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



Another New Plot!


Last year, like the previous, I decided that I was running out of space to grow things, so I put my name down for another plot and that came into my possession in the late Winter. It may sound greedy, but unlike most sites around the country, we do not have a long waiting list and those that ask for a plot soon get one. Also I should point out that unlike many allotment sites our plots are much smaller than the national recommended size. In fact the plots are broken down into “Quarters.” Consequently my 4 plots are actually only the size of one “Standard,” plot.

My new plot was generally in good shape, but it is always recommended to give a new plot a good deep digging all over before planting to break up the compacted soil and improve drainage. It is surprising how quickly the ground, in an untended plot, packs down and starts to get water lying on the surface, especially after the wet Winter that we have just had. The books will tell you to “Double Dig,” a new plot and that basically means that you end up digging the plot down two spade depths. I didn’t do this, but after last years struggle to tame the bit I took on then, I decided to rope a friend in to help me to dig it in exchange for some of the crops at the end of the season. My friend is a big Potato man so we have put about one third of the plot down to Potatoes. It is always said that Potatoes are good for breaking up the ground making them a good choice for new plots. I think that part of this idea comes from the fact that you have to fork over the soil very thoroughly when harvesting to get every last Potato up and so turn the soil into a fine tilth.

Breaking the plot up into thirds is a good idea because it makes the application of crop rotation much easier. Our site is supposed to be “Organic,” meaning that the use of many chemicals, such as pesticides and so on is forbidden. Crop Rotation really does help with the prevention of a build up of pest problems and done properly can help to keep the ground reasonably productive without the need for chemicals. The use of natural fertilisers is permitted and one thing that we are not short of on the site is Horse Muck as the site is surrounded by Pony Paddocks. When we started to dig the plot we took the opportunity to add liberal quantities of this free manure making sure that the section for the Potatoes didn’t have any dug in before planting. Instead we are going to dig out my compost heap later on in the season and add this to the ditches that will be created between the rows of potatoes from when they are earthed up. Then when the potatoes are harvested this material will get dug in properly. It will also help a little to prevent the potatoes from poking through the sides of the ridges and going green.

One section of the plot is going to be put down to Beans of one sort or another, not just Runners, but Climbing, Dwarf, Broad and Kidney Beans. Some Broad Beans have already gone in as the Aqua Dulce varieties can be planted throughout the Winter and the other beans will go in, in a few weeks, as it warms up in April. Where the Runners are going to go we dug a big trench and more or less filled it with partly rotted compost out of my heap that was getting too full. The partly rotted material will go on decomposing after adding a few inches of soil over the top of it and will provide much needed Humus and moisture retention that the roots of the beans will appreciate. Partly rotted, or green material will actually deplete the soil, to some extent, of Nitrogen, but as all of the Bean family “Fix Nitrogen,” in the soil anyway, this doesn’t matter.

The third part of my plot will mainly be planted with members of the Brassica family that includes Cabbages, Cauliflowers, Brussels Sprouts, Kale and even my favourite Kohl Rabbi. Brassicas in general need, or rather want, firm soil that isn’t too soft so this section won’t be deeply dug. We have planned it so that the piece earmarked for them is actually the most weed free part of the plot, so a quick forking over and the addition of some approved “Chicken Manure,” pellets and they can go in.

When one or two of the other people on the site saw me working on my new plot they asked me what I was going to grow knowing that I grow lots of weird and wonderful things. My reply was “Vegetables.” I wasn’t really being flippant because my other plots have so many “Different,” vegetables planted on them and already have fruit bushes and trees taking up most of the rest of their space, that I needed some space to grow ordinary things like Potatoes, Cabbages and Beans!

Click Here For Information