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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




Most people cover their Brassicas with Tunnels made from Environmesh or Fleece, but normally I don’t bother and usually my Plants get eaten quite a bit before they settle down and put on some growth. However, this year I decided to cover a few of them with some Horticultural Fleece that I had going spare, but it was a low grade one, and between the action of the Sunlight in breaking it down, and the un-seasonal winds, it soon got torn to shreds. I was pleased to see that it had done its job though and the Plants were growing nicely when they were uncovered, and no, they didn’t get eaten badly upon exposure. I was told a long time ago that Predators always go for the weaker specimens. I know you don’t think of Pigeons as being Predators, but I think that they still go for the weakest plants first and tend to leave bigger, healthier plants alone a bit more.

Elsewhere on my Plot I did well with my harvest of Globe Artichokes throughout June and July. They were certainly a lot more productive than last year’s dismal harvest when I hardly cut any. It has been very dry and they like a bit of moisture in the ground, but I think that there was enough “Mulch,” around them to allow them to flourish.
Indeed the warm Spring is I think partly the reason as to why my Kiwi Vines have both flowered for the first time. The miniature Fruiting Issai had small white flowers and the full size Jenny had very pretty, buttery yellow Flowers and now, if they don’t fall off, there are tiny embryo Fruits starting to form.

July has definitely been the month for picking most soft Fruit though with my Early Raspberries particularly good this time around giving me a number of lovely Punnets, full of juicy, ripe, fruits. The early, red Gooseberries were not bad either and nor was my early Black Currant Bush. I do have more, later fruiting varieties of Gooseberry and Black Currant though, along with a Red Currant, that, at the time of writing this, had berries that were only just starting to turn. My Tay Berries were brilliant, although some years I don’t seem to get so many. I think that the correct Pruning of them is essential. I am fairly sure that the rough hacking back, that I had to do to enable me to put down another row Slabs that run along the length of the Bushes, will have pretty much scuppered next years Crop though. However, the Slabs should help to keep out the “Squitch,” or “Couch Grass,” that comes through from the adjacent field. I had some Ginormous Blackberries develop on my very prickly, but early cropping, “Karaka Black,” variety that are quite fantastic to eat. It seemed that with picking so much of the “Soft Fruit” all at once, that it all came together this season, instead of picking normally being spread over several weeks. Grapes along with Figs and most Blackberries are normally ready much later though. It looks as if I might even get a proper picking of Grapes this year as there are lots of little embryo bunches already forming. Maybe the hot summer that we seem to be getting will be a bonus, even if we have to water a bit more, although my Runner and Dwarf Beans are OK at the moment without it. Perhaps the thick layer of rough Mulch that I dug into the bed before planting is paying off. I think if we are going to have hotter, drier Summers, we are going to have to use Mulches of various kinds a lot more to retain what little moisture there is.

I thought that my Turnips would be Woody when I started pulling them up, as it had been so dry and I hadn’t really watered them since putting them in, but pleasingly they were OK and quite a decent size.
My Early Potatoes and Onions were just about ready as we went into July, but the Tops hadn’t actually gone down on the Onions, so I thought I would leave them to see if they would “Bulk,” up a bit more. Then, I will manually bend the stems down to start and dry them off before digging them up and then leaving them in the Sun for a few days to properly ripen them.
After both Batches of Broad Beans had come out I put in my Leeks and Squashes which I had been holding back. I have to confess that I have been watering them regularly to try and settle them in and get them established. As they start to grow I will reduce the watering though and eventually stop it altogether.

Another Fruit Bush that I am keeping a close eye on is my Acca Sellowiana, or Pineapple Guava. Basically, it is a Mediterranean, evergreen bush that seems to be able to survive our Winters. I grew it from Seed some time ago and it has developed very slowly. After I don’t know many years, the one on my Allotment is still only about 3-4 feet high as is the one in my back garden at home. I have had the odd flower before, but this year the one on my plot has put on quite a show with its exotic red and white blossoms that have covered the bush for a few weeks. Whether I will get any fruit for the first time I don’t know, but as with the Kiwi Vines – I am hopeful.

Late June saw the Apples start to drop with what is often called simply, “June Drop.” Before I lost too many though I picked over the Trees thinning out the bunches of small apples. Doing this gives you a chance to get rid of any “Grubby,” or damaged fruit leaving a smaller number of better ones to grow on. While I was looking at my Fruit Trees, I decided to do a bit of Summer pruning as well taking out some of the excess growth on my Kiwi, Peach, Quince, Apricot, Pear and Apple Trees. As usual I put all the prunings through my small, domestic, electric, garden shredder before mixing them in my Compost Heap. I always feel that doing this adds a lot of Fibre to the compost, although it takes a lot longer to rot down properly as compared to other rubbish.
Apart from tidying up my Fruit Trees I have started tidying up my Paths that were beginning to get a little bit Weedy as they do if left. However, I think that it is fair to say that I have stayed on top of things keeping my Plots tidy in general a lot better since Covid started. When we had the first Lock-Down I spent a lot more time on the site simply to fill the long days and to get me out of the House as much as anything. All that extra time on my hands meant that my Plots were worked more than ever before and like many people I haven’t gone back to work with so many hours as I used to do. My 4 part days a week before Covid is only 2 now, so I am still spending more time on my Plot keeping it tidy. However, some people are having issues with work and family due to Covid and seem to be neglecting their Plots. Every year we have a bit of a Plot Inspection and at the end of June the committee had one. There were a few Plots that were getting into a bit of a state, so a couple of warning letters were sent out to the worst and the Committee noted a couple more to keep their eye on. It is understandable that other things take priority for most people and tidying up their plot is not top of their list of things to do, but it is a little unfair for those who are on the waiting list, who want a plot and are prepared to work it properly. It is often a long process to persuade someone to vacate their plot, but the committee always try to be as Diplomatic over the issue, as possible.

Another aspect of Allotment life is Recycling things. We occasionally get Tools, Compost Bins, Plant Pots and even Wheelbarrows donated to us, and just once in a while we get the offer of old wooden Pallets. A few weeks ago one of our newest Plot Holders told us that the Garden Centre where she works often disposes of quantities of assorted Pallets and could we make use of them. I asked around and our Secretary sent out an Email to which several Plot Holders said they would like a few – mainly to rebuild Compost Heaps. The Plot Holder dully arranged for a Van Load to be delivered to the site FOC. When I examined them I saw that a few were broken and decided the sensible thing was to use the broken ones to make a Bench that I had been meaning to do for some time.
My old, factory made, bought, Bench was just about to finally give way and collapse due to rotting, so it all fitted in rather nicely. After much cutting with a saw and hammering I was able to construct a Pallet Bench. I decided to paint it before assembly and tried to keep it dry until I was ready. Without going to the cost of a new tin of Paint I thought that the part tin of Paint that I used for doing my Shed would be a good choice, but I decided that it might rub off on Clothes. Next I thought of using the part tin of Plasticised Floor Paint that had been left over when I had turned my Garage into a Workshop. Here again I decided against it thinking that it wouldn’t let the Wood Breathe and if water got into the Pallets through cracks it would encourage rot as the air wouldn’t get to it to dry it out. So, in the end I bought a new tin of paint that was promoted as being suitable for outdoor furniture. After all the Pallets had cost me nothing so I didn’t really mind and it was a case of doing the job properly. The end result was quite pleasing and I even found a long Cushion which fitted it, that I had saved from another old Bench.


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