keeps up we will be in for a bumper year and will be able to fill the freezer with it to keep for next Winter to make lots of warming “Rhubarb Crumbles.”

It is still to early for most Beans except Broad Beans that have already been planted out with the first cut of grass cuttings scattered between them. I normally do this with the Runner beans, but all Beans fix Nitrogen in the soil, so although the rotting grass cuttings rob the soil of Nitrogen it doesn’t really matter. The grass cuttings will not only help to keep the weeds down, but will help to keep the moisture in. It is still to early for Runners, but in preparation I am going to dig some trenches where the Beans will go and bury some of my Compost that has not rotted down too well yet. It is mostly made up of the chopped up stalks from last years Jerusalem Artichokes. I am hoping it will continue rotting down in the trenches if I give it a shallow covering of soil before planting the Beans on top of it. The rough compost should help retain the moisture that Beans need for good growth.

My 2 rows of Parsnip seeds have not germinated yet, but I think they have been waiting for the rain as we had a short dry spell immediately after sowing. The Parsnips are getting better on my allotment as the years are going by and there is less forking of their roots because the stones are gradually being removed from my plots. In fact all sorts of seed sowing is getting under way now. Most of mine go in to modules, or cellular trays that make transplanting easier later on. This method is all right for nearly all vegetables including some roots like Beetroot, but definitely not Carrots, or Parsnips.

All the trays of seeds are filling my greenhouse to overflowing already, so I am hoping we will go back to having mild, frost free nights and I will be able to take more tender stuff out of my greenhouse to make room for it all!

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