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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



Early Crops.

Sea Kale is probably the first vegetable of the new season to start cropping and true to form mine cropped over 100 stalks as it has done in previous years, although it had a bad start and several plants were too damaged by slugs to crop at all. A wet start to the earliest part of the season created ideal conditions for slugs under the upturned buckets. Right at the beginning I should have put down organic slug pellets to deal with them before they became a nuisance, but I didn’t and the plants suffered because of it. My now mature plants, weren’t originally planted in beds, but I built raised beds round them last winter. Now, plants are coming up everywhere giving me lots of “freebies,” to pass round, but the emerging shoots are beginning to create a real problem by coming up in the middle of the paths between the beds and everywhere. There is nothing I can do other than keep digging them up. Sea Kale are obviously as bad as Raspberries for spreading underground, so it is a problem that I am just going to have to live with and warn others who are thinking of planting them. With all the “Crowns,” uncovered now, the plants are starting to throw up flower heads, which I am cutting off to promote leaf growth that will re-energise the plants for next season’s short harvest.

The unpredictable weather created a real problem with my Artichokes. After such a wet winter I suspect that the plants hadn’t put down as much root as they should have done and with a short, warm, dry spell, they wilted and some of the “Globes,” dried up and went brown. They obviously don’t like dry conditions, so I will have to mulch them better to help them retain more moisture and maybe even water them occasionally.
At the time of writing this in the beginning of June I am cutting “Globes,” steadily with the tally standing at around 2 dozen. The first few of the season, along with some Asparagus, were used to “Pay,” for a free load of wood chip that was kindly delivered to the allotments by a local tree surgeon. . A fair exchange of produce is what Allotments are all about! It was certainly good value from our point of view. Half a ton of woodchip for 4 Globe Artichokes and half a dozen Asparagus stalks! What a deal!
Several plot holders are growing Globe Artichokes this year and they proved popular at Oak Trees recent “Open Day,” so I have put in some more seed. The plants can be expensive to buy as they take a year or two to mature and it is not really the time to sow them now according to the packet, but they grow quickly and Oak Tree can over winter them the first year in one of their Poly Tunnels. 
As I said my Globe Artichokes started to harvest more, or less at the same time as my Asparagus crop that began in the middle of May. However, both seem very slow this year and the weather has turned a little cooler now, so what the plants will eventually yield I don’t know.

This year I was very slow on the uptake with my Welsh Onions and they started going to seed before I really thought about harvesting them. Cutting the flower heads off does help, but some are getting more than a bit tough to eat. The patch will soon be weeded and I will replant a few for next year though. 

One plant that seems to be doing better this year than last is my Rhubarb. It was a bit disappointing last season, but this season we had the right weather for it at just the right time. It is always said that it likes cooler weather and our weird spring with its cool nights seemed to suit it, even if we had some odd warm days.

I might leave my Liquorice plant another year before trying to harvest any of its roots. It is starting to shoot, but I massacred it when I decided to take some root cuttings to try and get going for Oak Tree. I had seen a packet of seed advertised that I bought, but they are said to be difficult to germinate wanting cool conditions, unlike most seeds. There weren’t many seeds in the packet either and with my greenhouse getting quite warm in the sun now, I decided the best place to germinate them was in the garage by a window. A few have come up, but I believe in the “Belt and Braces,” approach, hence I also put in the cuttings.

My attempts to over winter some Cape Gooseberry plants was a total failure this year, but fortunately I had put in some seed that is coming on nicely. On the other hand, the Yacon, that I left in the ground and under Fleece, survived well with me being able to harvest some roots in early May. Some were slightly damaged by slugs and some split, but I dug up a good couple of bucketfuls of tubers off 3 plants. The new purple skinned plants that I ordered came and have also gone out now with, the generally, warmer nights. They are supposed to be a bit hardier, so we will see, although I have had no trouble previously over wintering the growing points of the original variety in both my cold frame and greenhouse.

Now that we are clear of night frosts, things are starting to really put on some growth and the rate that my Turnips and Broad Beans are growing it won’t be long before I can start harvesting some more normal vegetables as well! 


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