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Wellington Fields Allotments - Hixon.


Plough Field Allotments at Amerton

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By Mrs FM

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Alan J Hartley



My New Beds.

Some of the TV Gardeners frequently talk of the virtues of putting mulch of different sorts around your plants in the Autumn and Winter Months as a feed and also in the Summer Months as a means of retaining moisture levels. So, when a friend told me that he was doing a lot of work on the mixed hedges round his shared garden, I asked him to bag the trimmings up for me and told him I would put them through my Garden Shredder. As I have already mentioned before, a fair quantity went into my Compost Heap to bulk it out, but a lot more went round my 3 Strawberry Beds, my Asparagus bed and my Gooseberries. Needless to say, they did have a good drink before the Mulch went round them. It is not much good putting Mulch onto dry soil as it will, to some extent, prevent rain from reaching the plants! The Mulch will take several years to fully break down and should put plenty of Fibre, or Humus into the soil which Strawberries, being a woodland plant, will appreciate. It is always advised that you do not weed heavily round Asparagus for fear of damaging the Thongs, or Crowns and Gooseberries have shallow roots that are very near the surface. So here again, heavy Mulching is recommended, but in these cases as a means of keeping weeds in check. In the past I have often used Grass Cuttings as a Mulch, but that isn’t going to happen any more!

The rest of the Mulch went into my Compost Heap which was turned several times before being dug out, bagged and taken back to my house to fill the new raised beds that I finally got round to constructing. As with the back garden, I used Logs from work to edge the beds and Woodchip from our friendly Tree Surgeon to make the Paths. The Compost from my Allotment was topped up with a quantity of spent Compost from old pots and cheaply bought bags from the local Garden Centre. There was a certain amount of soil thrown up by digging planting holes for some of the plants that had been stored in bigger pots and a bit more soil was added from tidying up the new Paths. It was very poor sandy soil, as you often get under Lawns, but all mixed up it made a reasonable fill for the beds and when planting, I did add some Chicken manure Pellets for good measure.

On my Allotment I have a little assortment of young Trees that have been there for some time. Some are in strong, “Root Training, Fibre, Bag Pots,” some in plastic pots and some simply in the ground and recently I decided to have a bit of a sort out. Looking at them I felt that the Variegated Myrtle would be a good candidate to add a bit of variety, colour and evergreen structure to my newly planted front garden. There is never really a good time to move Evergreens as they don’t have a dormant period like Herbaceous plants and Deciduous Trees do, but I thought that if I was careful, and with a lot of T.L.C., I could dig it out and pot it up prior to re-planting. Watering it well and keeping it in the shade after potting helped with the move and I am hopeful it will take in its new situation. The Myrtle does have juicy berries that are said to be edible and quite tasty, although, I have never had any yet. It has suffered in the past on my exposed Allotment as they are a little tender, so, it should do better amongst the houses in my front garden where it is more sheltered.
Another bush, or tree, that I was tempted to put in my garden was a “Spindle Tree”, or Euonymus Europaeus. The little one that was growing on my Allotment had some lovely pink flowers on it that preceded the poisonous, bright orange/red berries that have already developed. Although, both leaves and fruit are poisonous, wildlife love this small tree that is so called because its thin trunks were used to turn “Spindles,” to be used in furniture in olden days. My little Spindle Tree is multi stemmed with no one single trunk which will help to keep it small, so, for a while, at least, I will be able to grow it on in a large tub on my yard in the back garden.
The young Aronia bush that was grown from a self rooted cutting and in a smallish, but deep, “Rose,” pot was potted on into the special, large, bag pot that the Euonymus had come out of and sunk back into the same spot on my Allotment. There is already a much bigger Aronia on my plot that gets covered in berries every year. Apparently they are not much good for anything other than Jam Making so they don’t usually get harvested unless one of the other plot-holders fancies making some jam.
The small and lovely, multi stemmed, red leafed Hazel, also from a self rooted cutting, was potted on as well, but taken home where it will stay on my yard until it gets too big. Of course Hazels lend themselves well to being “Coppiced,” or cut down, almost to the ground, so it should be possible to keep it in a big tub for a while.
I have decided to leave the European Olive tree on my Allotment where it is growing nicely. The Olive I already have at home in a tub on my yard is not the same variety and not so hardy. Actually, although it has suffered a bit most Winters, I understand that it is not so much the cold that does the damage as the Winter wet because they prefer dry conditions and our winters are invariably much wetter than summer.

Additionally, there are 2 Fig trees in special bag pots on my plot. Already having 2 Figs in my back garden, and one that is going to be a central feature of my front garden, I have also decided to leave those where they are until a suitable site turns up for them.
Now my Front Garden is more, or less, completely planted, I will have plenty of watering to do, with a large can, for the rest of the Summer, or until we get some substantial rain.


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