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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

Gardening Tips
By Mrs FM

Unusual & Old
Fashioned Fruit

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Edible Plants.

Environmental Issues And Going Green.

Vines And Other Climbing Plants.

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Alan J Hartley



Fruit Time Again.

Surprisingly, we had some strong winds in the middle of June that broke some branches on my Russian Olive, or to give it its proper name - Eleagnus Angustifolia. It seems that the tree is a little bit brittle in the same way that the branches of the Sharon Fruit are. Normally it isn’t a problem in the winter, when we get most of the strong winds, as the branches are devoid of leaves then and they offer less resistance. High Summer time winds, when the leaves are on, are unusual, but much more destructive.
The Russian Olive doesn’t really look like a tree, but more like a big bush as it’s branches spread out wider than its height although it does have a straight, single, trunk. Interesting to look at, but I am not sure that I will ever get any fruit from it. I am hoping that it is “Self Fertile,” as I only have one and it was from seed some years ago so am unlikely to be able to get another!

Elsewhere on my Plot I recently dug out some more straying Raspberries to tidy up the rows. It is a constant job and if you don’t stay on top of them, they quickly form a giant, dense, thicket. Some of the Raspberries were “Late Yellow,” “Late Reds” and some “Thornless Earlies.” It was not a good time to move them what with the dry spell and also as they were in full growth. Even though I put them straight into a bucket of water they may not survive, but a few may and if they do it saves wasting all of them. I gave one bucket of ordinary red “Lates,” to another Plot Holder and took the other “Canes,” to work. As I started working on the Raspberries I could see that the “Early Reds,” were covered in small, grey, berries that were too small to bother with. However, a few days on, they were still grey, but big enough to pick and they were O.K. when washed. It was a nice experience for me, being able to pick Raspberries without having to worry about the prickles!

Other fruit that I have stated picking includes my Red Gooseberries. The 2 big bushes were loaded, but again the berries were very small and had orange patches on them while they were developing. Reading up on them in the books suggested that the problem was some sort of “Rust,” however, as the fruit ripened nearly all traces of it disappeared, and even the first few that had been picked with the blemishes on, were clear after a few days in the fridge.

The Black Currants don’t seem to have been affected at all by the dry spell and so far I have picked 2 big bowls of Black Currants from just one bush with plenty more left on and that’s before I start on the other bushes. The Red Currants are just about ripe as well, but usually the birds get them before I get round to picking them, as they really prefer them! Perhaps, I should leave the Black Currants until last in future and start picking the Red first even if they are ripe a few days later!

My Strawberries are a complete waste of time this year as the plants have all but disappeared shrivelling up to nothing! If somebody had sprayed weed-killer over them they wouldn’t look any deader! Maybe, we will get enough rain soon to resurrect them. I am loathe to water established plants on my plot especially as we are being told to conserve water.

Lets hope that my Fig trees will fare better, although, I was told by someone from a leading garden centre group that there is a new disease affecting Fig Trees. I don’t know if it affects all varieties, or is restricted to the common Brown Turkey which most people think of being the only variety. It has been well tried and tested and is still the best, but there are also; the Chelsea Fig, (from London as the name suggests,) the variegated Panachee and the ornamental Ice Crystal to name but a few. Sometimes there are others available such as Violette de Bordeaux.

For some time I have been storing trees on my Allotment while I moved house and now I am getting settled I have taken most of them home. Recently I planted a couple of them in very large tubs on the yard where they should stay for a few years. One is a Carica Candamarensis that is normally grown as an Annual in its native country, although, I have had if for 5 years, or more. Originally I grew it from seed and have managed to over winter it in a cold greenhouse ever since. The other “tree,” or perhaps I should say “Herb,” that I planted was a Banana that is loving the heat even though it wants lots of water. When I re-potted it I removed a couple of pups from it to grow on for friends. These are basically self-rooting offsets that if removed carefully will come away cleanly and can be potted up to quickly form new plants.
As time goes by I will put one, or two more trees in large pots on the yard at home that will make focal points to catch the eye as you look up the garden. They will take some watering, but the TV Gardeners are always telling us that all they really need is just one good soaking once a week - even in this weather. Far better to let plants dry out a bit between waterings so that they are forced to produce better root systems. It does them no good to keep trickling water on them all the time.


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