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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



A Year To Remember.

The biggest thing to affect the gardening calendar this year of course is going to be our memories of the Corona Virus and ensuing “Lock Down,” we all have to face. In some ways it is having a good effect on our Allotments because people have got more time on their hands to dedicate to working their plots, and with a special mention by Michael Gove in one of his addresses, we can carry on doing so, as long as we abide by the “Social Distancing and hygiene rules. Of course on the downside everybody is having difficulty in buying young plants and seeds because the garden centres have all had to close and the online/mail order companies are being inundated with so many orders they are struggling to cope.
There are of course those happy few plot-holders who normally grow their own young plants each year and who had ordered their seeds back in the Autumn all ready for the new season, so they have got their seeds OK. Because, like many traditionalists, I have always grown my own seedlings at home in my own greenhouses, my planting has gone on pretty much as normal, but one unexpected problem I do have is how to sensibly dispose of all of the surplus vegetable plants that I have grown that would normally have been taken to work as they, like everyone else, have had to shut down.
It doesn’t matter for things like the Asian Pear Tree seedlings that I only have a few of which I grew from Pears bought in a supermarket. They are doing well as are several other pots of tree seedlings such as Quince that were also grown from fruit and a few other pots full of left over seeds from old packets that have been grown on in the cold frame. They will all be happy to go anywhere on my yard outside as they develop and their true leaves grow, because as hardy trees, they are only sensitive to frosts when they are seedlings.
Normally it is not advisable to grow young fruit trees from seed found in their fruits as the resulting plants will not come true to type, because their genetics are not stable. Indeed, most fruit trees are clones that have been grown from cuttings taken from an original “Master specimen,” This is especially true of the more popular fruits such as Apples, Pears, Plums and Cherries. Furthermore, most fruit trees are grafted to control their growth and sometimes improve disease resistance. However, if you are not particularly bothered about producing top flight fruit and a mongrel will do, then it is fun to grow fruit trees from the seeds found in fruit and an apple tree pip will still produce an apple tree that bears apples, albeit, maybe sour unappealing fruit!

A little sadly perhaps, this year has been particularly good for my unusual vegetables which are doing very well and filling my greenhouse up with tiny seedling growing everywhere. Even my Liquorice cuttings are shooting well and starting to spring into growth.
I did have to put out an appeal to our allotments though, for small, 3 ˝ inch pots as I had nowhere near enough to pot everything up. Normally I don’t have a problem because I simply get what I want from work, but this year I have had to resort to using whatever came to hand. I have even used a lot of 3 inch, brown, “Fibre pots,” some of which I was given by another plot-holder and some of which I found buried in a box of assorted bits and pieces buried in a pile of junk in my storage shed! They had been there for years, because I have never liked using “Fibre,” pots. “Fibre pots,” were developed many years ago as a means of growing seedlings on, and transplanting them, without disturbing the roots. The “Fibre pots,” simply bio-degrade in the soil and the plants roots will happily grow through their sides without restriction so they do not have to be tipped out of their pots and disturbed. They are still sold in various guises, but many “Eco friendly,” growers simply use the “Free,” cardboard inners from toilet rolls that work almost as well. They are especially good for deep rooted plants that don’t like root disturbance such as Sweet Peas.

Back to my little 10x6 Greenhouse at home that is overflowing. The trays of Welsh Bunching and Egyptian Walking onions along with the large pots of Liquorice plants have now spilled outside as they are now more, or less, hardy.
I will have to be more careful with most of my young plants though, as many like Squash, Courgettes, Ridge Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Aubergines, Celtuce, Yacon, Cucamelons, Tomatilloes, Chick Peas, Oca and Runner, French and Dwarf as well as Soya Beans are very tender and, at the time of writing this at the end of April, there is still a chance of the odd cold night and will be until well into May. Indeed we gardeners must remember the old adage of “Ne’er cast a clout ‘till May is out.”

On the Allotments, one thing we as a committee did got well organised and timed right this year, was getting our friendly, local farmer, to dig out and turn our big communal compost bins which has enabled plot-holders to get on and use it on their plots as they needed it.
We would have liked to have had a load of woodchip delivered about now as well, but I guess the Tree Surgeon has had to curtail his activities because of the “Lockdown,” like everyone else, although I have seen some self employed gardeners still working. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we can all get back to some semblance of normality. However, I think we will all be grateful this year for whatever vegetables that we can grow ourselves on our Allotments.


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