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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



Summer Is Ending.

As August was coming to an end I decided to turn over all the fresh rubbish that had been added to the Compost Heap in the previous few weeks, and give it a good mix before covering it up and leaving it to mature for a while before using it as an Autumn Mulch on some of my beds at home. I will also save a little of it in old recycled compost bags to be used in potting some of the plants for the sales day that the Committee want to have next Spring.

As Autumn approaches a lot of things will come to an end and go on to the Compost heap including the Runner Beans. It will be a simple job to clear mine up though, because I always use soft string to tie up the canes and tie in the bean plants. That means that I can just pull the whole lot off the canes and put it all into my compost bin to start of a fresh pile, as there will be no plastic string to fish out. However, if you cut the tops off the bean Plants and leave the roots in, they say that they will put more Nitrogen into the ground as they rot. Also of course if you leave a few of the bigger, tougher pods, on the plants for a while after you have finished picking, before clearing up, you will find that the Seeds inside the pods can be dried and saved for sowing next year.
I did cut down and shred my Summer Raspberries as they had finished fruiting by the middle of August. Unlike Autumn Raspberries though, you don’t cut down all of the canes – just those that have fruited and gone brown. The bright green Canes will need tying in over winter and will go on to fruit next Season.
My Logan Berries had been picked some time ago and their canes were turning brown and going woody as well, so those that had fruited were carefully cut out and also chopped up, and again next years canes were tied in.

Also on my plot I have Jerusalem Artichokes which are the newer Fuseau variety and they develop a little earlier than the older, traditional variety. As we started going into September they were showing signs of starting to Flower which meant that they had finished growing and were ready to be harvested as and when I wanted. Indeed they can be left in the ground all over Winter until they are wanted. The Stems of the tall plants seem segmented, almost like Bamboo, and are very tough, but when chopped up with strong Secateurs, or Loppers, they will rot down surprisingly well. Because the Stems are so thick, they don’t go through my Shredder though, so I have to cut them up by hand every year. It is time consuming, but I find it quite therapeutic to sit in the sunshine on the wall of my Compost Bins and quietly Chop them up.

Along with more Vegetables becoming ready for harvest, my Autumn Raspberries started fruiting in about the middle of August and the earliest of the Apples started ripening soon afterwards. However, the Figs didn’t really start until the end of August and really got going in September.

On the subject of Figs – the cuttings I took last Autumn were rooting well, so I took them to work where the Team Members could pot them up and grow them on. I also potted a few for our Spring Sales Day next Year and with the Fundraiser in mind I dug up and potted some stray Kerria shoots from the pretty, yellow, flowering Bush in my Back Garden. On my Back Yard, at home, I have two nice big Pots of Mint, one variegated and another one an Apple Mint, so I took some cuttings of those as well to grow on. In my garden, I have several Dwarf Bamboos and recently decided I could remove one to divide and pot up to go with the other plants for the Spring Sales. Most Bamboos are very vigorous growers and spread badly making them difficult to contain and hence they make a nuisance of themselves. Quite a few of them will grow to 8-12 feet or more at which height they can also cause a nuisance by shading out other plants. A few are less rampant though and are clump forming with some being much smaller altogether in their growing habit. Mine is a true dwarf variety at only about 3 feet and is quite civilised being slow growing and very compact in nature.

After both of my Black Currant Bushes finished fruiting and had been picked clean, as was my lovely Red Gooseberry Bush, I put in some Semi Ripe cuttings of those. Semi Ripe Cuttings are taken before Autumn while the plant is still in growth and the “Wood,” hasn’t thickened or fully hardened ready for the coming Winter. As the plants are still growing, the Cuttings should root quite quickly and hopefully, will put on a little growth before Winter. Whereas, Hard Wood Cuttings won’t really root properly and start growing until the following Spring and Summer. Other Cuttings that I have taken recently include some stray shoots from my Summer Raspberries that were growing where they shouldn’t, some straggly Kiwi Vine shoots and some “Slips,” from my Sea Kale plants that again were growing where they weren’t wanted. As with all of the other cuttings, I completely stripped the leaves from them to reduce Transpiration and thereby give them a better chance.
Many Allotmenteers grow Dahlias, Gladiola and Chrysanthemums, but I have never seen anyone else grow Alsromoerias which is a shame as they deserve to be more popular. They easily cut into ready made bunches and last well in water, although they do shed a lot and fallen petals need tidying up every day. Alstromoerias produce quite a stunning display of flowers and there are a number of different coloured varieties, but most are in the orange, red, pink range. Among the other plants, my Cut Flower bed contained one particularly large Alstromoeria that needed lifting, so I decided to rip everything out of the bed and start again.
As with a lot of Herbaceous Perennials, Alstromoerias occasionally need dividing, to reduce their bulk and refresh them, so I split the root mass with a trowel and potted up some of the pieces. One large piece also went in front of my shed and another large piece went back in my Flower Bed to grow on again and give more cut flowers in the years to come. The chunks of roots did not have any stems on them, but they will soon shoot up again as they settle in because there is still a bit of growing time left before the Autumn ends and they go dormant for the Winter.

On a different subject, I seem to have put in a lot of new posts through the last few months and have just put in a couple more, one for my new Apricot tree that is doing very well now, after a late start to it leafing up, and an Apple tree that is starting to get established also had a new post. Unusually, we have had a lot of strong winds throughout this Summer, so I have been continually tying in my trees, but as Autumn comes they will have to be secured more thoroughly in preparation for any proper Winter storms that we may get.
Other jobs that will need doing as Autumn comes and the leaves drop, include putting Grease Bands on the trees to prevent crawling bugs from infesting their over wintering buds and thereby getting into next seasons fruit. If you can’t find them as Grease Bands, they often go under the different name of Glue Bands.
As things start slowing down there will be more time to do maintenance jobs such as tidying up Paths and refreshing the Wood Chip. Indeed, being well up to date with my jobs, I had a little free time recently, so I decided to put a few more Slabs down around my Bench. Not wanting many, I thought that I might as well buy them rather than trying to scrounge some old ones for free. Going to a local Builders Merchants, I was pleased to be offered a few damaged Slabs at a very much reduced price. They were a good quality Slab, but I guess as they were more expensive, people wouldn’t accept them being slightly damaged and would only buy perfect slabs. This meant that any damaged ones were just so much waste rubble to the merchant and he would have to pay for them to be taken away. So selling them, very, very cheaply was an efficient way of clearing them. The chips were only little nicks and couldn’t really be seen in the rough environment of the Allotments with mud and dirt constantly being walked over them, and for just a few pounds, for half a dozen slabs, I was quite happy. A few more bargains like this throughout the coming Winter will help ease the cold, Winter maintenance jobs.


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