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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



Getting Organised.

Ever since leaving School and starting my working life in a High Street Bank, I have used Computers, so when the Allotments were first built in Hixon some 11 years ago and I was allocated my Plot, I have kept a Plot Plan every year. My Memory has always been atrocious so it proved an easy way of keeping a track of, what, and where I was planting everything. This of course made “Crop Rotation,” far easier which in turn prevented many of the pest and disease problems that might have developed if I hadn’t. It is always said that you should never grow the same thing in the same patch year after year because not only does it encourage pest problems, but it also depletes the soil of the same minerals with each subsequent crop. Rotating a variety of crops gives the soil a chance to recover. Indeed, certain crops like Beans will actually improve the soil for the following Crops the next season. Brassicas do particularly well from the higher Nitrogen levels that Beans create with their Nitrogen Fixing Nodules. In turn Brassicas like to be grown in soil that has been firmed down to hold them secure against winds so following them it is a good idea to grow Potatoes that will loosen the soil up again. After Potatoes, Carrots and Parsnips will benefit from the loose soil created by deep digging when harvesting the Potatoes and so it goes on.

These days you can buy any number of Programs, or should I say APPS, for garden design, but I am a little behind the times, so I still, like many others of my Generation, use Microsoft Word Files, to keep my Plot Plan on. Obviously Word Files were originally intended for handling Text, but it is a surprisingly versatile file type and it is relatively easy to create an effective Plot Plan. For anybody interested I include a Link to my Plan for this year that you could easily adapt for your own Plots if you like.
(Plot Plan Weblink)

Another little Job I did on my computer this month after going through my biscuit tins containing my seeds, that I store in the bottom of my Fridge, was to make a typed list of all of the seeds that I plan to sow along with the Months that they should be sown next to them. The backs of nearly all packets of Seeds these days have all sorts of useful information including sowing times and sowing depths both of which vary from one seed variety to the next. Some seeds need light to germinate and some need to be covered to exclude light, some need lots of moisture to germinate whereas others need to be kept dryish after their initial watering. Also on most packets will be an indication of how long the seeds actually take to germinate.
As the weeks go by and my seeds get sown, I will simply type DONE in red letters next to the listing. This little exercise and bit of planning should mean that, I neither forget to sow any of my seeds, nor sow any at the wrong time.
Some of the Seeds that I intend to sow will be for myself and will grow into Plants that are eventually going to end up on my Plot, or in my Greenhouse, to produce a comprehensive range of vegetables. It is my intention to be entirely self sufficient and not to buy in any young plants from a Garden Centre, or anywhere else.
Just a few seeds like Parsnips and Carrots will need to be sown directly in the ground as they don’t like being transplanted though. I don’t normally grow Carrots, but this Christmas, the Friend that gave me the Mushroom kit last year, sent me, amongst other things, 3 large, material, Growing, Bags. I have never used them before, but they seem to be very popular on all of the TV Gardening Programmes as you often see the Presenters growing Potatoes in them. They are meant to be filled just for the growing season and not over winter, but I’m going to be different though and think I have decided to use one of them for a few Herbs including, Parsley, Chives and Thyme that will then be cut for use in my Kitchen. I already have a little Bay Tree in a Pot that would benefit from a lot more root space, so I may put that in a second bag along with a Rosemary and some Nasturtiums in the Spring. The Parsley and Nasturtium Plants will come from seeds that I will be sowing and the Chives will come from the Plants that I dug up from my Allotment and divided some weeks ago, before they died down back at the start of December.
The tops on other members of the Onion family will die down as Winter sets in and will then immediately go to seed as they start their second year. Some varieties like the so called “Japanese,” will over winter though and be fine even though strictly speaking, it is in their second year, that you harvest them. The “Welsh,” and “Egyptian,” Onions will also re-shoot from their Basal Plates in the second year giving fresh growth early on that is the best to harvest as they will get woody later in the season and go to seed. However, like Chives, they will continue growing if you take off the flower stems and go on from year to year, so don’t dig them all up, but leave a few in.
I don’t think I have a Thyme Plant for my mixed Herb, Growing Bag, but I may be able to get a self rooted piece from another Plot Holder as a few have Thyme Plants already growing on their Plots.
I think I will use the third Growing Bag for Carrots as I have had a lot of trouble with Carrot Root Fly whenever I have tried to grow them on my Plot in the past. The bags are quite tall so in theory should deter the fly from infesting my Carrots as they are supposed to fly close to the ground. I will grow them at Home and not on my Plot because, like many people these days, I have a lot of empty Yard space that I can fill. At the moment I do keep some pots on it with small, ornamental trees and bushes in, but there is no reason why I can’t have a few containers with vegetables and herbs amongst them as well

Anyway, back to my Allotment and when the weather has permitted I have continued tidying up and have now removed the last of the old Cabbages, Beetroot and Kohl Rabi. I didn’t plant any varieties of Cabbage that would over winter and could be harvested through ‘till the Spring,” so mine had all finished their growing period. The Beetroot had lost their leaves and were getting lots of Slug damage along with the Kohl Rabi that wouldn’t have grown anymore either. So, the lot had to be composted after saving the best.

During my thorough exertions, while tidying up the various Beds on my Plot, I emptied my little Flower Patch that had been plagued with Squitch. It was the only way to dig it and effectively remove the pernicious weed. Previously I had grown a few Chrysanthemums and some Gladiola along with one or two unknown Herbaceous Flowers in the Bed, but I decided that I ought to be planting my Chrysanth’s elsewhere and in rotation along with my Vegetables to prevent problems. Also the Gladiola had dwindled in numbers over the years and I was never a great fan of them anyway as the flowers spoilt so easily.
Now, I have just replanted the bed with a few divisions of plants cut away from their parent plants in my garden. There is a lovely red Phlox, blue Michaelmass Daisy or Aster, and burnt orange Helenium. They will join a couple of fancy Alstromoeria that I put in last Autumn and should all be a good source of Cut Flowers. Being fully hardy Herbaceous Plants, they won’t need to be dug up every Autumn like the Chrysanth’s and Gladiola and can be left in situ year after year. I may need to dig up and divide the clumps of them though as they develop, and time goes by, but other than that they will not need much attention.
With Spring coming and things starting to shoot, I may find that I can divide one or two more flowering plants that I can add to the bed. As I have said I will be putting in some Nasturtium seeds to brighten up one of my Growing Bags and one or two other flowers that will be good for the cutting bed such as Cosmos. With my vegetable seeds including Onions, Parsnips and Parsley in, I will also be putting in more Broad Beans, Cape Gooseberry’s, Rhubarb and Asparagus. As we get nearer to Spring I will then start putting in all sorts of things such as Swiss Chard, Beetroot, Brassicas and Kale and then we really start ! ! !


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