Allotment Perennials

Apart from potting up loads of rhubarb, to be either sold or given away to other allotment holders (I want to give it away, the committee may overrule me and either sell it or ask for donations) I’ve been thinking a lot about allotment perennials these past few days. There’s raspberries of course, needing to be pruned now to get going for the autumn harvest (if you have autumn fruiting ones, the summer fruiting ones should be pruned after harvesting). And black, red and whitecurrants, all of which are lovely to make jam and jelly with, and give you years of service. Our thornless blackberry is a joy – and even thorny brambles produce gorgeous fruit.

So what else?

How about perennial leeks? Oh yes! They are properly called Babbington’s Leek, and I’ve just been given half a dozen bulbils by the lovely Fran who helps organise Seedy Sunday. Plants for a Future says: Division in late summer or early autumn. Dig up the bulbs when the plants are dormant and divide the small bulblets at the base of the larger bulb. Replant immediately, either in the open ground or in pots in a cold frame. Bulbils - plant out as soon as they are ripe in late summer. The bulbils can be planted direct into their permanent positions, though you get better results if you pot them up and plant them out the following spring.

Doesn’t that sound great? They are like a mild leek or Welsh onion, as far as I can tell.

And how about perennial rocket, also from the lovely Fran. This is apparently a totally different plant to cultivated rocket with more finely cut leaves and a much stronger flavour, which is more complex but doesn’t get silly-hot like rocket does just before it bolts. It seems that it hates root disturbance and tends to sprawl, so needs a bit of room to allow it to self seed, at which point you lift the seedlings in a big dollop of soil so as not to derange the roots and give the plantlets a new home.

Also, somewhat scarily, I’ve agreed to take some tomato seedlings from Fran to raise up so that we can have a tomato tasting day on the allotments and then people can say which seed they’d like me to save for them so that they can then have seed to raise their own tomatoes in perpetuity – gulp!

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Saturday, February 14, 2009


Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

I've searched the heritage seeds site I buy my seeds from here in New Zealand, but nothing comes up for Babbington's Leeks. They sound good though, so I'll try asking a nursery to order me some in.

February 14, 2009 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Sure. Or if I get mine to take, perhaps I'll be able to send you some, depending on the legal position on importing plants to NZ - is it very restrictive, do you know?

February 19, 2009 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

As we're an agricultural based economy, yes, more than restrictive. You're more likely to get shot here for importing plants than drugs, and those little beagles have good noses :(

Otherwise I would have loved to take up your offer.

February 19, 2009 at 11:52 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Oh rats, Mark. Hope you can find them via your nursery then. The botanical name is Allium ampeloprasum babbingtonii, which might help?

February 21, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

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