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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



Some Interesting Harvesting.

Although we had changeable weather this growing season, it didn’t really do any harm to the Potatoes other than make them a bit later than normal even after they lost their tops back in May due to the late Frosts. The weather is crucial in many ways for crops and most years we get Potato Blight on the Allotments due in part to humid weather at the end of June, but last year we pretty much got away with it and again this year I haven’t heard anybody complaining about Blight. After they had to re-grow, the tops didn’t seem very big on the Haulms, but when I dug down, the Potatoes themselves weren’t so small and were fairly plentiful. This year there doesn’t seem to be much damage from Slugs and the like either, so overall things have been OK for them.

This season I grew some old fashioned Pink Fir Apple potatoes and they aren’t a bad size either, although they are normally smaller than ordinary Potatoes anyway. Other differences to ordinary Potatoes include the fact that they tend to be elongated rather than round in shape, usually knobbly and have what is often described as a “Waxy,” texture that is better suited for their use as a “New,” or “Salad,” potato. Most people are impressed by their flavour that is much more intense than a normal potato and said to be “Nutty.”
When I had dug a few roots up I took some of the Pink Fir Apple Potatoes to a couple of Neighbours who were duly enthralled after cooking them asking if they could have some more! Before the Season started I gave another Neighbour a few Tubers to grow in his back garden. At the time he wasn’t impressed by their size and shape, but when he dug them up and tasted them, he also asked where he could get some to grow next year!

I think I have had a very good year with my Onions, indeed one of the best I have ever had with nearly all of them getting to a good size. Perhaps I didn’t leave them long enough to ripen in the ground though, as a lot of them have green necks. However, when used in cooking that bit can easily be trimmed off. A bit wasteful, but you shouldn’t eat the green bits so it can’t be helped. One thing I am pleased about with them is that I watched a short Video on the Internet on “How to string your onions,” and after a dodgy start got quite a satisfying result with my own. Stringing, or platting them, is an efficient and effective way of storing Onions as it keeps them all together without taking up much space, but at the same time lets the air round them. Of course it is the traditional way that the old French Onion Sellers used to handle them. Back in the day their bikes would be festooned with strings of Onions hanging down from them. Very much an image of the past, but it was popular because it worked. When trimming the Onions in preparation though, the most important point is that you do need to weed out any that show the slightest signs of softness, or not having dried properly. These may continue to rot and start off rot in the others. Done properly a string of onions should keep in a cool, dry place for months.

My Runner Beans have been picking very well this year, but as usual I don’t seem to get many on the side of the run that is facing West with the Canes running from South to North. I guess that is the side that the prevailing winds come from. The Runners should go on cropping for a while yet, but I think that the Dwarf French Beans, that have also cropped well, will come to an end soon, especially now we have a few cooler nights forecast for the start of September. The season for these is always shorter than that of the Runners with them starting later as well as finishing much earlier leaving the Runners to go on until the Nights get decidedly chilly.

The Black Raspberry that I planted the other year, in the spot where I had taken out a clump of Autumn Raspberries to make room for it, finally produced a few berries this year. The best way to describe them is interesting. Flavour-wise they are nothing special, but are a little weird to eat as you expect a Blackberry taste when you put them in your mouth, because of the colour, and all you get is Raspberry. The main difference between the two berries though is that Black Raspberries are hollow in the centre whereas Black Berries have a core in them that stays with the fruit when you pick them. Another point worth mentioning is that the stems of the Black Raspberries have vicious thorns on more like a Blackberry and their stems arch more like a Tay, or Logan berry as well, rather than standing upright like a normal Raspberry. Because of this they need tying in before fruiting, much the same as you would do for a Logan berry. Speaking of Logan Berry, I recently pruned out the Brown, dead, shoots that had fruited this season and left the new ones ready for next years fruit.
My Thornless Blackberry that runs along the boundary fence has at last started to fruit in earnest. It has taken several years to get established, but now it is established and after it has finished fruiting, I think it will be time to remove the vicious, thorny one, by my Compost heap. That will make it much safer for me in future when working on my Compost Heap instead of being attacked by the bush every time I go near it. Another Thornless Blackberry that I planted in place of one of my Currant Bushes is also doing quite well, so I put in a couple of new posts for it to enable me to start and train it. While putting in new posts on my plot I also replaced one on my Kiwi Vine that hadn’t stood up to the unusually windy, Summer Storms that we have had of late and the way the weather is going, I may well have more posts to replace before Winter sets in. Normally, replacing posts and securing the Trees is a job for late Autumn, not late Summer, but we have had some mixed up weather this year.


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