Go To Intro

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



Late Frosts and Tender Plants.

As I warned at the Beginning of May we could get, and did have, one or two late frosts in the middle of the Month. Some plot holders lost all sorts of things like Runner Beans, Sweet Corn and the tops on their Potatoes. That is why the experts always say that you should “Earth them up,” as soon as the shoots start to break the surface and keep on doing it as long as possible. Not only does it protect the delicate tops of the Potato plants, it also stops “Green,” potatoes from forming and encourages more roots to develop higher up the stems thereby giving more Potatoes. The act of “Earthing them up,” will also help to keep them weed free.
The Frosts were sharp enough to take all of the leaves on my Kiwi Vines, Grape Vines and Fig trees, but as with the potatoes, it wasn’t many days before they started to shoot again. Sadly the same cannot be said for Sweet Corn and Runner Bean plants though!

After the Frosts I “Jumped the Gun,” a bit and towards the end of May started planting out all sorts of things that perhaps should have waited until the beginning of June. Things like Dwarf and Runner Beans, Cape Gooseberries, Squash, Courgettes and Tomatoes all went in.
At the end of May, at home, I also put out my tender Banana and very tender Lime as well as my other Citrus and one of my tender Palms. They are all around the house so do get a bit of shelter, but even so you wouldn’t normally put things like these out until June at the earliest.

On my Allotment I have been trying to keep on top of the weeds that have started germinating everywhere. To be honest it has been easier this year than most, because with the exceptionally dry weather it is a simple matter to just Hoe the young weed seedlings off. The bigger weeds have gone on my Compost heap that has been “Cooking,” nicely in the sunshine and unusually for me, I have been turning it a bit more frequently. This does speed up the “Composting,” action as does wetting it with a can of water occasionally when it gets too dry. I have been doing this, because I want to dig out the Compost and use it as soon as possible at home in the new raised beds that I am creating where my front lawn was. I have been threatening to dig up the Lawn in my front garden for some time as I have never liked cutting grass, not since I was a child, and have just been looking for an excuse to remove it. So, when the lawn mower broke a few weeks ago along with the coincidence of the “Lock Down,” I decided it was time for it to go. I couldn’t take the turfs to the Council tip, so, I decided to recycle them myself. One of my mates has an Allotment in the next village and he will be putting in some raised beds later in the year. Consequently he will want a lot of soil to fill them and after my turfs have had some time to rot down they will be ideal to fill them and will save him from buying a load of Top Soil. I filled 2 of his compost bins and the large bin on my Allotment, with them and after stacking the upturned turfs tidily, I watered them before covering them with plastic compost bags. It is always said that rotted Turfs make very fine Loam that is ideal as a growing media. His beds will be for vegetables, but the raised beds in my garden will be for flowers. Along with a few Herbaceous perennial plants, I will also add some structural plants and evergreens to give a bit of winter colour, although, I will have to make sure that they will not grow too big with penetrating root systems as there are water, gas and sewer pipes running all under the front garden and I have been warned that they are not as deep as modern regulations insist. The front gardens are also supposed to open plan which means no hedges either and considering I removed one last year, the Parish Council should be pleased to see the flowers as will the neighbours. Indeed they love the Bulb borders that I planted the other year and I have had many comments.

I am going to plant a small Bay Tree that will get big if it is allowed, but Bays lend themselves to as much pruning and clipping as you want. They are not absolutely hardy, however, my mate has got one that is some 20 feet tall on his allotment and it has grown into a proper tree. If it is a bit sheltered they are usually OK, but they can be cut down by hard winters and in the past I have found that they will often shoot from around the base to re-grow after frost damage.
Other structural plants will include a couple of Dwarf Bamboos, that are divisions from one in my back garden, and a Fatsia Japonica that was also in my back garden, but was in a pot on my yard. Fatsias do like a bit of shade and will bulk up in size, with their big, showy leaves, as they get older. A Lonicera Nitidia Baggesons Gold, with its tiny, yellow leaves will also get clipped to shape and is perhaps better suited to the dry conditions in my front garden. A Variegated Sage, Cotton Lavender and Curry Plant will also be at home in the dry conditions. I have decided to add some more colourful foliage plants as well including the red leaves of a tender Canna Lily. Buying a biggish plant I managed to divide it to give 3 separate pot fulls. They are quick growing plants that will multiply up readily, but are very tender and will need to be dug up and go in the Greenhouse every Winter. They also like plenty of water so will need to be watered regularly.
Other plants planned for the beds are a nice red Heuchera, some colourful Hebes and a couple of small yellow leaved Phormiums, but none of the similar and more tender Cordylines.
After planting the beds I will top up the soil levels with the compost from my Allotment compost bin and any spent compost from old pots that I have accumulated. The beds may need a couple of cheap bags of fresh, bought compost to finish off and tidy them up as well. At the moment I am undecided whether to use stone chippings, or wood chippings for the paths between the beds. Wood chippings can encourage cats to use it as a toilet, but are obviously far friendlier to the environment and will have the Blackbirds rummaging through them all the time after the insects and other creepy crawlies.
It is totally wrong to be starting a big planting exercise during the dry weather, but I have no choice as I want to get it done before the Autumn so that the plants can settle in and are ready to withstand the next Winter. Then, next year, the beds should make quite a display for which I might even win the best front garden in the Village award!


Click Here For Information