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Some More New Plants.

Unlike most people with their first allotment who usually plant potatoes, onions, carrots, beans, cauliflower, cabbages, etc, I thought that I would try some different vegetables. So, although I planted some carrots, one variety was “Purple Haze” and yes they do have purple skins, but are a bit of a let down as the first picking the other day showed me that underneath the skin they are just ordinary carrot colour. Some Kohl Rabbi, that is a member of the Cauliflower/Cabbage family, proved very successful though, both at home and on the allotments with other plot holders. Giving the odd “Stem?” away was a great way to have a chat and make friends, but now sadly, the whole batch of about 70 or 80 plants have been cut. Being a very quick growing crop I thought that I would re-plant and see if I could get some more to maturity before the Winter comes, so having sown some seeds a couple of weeks ago, I planted the young plugs out into the same patch with some more pelleted chicken manure scattered liberally on to the soil. At the same time as buying Kohl Rabbi seeds, I saw some “Chicory” seeds and thought that I would try those. Apparently you grow the plants as any other plant until the late Autumn, then you cut the plants down, dig them up and store them dry as you might a Dahlia Tuber until they are wanted. Then you plant the roots in something like a bucket and “Force” them as you might early Rhubarb, but in a frost-free place like a garage. As they shoot, the “Chicons” are blanched with another bucket over the top so they lose their bitterness, (like Celery) and then when big enough you cut them to use as a Winter lettuce replacement. They can even be boiled and served up in a sauce.

After pegging down some branches on my newly acquired Mulberry the other week, I thought that maybe I could do that with some other fruit trees. Most fruit trees are grafted, but a few are not, so I inspected my mothers big old Fig tree. The hard Winter had knocked it about very badly and forced it to “Break” from many dormant buds to give new growth to replace the damaged branches and this has resulted in lots of new shoots developing very low down on the main trunk. Normally, it would be best to cut these off, but this year I have pegged every one of these floppy new shoots down into the ground in the hopes that most of them will root and give me some new small fig trees next year. Looking at our other small trees it seems that my Medlar tree is not grafted, although sometimes they are, and likewise my true Quince (Cydonia) isn’t grafted either, so with both of those having some low branches I hopefully pegged those down as well. While pushing some soft stems of the Quince into the soil, I remembered that the Quince will throw up suckers as well, like most grafted fruit trees will. On looking for information about grafted trees I found that many Pear trees are actually grafted on to a Quince rootstock. If you are growing Pear trees you don’t want the Quince suckers, but obviously the suckers on my Quince will be a welcome bonus. Two years ago I removed and dug one up that is growing nicely now. As a crazy idea, I thought that I would try exposing some of the roots of the big Quince tree in an attempt to make it throw up suckers. I don’t know if it will work, but it as interesting idea and if it does It will be an interesting way of propagating new trees and means I may well have even more new and “Free” fruit trees to plant on my allotment next year.


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