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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.

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Trouble With Wind.



Our allotments are constructed on a South facing hillside that gives us beautiful views across the village, past the village church and out across the fields to the far distance, but there is a real snag that partially counteracts this wonderful aspect and that is that being on a hillside the site is windy. Down in the village the air can be barely disturbed, but when you get up on the allotments you find you need a coat to keep out the wind! Consequently there is often wind damage to various things on the site. Fleeces and plastic cloches need to be pegged down firmly and constantly checked with buckets and even empty plastic compost bins frequently getting blown around. However, this Winter we were all shocked to go up to the site one morning, after a particularly windy night, and see numerous wooden sheds blown over. Most of them would have been full of heavy things like metal garden tools and sacks of potatoes, or fertilizer, but it made no difference as about half of the sheds on the site had been toppled over. What shocked us even more was that in the adjoining pony paddock there was a very large wooden stable that had been bowled over and traveled some 20 or 30 yards across the field before ending up on its roof! Fortunately there seemed to be only minor damage to everything and the sheds were all soon standing up again in a neat row down the side of the site. Even the stables seemed to have suffered only minor damage as the farmer turned it over and set it up again for the ponies, although now it was some distance from where it had originally been placed!

The mild Winter brought no late surprise in the form of snows like it did last year, but it did keep throwing more wind at us and some of the sheds were bowled over again before the Spring really started. With also the wettest winter on record and virtually no frost everything has been brought on so early tempting us to go to the GC’s that are full of young plants of all sorts and tempting us to put them in too early. It is still very risky throughout April, but now that May is only around the corner I have jumped the gun a little bit and sown all my Beans: Runners, Climbing, Dwarf, Harricot and of course I had some Broad Beans already in. Most years the newly planted Runner beans get ripped to shreds by the seemingly incessant winds, so I have sown them directly in the ground as seed, but will sow a few extras in pots indoors to fill in missing plants later on. Hopefully, covering my options like this will maximise the number of plants and prevent my having half rows with big spaces in like last year.

For some years now I have been interested in the more exotic types of fruit and vegetables, so perhaps after the particularly mild Winter that we have just had it is a sign that Global Warming really is upon us and we will be able to grow more of these exotics. Maybe this will be the year for things like my Cape Gooseberries and Tomatilloes. Incidentally, it looks like the Cape Gooseberries over wintered very well in my greenhouse, so in a week or two I will have half a dozen mature plants to go in instead of planting seedlings at this time of year. It should mean that they flower, fruit and ripen earlier and more successfully!

With this idea of milder Winters in my head I started to get carried away and think off all the other things that I would like to grow on my plot in my mini Orchard such as an Olive tree, or Red Banana that are both a little bit hardy, but I realised it would be a silly as the site is just too exposed. However, a rooted cutting of my Mini Kiwi, (Actinidisa Issai) should be alright and I could train it on a frame amongst the other fruit trees. Even my American Paw Paw, (Asimina Triloba) seedling might be a candidate, although it is bit tender and doesn't like the wind, however it should survive if it is well wrapped up in fleece for the Winter. Another little fruit tree that will be O.K. is my Fig called “Ice Crystal,” that I grew from a cutting. Really I just want somewhere to grow the tree on other than at home. I am not expecting to get any fruit from it as I don’t know if the fruit is edible anyway being called an ornamental fruit tree.

All of these fruit trees and bushes keep filling up my plots, so perhaps later in the year I will have to consider putting my name down for another plot to give me somewhere to grow some vegetables next year! 




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