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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Alan J Hartley



Out With The Old.

The end of February saw me clearing out the last of the winter vegetables. This included the last of the Jerusalem artichokes that were harvested and replanted straight away as they will start growing their tops soon and some tubers were already putting out roots. I was also still pulling the last of the Leeks throughout February, although as with a lot of over wintered vegetables, if they are left too long they have a strong urge to go to seed. The last of the earliest batch of Kale was ripped out and composted leaving the later batch that had been planted where the Potatoes came out. After thoroughly digging the strip where the Kale had been it was re-sown with Parsnip seed. Some of the over wintered, last of the Oca, had been damaged by slugs, but as the Ausies would say, “There were some real bewts!” Quite a few were the size of slim, “New Potatoes” and they were cooked in their skins the same way, but tasted completely different. When the Oca were removed I planted some Japanese Onions that should have gone in before the Winter, but had been heavily reduced in a “Clear out,” sale. A few had shrivelled in the packets, but hopefully enough will grow to make them worthwhile. They probably won’t get to full size and may end up being a bit on the small side when the tops die off.

The first real job of the new season was to dig out the Runner Bean trench and fill it with lots of partly rotted vegetation that will go on rotting and will hold additional moisture that the Runner Bean roots will appreciate, although they won’t go in for while. As we went through March I finished clearing last years Parsnip strip, because they were starting to shoot again and would have been no use if left in. The Parsnips were roughly cleaned and stored in dry compost in plastic crates in a cool garage until they were used in the kitchen. The empty strip of ground was planted up straight away, with the over Wintered Chrysanthemums, from my new Cold Frame, where they will stay for a couple of years, or more, until moved again to prevent the build up of disease in the soil. They had not been watered at all over the winter, but had drawn natural moisture from the ground and they kept very well in the Cold Frame with lots of new growth which wasn’t too tender. Next winter they will probably just be left in the ground where they have been planted and covered with “Fleece,” as the other row were. With the cold Frame being cleared I will probably start my Runner Beans off in pots inside it to give them a bit of a boost and keep them out of the way of Mice and Slugs. It was my intention to put my new Propagators into the Cold Frame and fill them with vegetable seeds in modular trays, but a few colder nights prompted me to start them off in my Greenhouse at home especially as the Allotments are on an exposed hillside. My Cold Frame at home is in a sheltered spot so some of the hardiest seeds did go into there as well. 

Part way through March I took the wraps off some of my more delicate plants such as the Feijoa and fruiting Myrtles. Another less than hardy fruit tree that I decided to plant was a small Olive. Previously it had been at home on the yard and taken into the Greenhouse each Winter, but now it had a little more size on it I thought that I would risk it and plant it out on my Allotment in one of the special root training pots. Hopefully, I can just wrap it with Horticultural Fleece in future Winters and it will survive without too much frost damage.

Another thing that I planted on my Allotment in March was my batch of Gladiola that were in large pots which I plunged into the ground a few inches down before being covered over with a layer of loose soil. Doing them like this means I can easily dig them up at the end of the season without disturbing the corms and their young pups at all. The pots are then simply left to dry and are stored under the staging in my Greenhouse until the next Spring.

As March went on and with April approaching I started preparing more of my plots ready for planting. 


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