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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



Onions and Vines.

Last month, February, I bought my Red and White Onion Sets, but decided it was still a bit early for them to go in, so now that we are into March, I will be putting those in shortly, although Shallots, which I don’t grow, should have been put in earlier. Onion seed should also be growing well by now with the little Onions developing nicely and ready to be transplanted out into their final growing positions. I will be planting some of my Onion Sets out in the open, in my plot, but others will go down the middle of my row of Runner Bean canes. I have done this for several years now and usually they do quite well with the Onions pretty much maturing before the Runner Beans shade them out. It makes use of quite a big strip of plot when you think about it. I tried the same trick last year, but planted some between my fruit trees as well. However, they didn’t do very well, because the leaves came on the trees quite early in the season and shaded out the onions before they could develop.
On the subject of Onions, my Egyptian and Welsh onions, along with my Chives, will soon be starting into growth, so they will be divided and re-replanted with a few of them potted up ready to give away to other plot-holders, or to be donated to local fund raising events.

With Spring rapidly approaching other things are starting into growth and my Sea Kale plants are some of the first. At the end of February I put upturned, black, buckets over the Sea Kale to Force and Blanche the stalks ready for harvesting. When harvested the stalks look like Celery stalks, but they actually taste like Asparagus when cooked. Globe Artichokes also have that same taste and will come next with the Asparagus itself coming much later in May. All 3 plants are of that rare type though, that are perennial vegetables, which means that after the initial planting they will be there to harvest year after year without replanting. Nearly all other vegetables have to be re-sown and planted each year. I suppose you could include Chives, Egyptian Onions and Welsh Bunching Onions in the same category though, as they will come again each year as well.

At the end of February I finally decided it was time to prune my outdoor Grapevines. This year I gave them a proper seeing to and cut them right back to the main stems instead of leaving short stems as I have always done previously not being confident that they would survive such harsh treatment. Now is the right time to cut back my other vines as well, so, the 2 Kiwi Vines (Jenny and mini fruited Issai,) will be next for the chop. I understand that they can be cut back to the main stems much the same as Grape Vines. I am ever hopeful that they will produce some of their delicious, tangy fruits, but as yet have not had any, although a friend, whom I gave a rooted cutting to that came from my vine, has had fruit for several years! There was a big vine at my mother’s house for a number of years and I have had a mature vine on my allotment for several years and neither of them has ever fruited! I also have a lovely scented Chocolate Vine called Akebia Quinata that should produce Sausage shaped fruits and 2 Magnolia Vines, or (Schissandra Chinensis vines) that produce small berries that are said to have all of the 5 flavours that we can taste. My Cinnamon vine, (Dioscorea Batatas) on the other hand is more like an herbaceous perennial and as such the cold weather every autumn cuts that down to the ground. It is really a root vegetable as well, rather than a fruit, because it is the large tuber that forms underground that you eat. The plant does produce little bulbils on its stems that in a warmer climate will drop to the ground and grow thus making it invasive. However, the UK is too cold for them to grow and they need to be taken into a greenhouse if you want to propagate the bulbils and over winter the subsequent young plants.
On the subject of propagating vines, it is time to sow Cucamelon seeds that will grow up 5 foot canes and produce “Mouse Melons,” which are crunchy, little, bite sized cucumber like melons. These will grow outside in a sunny spot and pretty much look after themselves from planting to harvest. They are smaller growing, but are a true vine like Runner Beans that will go in a good bit later.

Elsewhere on my plot, my Autumn sowing of Broad Beans didn’t germinate very well at all, so I have started off some replacement plants in modular trays to replace the failures and fill out the beds.
In the greenhouse it is time to sow Tomato plants that are to be grown in a greenhouse, but it is still too early for plants that will be grown outdoors. Peppers/Chillies and Aubergines can go in now as well, because they benefit from a longer growing season. They do need to be put somewhere warm to germinate though.
My propagators in the greenhouse are full at the moment as I have also been sowing some flowering plants for work, both annuals such as Bidens for baskets, and perennials like Delphiniums. As these seeds come up I will replace the trays with more containing vegetable seeds like Cabbage, Turnip, Beetroot and Cauliflower.
Another thing that I must do soon is to start “Chitting,” my early potatoes, because the “First Earlies,” can go in any time about now. This year I have decided not to put in so many Potatoes, but I will put in a fair few of the old variety called “Pink Fir Apple.” They are knobbly, almost misshapen potatoes that are more like a nutty salad potato.
As March comes and goes I will start to transplant more young plants out into the beds on my Allotment. It will still be too cold for some things like Runner Beans and Sweet Corn, but most things will go in.


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