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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.

Vines And Other Climbing Plants.

Fish Ponds

Books By
Alan J Hartley



Spring Is Not Far Away.

Having run out of fresh fruit from the Allotments – namely Apples for the last few weeks - I started rummaging though the freezer again to see if there was anything different that I had frozen to make fruit Crumbles out of and I found some frozen Medlar fruit pulp. It had been frozen in little Ramekins, after the ripe fruits had been skinned and de-pipped, last year. It didn’t take long to thaw out and it looked alright, so I mixed it in with some chopped up Orange and Banana to make a very tasty fruit salad instead. With the fruit pulp obviously freezing well like that I will have to find some more small containers to freeze a bigger quantity next year because I never really know what to do with the fruits when they all ripen at once.
Many people think that it they have a bit of an unusual, metallic after taste, so traditionally they are only used to make preserves, but they taste OK to me, especially if they are mixed in with other fruit in a fruit salad. The soft brown paste that they are looks very unappealing, but it does have quite a bit of sweetness and a pleasant texture in the mouth. The fruit is very much out of favour, but I like them freshly frosted and starting to rot from our tree in the late Autumn. Their skin is very thin and very soft. It is a bit like peeling a grape to get at their soft, mushy, pulp inside. They also have a Calyx and big pips that need carefully removing before you can eat them.

One snowy day in mid January I started seed sowing in propagators. Last year I put some of my seeds in too late and they were not really ready in time when other plot holders were already planting their young plants out that they had bought from the Garden Centres who were selling them early. In the Autumn I decided that next year I had got to plan ahead more. So, a week ago I found myself going through my seed tins. January is still a bit early for most things, but I found that the instructions on the packets of Parsley and “All Year Round Cauliflower,” said that January and February was the time to start sowing under glass in a cold propagator. Those seeds went in my greenhouse that is kept frost-free, but I also put in a selection of Perennials for Oak Tree in unheated propagators that are kept inside the house for added warmth. As January turns into February I will be sowing more and more seeds like this. Most of the vegetables, apart from things like Tomatoes and Courgettes, only need the boost that a frost free greenhouse will give them to get them to germinate early, but a lot of flower seeds especially, will say on the packet, that they need a higher temperature to germinate before cooling and hardening off the young plants in preparation for going outside.

Still with no flowers for the house from the Allotment and the Christmas Cacti finishing, I bought an Easter Cactus that I saw on sale. I shouldn’t have bought it as it was in bud and standing outside the shop on a cold day. However, I did and it doesn’t seem to have suffered, as neither the buds, nor the pad have dropped. It will brighten up a windowsill for a couple of weeks with its pinky/red flowers. Other things I have been doing inside, with the Allotment too cold and wet, include taking a few cuttings from my Aloe Vera plant. As with most Succulent/Cacti plants, the cut stems have to be left to dry for a few days before planting in fairly dryish compost. Don’t be tempted to water them properly before they have rooted though, or else they will rot. They are not really a Herb, but the plant is medicinal with its sticky, juicy sap that helps the healing of burns, grazes etc. Actually, many Aloes and Agaves are tougher than people think and can be planted outside for the Summer in bedding displays. Some varieties can even be left out in dry, sheltered spots especially if they are covered with some Horticultural Fleece over them for Winter. If you can, it is always a good idea though, to take cuttings from them as a precaution - just in case the parent plant doesn’t make it through the Winter.


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