Slow Worm

30 December 2012 was a numerical date close to the end of some humans year cycle. On that particular day, the area of the Island where Allotment Plot 326 was situated was experiencing less favourable weather conditions than seen earlier in the predictive reading of Ella Montt’s crystal ball. Ella Montt was however able to visit the Plot without rainfall saturating the event. The ground at the Allotment Plot had continued to receive substantial amounts of rainfall. Plot 325 next to Plot 326 was flooding and collecting a pond of water. When Amphibian life ventures out of hibernation standing ponds of water can be used to breed, but the ponds need to remain in place until the young have developed enough to survive outside of the water.

As each second passes, the human counting system moved ever forward towards the New Year. At the start of a New Year cycle gardeners thoughts can shift through success and failure of plants from previous years; these thoughts are combined with anticipation for plant growth for the coming year. Each harvest no matter how small or large can be seen as a metaphor for human labour, even if the labour can only be attributed in the gathering of a few leaves. The weight of plant growth when harvested can be translated in to profit or loss, even in the eyes of the domestic gardener. Seeds that are purchased are all part of the capital system. Seeds that are saved and used by the seed grower or exchanged with other growers are all part of a system of human interaction. The individual who can sow, grow and save seeds without human authoritarian intervention experiences freedom. The dogmatic authority that requires compliance within their guidelines by using their horticultural products seeks to dictate to individuals and destroy the freedom of the grower.

Ella Montt had started to notice tiny pieces of blue plastic embedded in to the soil of Plot 326. The plastic was not confined to one area, but distributed across the plot. The source of the plastic was unknown. Ella Montt had occupied this particular plot for 28 human month cycles, but it was only in the last month that the plastic had become really apparent. Perhaps the rain had washed the plastic to the surface of the soil? Ella Montt tried to remove the plastic pieces as an on going activity. Then after uncovering an area of the soil that had been covered in tarp, dug the soil, then re-covered the soil with newspaper and cardboard which she weighted down with more tree products including apple tree branches. In the course of this action Ella Montt disturbed a young or female Slow Worm hidden in the soil. It resembled a tiny snake, but was brown on one side and cream on the other with a distinctive marking along its body. The Slow Worm re-entered the soil.

The allotments were bleak in the depths of winter. Harvest was minimal and only centred on an accumulation of a few cabbage leaves and the remainders of the Parsnips that were dug from the soil. There would be no vegetables to harvest for some weeks so nutrition would need to be found elsewhere. The overwintering Broad Beans, Garlic and Onions continued to grow.

Harvest: Winter Green Cabbage leaves = 1oz = 20g; Parsnip White Halblange = 9oz = 620g.

Storm and the Dark Side

3rd November 2012, Plot 326 was experiencing the calm after the backend of the storm. On the island there had been substantial rain and wind in affect, but nothing compared to the Frankenstorm 3000 human miles or so across the ocean. The storm ruined many human habitats and stopped the Halloween parade. For some electrical power was reinstated after so many days, but others were not so fortunate. Did the high usage of electrical power contribute to the storm? Other areas of land occupied by humans were also devastated, but the loss of life was minimal compared to the Japanese tsunami 18 months ago. Ella Montt missed the state’s shared space community, which was a strange predicament as she was virtual. She observed the far off land’s vegetable growing gardening projects through other virtual portals.

The Chard and Spinach growth had been stunted by cold weather, so harvest was limited. Ella Montt attempted to have a bonfire, but the sticks of wood were too wet to burn. Ella Montt changed her activity and covered an area of soil with re-appropriated wood products to create a mulch. There was no sign of the Garlic, Onions or Broad Beans that had recently been planted to over winter. Ella Montt hoped the seeds would not rot in to the soil.

Harvest: mix of leaves including Chard, Perpetual Leaf Beet and Red Mustard = 5oz = 160g; Raspberries = 3oz = 90g; Cabbage Winter Green = 15oz = 420g.

11th November 2012, at Allotment Plot 326 it was a calm sunny day; the temperature was dipping down very low close to freezing at night. Ella Montt dug the soil. The world had been delivered from the dark side (US election). Shoots of new Garlic had started to appear.

Harvest: Cabbage Winter Green = 9oz = 250g; Spinach Giant Winter = 2oz = 60g; Mizuna and Red Mustard = 3oz = 80g; Raspberries = 2oz = 60g; Spinach Perpetual Leaf Beet and Chard mix = 5.5oz = 160g; Potato Nicola = 1lb 12oz = 800g; Parsnip Halblange White = 1lb 1.5oz = 500g.

18th November 2012 – When Ella Montt arrived at Allotment Plot 326 it was another sunny day; temperatures continued to drop down close to freezing at night. The nearby Oak Trees’ leaves were golden. The tree sap rose during the daytime and fell at night producing the tree leaves colour. Tomorrow was predicted to be warmer. Ella Montt finished pruning the old apple tree. The tree had been embedded in to Plot 326 before tenancy began. Ella Montt dug some soil and then covered it with recycled wood products as an overwinter mulch. The nutritional leaves that could be harvested were very small due to the wintery weather and others were being eaten by wildlife as they grew. The tender leaves of new Broad Bean and Onion plants had started to emerge from the soil.

Harvest: Raspberries = 1oz = 20g; Cabbage Winter Green = 10oz = 280g; mix of Chard, Spinach Perpetual Leaf Beet and Red Mustard leaves = 6oz = 170g.

28th November 2012 – It had rained profusely, not just at Allotment Plot 326, but also all over the Island. The winter drought was over. The river known as The Thames (which winds its way to the Island’s human capital) was flooding. Areas marked on old OS maps as “known to flood”, were no doubt flooding too. At Allotment Plot 326, it was a chilly day. Ella Montt moved about the Plot harvesting any nutritional leaves she could find. There were not many leaves, but every leaf accumulated contributed to boost the vital intake. Ella Montt although virtual was financially poor. Poverty was not desirable in current society, but it was an attribute that some could not avoid due to their circumstances. The Allotment Plot was a continuation of allotment history, which itself plots the history of human poverty and the provision of land for the human poor to grow nutritional plants for their own intake.

A Robin bird perched on the hedge and then the fence, as Ella Montt moved about the Plot, the tiny bird followed her and sang its musical song. The bird was always there in the water months when it was getting dark. Ella Montt dug. The soil was heavy and sticky, but luckily this particular Plot was not water logged.

An allotment inspector drove by in a marked red motorized vehicle. Ella Montt had never seen an inspector in this kind of car before. Several plots near by 326 were still empty. Plots were up for renewal and some would change hands as new would be allotment holders reached the top of the list.

Harvest: a mix of Chard and Spinach Perpetual Leaf Beet = 7oz = 200g; 1 x Potato Nicola = 3oz = 90g; 1 x Parsnip Halblange White = 6oz = 180g; Beetroot Bolivar = 8oz = 230g; 1 x Carrot Amsterdam = 15oz = 30g.

The harvest was quite pitiful considering the physical size of the Plot. A failure in vegetable seed germination had contributed to this problem. The weather had been too warm and dry in the spring and then to cold, dry then wet in the following months.

Emergency Green Tomato Chutney

2nd October 2012 – Allotment Plot 326, it had rained in the dark hours of the night. The Plot now was singular; the attention had shifted from two to one. The allotment plot remained part of history reaching back several hundred years to the evolving industrial revolution and the dawning of the age of the Anthropocene, which is seemingly a human generated glitch in the Earth’s surface covering.

When Ella Montt dug in to the soil of the Plot, she found odd random residues of past human activity. During a pause of activity, Ella Montt stared in to the centre of a yellow flower, a humanly named Evening Primrose. She was intrigued by its design construction that trapped rays of the sun within its infrastructure. The Borage flower was of even more of a fascination, its almost stark alien beauty bowed often towards the ground.

Harvest: Raspberries = 3.5oz; Beetroot Bolivar = 7oz = 200g; Potato Nicola = 1lb 5oz = 600g; Broccoli Raab = 2oz = 50g; Calabrese Beaumont F1 = 3oz = 80g; Onion Red Baron = 10oz = 290g; Climbing Beans = 4oz = 120g; Chard Canary = 7.5oz = 210g; Swiss Chard and Perpetual Leaf Beat = 1lb = 450g; Pak Choi = 8oz = 220g; Red Mustard and Mizuna = 4oz = 110g.

6th October 2012 – Allotment Plot 326, it had rained heavily during the evening and through the darkness of the night. Ella Montt started to shift objects around on the Plot. The soil was moist and Ella Montt began to prepare ground for this years Garlic, Onions and Broad Beans to be planted to overwinter. Curiously an ornamental pheasant was foraging along the allotment track. It was a displaced creature and passed unknown boundaries to arrive at the allotments. The pheasant did not stand still long enough for William Morris to pen its exact likeness, but he made note to add it to a wall paper design collection at a later date.

Harvest: Raspberries = 2oz = 50g; Climbing Beans = 2oz = 50g; a mix of Pak Choi, Red Mustard and Mizuna = 3.5oz = 100g; Squash Vegetable Spaghetti = 2lb 6.5oz = 1.1kg.

7th October 2012 – That morning, at another location, it suddenly became necessary to harvest all the Tomatoes, which were mostly still green.

Ella Montt’s Emergency Green Tomato Chutney

All ingredients are organic:

2kg Green Tomatoes, 300ml Apple Cider, 100g Fairtrade Dates, 100g Sultanas, 1 teaspoon each of Coriander Seed, Chilli Powder, Cinnamon, Turmeric and 2 teaspoon Black Mustard Seed, 400g Fairtrade Sugar, 3 Cloves Garlic, 1 large Onion, 25g Sea Salt, Black Pepper, juice of Lemon and Lime. Mix all ingredients except sugar in a stainless steel saucepan, leave to sit for one hour, then cook, simmer for one hour, add sugar cook until chutney thickens, stirring so that the chutney does not stick to the saucepan, the chutney should be bubbling hot so don’t burn yourself! Place the hot chutney in to pre-heated glass jars then seal the lids. Ella Montt’s tip; as the glass jars gradually cool down tighten the lids. Leave to mature (if you can wait!) for about six weeks, then eat as desired.

12th October 2012, Allotment Plot 326, it was breezy sunny day with clouds, with perhaps rain coming later in the evening. Rain in the week had saturated some areas of the Island, turning human streets in to rivers. Ella Montt started to empty out a large bag (from the human construction industry) that she had filled some time ago with roots dug from the Plot. The bag also contained soil that had been attached to the roots. An assistant appeared to help empty the bag, because it was so heavy. When the bag emptied, it revealed at least eight Field Mice and one or two Common Lizards that had been living within the shelters of the soil and roots. The wild creatures ran across the Plot and disappeared beneath other soil coverings to find alternative accommodation. Ella Montt continued with the ground preparation for overwintering seeds.

Harvest: Raspberries = 7oz = 200g; Red Mustard and Mizuna = 6oz = 160g; Spinach Giant Winter = 4.5oz = 125g; a mix of Chard and Perpetual Leaf Beat 14oz = 400g; Climbing Beans 4oz = 110g; Squash Vegetable Spaghetti = 1lb 14.5oz = 860g; Pot Marigold Seed = 5oz = 130g.

16th October 2012, Allotment Plot 326, it was a breezy sunny day (again). It had rained in the last few days and there was promise of more rain in the crystal ball forecast. There had been some degree of frost, the evidence of which could be seen in the Climbing Bean plants that were now damaged. The Climbing Bean plants had been planted too late to achieve a good harvest. The Squash plants had also been frosted and their vibrant matter was in the process of breaking down in to the soil. Ella Montt had a sad face, but she dug an area and cleared another. There was no sign of the Field Mice or the Common Lizards. Ella Montt planted the first seeds to overwinter.

Planted: Broad Bean Supersimonia = 35 seeds; Onion Radar = approximately 90 sets.

Harvest: Raspberries = 4oz = 100g; Squash Green Hokkiado = 1lb 4.5oz = 580g.

23rd October 2012, Allotment Plot 326, Ella Montt was still mourning the loss of Allotment Plot at MERL, but at 326 life, or lives, still continued. The soil had recently been drenched from avid rainfall. The soil now had time to soak up the water and relieve itself if possible from any drought symptoms that might still be lingering. The Climbing Beans were now dead, as was the Squash. The plants were frosted but their roots remained in the soil. Fog had descended and the air was heavy with tiny droplets of moisture. It was Autumn. In the crystal ball forecast weather screen temperatures showed that they would plummet within a few days. Frost had been summoned as a requirement. Ella Montt harvested leafy vegetable matter, knowing that the plants might be damaged when the temperature dropped. The Raspberries were still fruiting.

Ella Montt planted some more Broad Beans and three types of Garlic. Whilst planting, Ella Mont lost count of the number of Garlic cloves, because she became distracted by finding some potatoes hidden in the soil. A few weeks ago the soil had been dry and difficult to dig, now it was heavy and sticky.

Planted: Broad Bean Aquadulce = 35 seeds; Garlic Elephant = 5 cloves, Vallelado = 125g and Sprint = 250g.

Harvest: Raspberries = 5oz = 140g; Potato Nicola = 11oz = 310g; Spinach Giant Winter = 7oz = 200g; Swiss Chard and Perpetual Leaf Beat = 15.5oz = 450g; Canary Chard = 7oz = 200g; Squash Green Hokkaido = 1lb 6oz = 640g; a baby Squash Butternut = 0.5oz = 10g; Mizuna = 4.5oz = 130g; Pak Choi = 6.5oz = 180g; Red Mustard = 4oz = 120g; Tokyo Bekana = 1oz = 20g; Broccoli Raab = 2oz = 40g.

30th October 2012 – Meanwhile, across what is sometimes know as The Pond a state of emergency existed as elements of weather collided with velocity. A storm broke the teacup shattering it in to pieces. The ocean rose up with the full moon high tide flooding land masses, breaking trees and human dwellings. Many humans, their companion animals, plants and wild life lived in the affected areas. Some were left unscathed, but for others recovery would take a long time. Ella Montt clothed herself in black and clutching a pumpkin she howled at the moon; it was after all Halloween.

The end

25th September 2012 – Allotment Plot 326, it was over a week since Ella Montt’s last visit to Plot 326. There was evidence of a very slight frost; a dip in temperature that had tinged a few leaves of the Squash plants with the touch of autumnal death that signified their end. However, a few more female Squash flowers were attempting to open and receive fertilization from airborne insect life carrying pollen from the male flowers; the Squash plants’ lives were not over yet. The Climbing Bean plants were unscathed by frost and still reaching with eager anticipation towards they sky and bean production. Tiny beans were in the process of forming from the bean flowers.

Rain had happened after a prolonged absence, an amount that was significant, but Ella Montt found when she attempted to dig more Potatoes in some areas the wetness of moisture had hardly penetrated the soil. The ground was still hard close to the surface; there was only a trace of moisture in the soil.

The harvest of green vegetable matter was greatly improved.

When Ella Montt lifted a newspaper in the shed she disturbed a Common Lizard. The Lizard disappeared further in to the pile of newspaper. The recycled paper product would be used as mulch on the soil at a suitable moment.

Harvest: a mix of Raspberries and wild Blackberries = 6oz = 180g; Potato Nicola = 2lb = 920g and Desiree = 1lb 11oz = 780g; a mix of Swiss Chard and Canary Chard = 12oz = 350g; Oriental Red Mustard = 4.5oz = 130g, Mizuna = 3.75oz = 105g, Pak Choi = 4oz = 110g; Broccoli Raab = 4oz = 120g; Climbing Beans = 2oz = 50g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 1.5oz = 40g; Sweet Corn True Gold = 3 ears = 8oz = 240g.

On 26th September 2012 at Allotment Plot at MERL, it was raining. Two magpies strutted around the garden. Ella Montt fetched the wheelbarrow and the fork from the shed. Within a few days, the allotment plot tenancy at MERL was about to be over. It was time to start digging up and deconstructing the plot. The Brick Composter was taken apart brick by brick. Each brick was arranged in a pile two layers high by six bricks by ten bricks on the grass. The pile of bricks was counted. The number of bricks was expected to be equivalent to one hundred and twenty, but eight bricks were reported to be missing and there were only one hundred and twelve.

Several things emerged by deconstructing the Brick Composter. Eight of the total number of bricks that formed the composter were missing. The lower layer of the Brick Composter had sunk in to the soil and needed to be dug out with the fork in order to remove it. Between the bricks many slugs and a few snails were living. There were slug eggs in the composter. Centipedes and black beetles were also living in the Composter. When the decomposing plant material was removed from the composter, the soil beneath it was found to be very dry. The compost was not full of worms. There were no red wiggler worms in the composter, unlike the compost bins near the fixed up greenhouse at another location, where vast quantities of red wiggler worms live inside them. The compost bin at Allotment Plot 326 does not seem to contain red wigglers, but it is a cone bin structure and therefore creates a different kind of habitat. The remaining decomposing plant material from the Brick Composter was removed from the Plot in the wheelbarrow to the wild part of the garden to unite with other decomposing plant matter.

The bricks were moved from the grass, quantities stacked in to the wheelbarrow to be transported across the garden and repositioned next to the shed. At that point, Ella Montt realized that eight bricks were next to the shed, which may be an explanation for the missing bricks from the composter. A memory was recalled that previously plant pots had been seen sitting on these bricks. Ella Montt piled the bricks from the wheelbarrow on the ground and repeated the process until the bricks were stacked in their new location. The role the bricks had previously animated as the Brick Composter was now over, but it is likely that at some point in time the bricks will be re-appropriated in to another construction because that is there purpose, meanwhile they will be a habitat for wildlife.

Ella Montt started to dig the plants out of the Plot. The first to go were the two Comfrey plants. Their roots were extracted from the soil. Ella Montt had made a decision to save as many plants as possible, but some would meet certain death in this process. Plastic transportation flowerpots were on hand to be receptacles in this relocation process.

27th September 2012, it was day two of the literal deconstruction of Allotment Plot at MERL. Some plants that were removed from the Plot yesterday seemed to have survived the night (in another location). It had rained and this had watered the plants in. Ella Montt prepared herself for the final dig up. Plants would be saved where possible. The day was sunny, with a promise according to the crystal ball forecast of rain at sixteen hundred hours. Ella Montt worked steadily; large roots of Mint were removed from the soil and potted. As the soil was dug others on faraway parts of the planet were examining what potentially could be a significant realignment of tectonic plates that could be even more significant than the hyperobject of global warming and global resource use that is unsustainable.

Ella Montt wheeled the last barrow load of plant material residue to the distant wild part of the garden. An oak tree sapling on the edge of the path touched Ella Montt’s arm and transmitted an image of Joseph Beuys standing next to his virtual blackboard. Beuys turned to look at the oak sapling and then shifted his gaze to the eyes of Ella Montt as she became ready to telepathically transmit her three-year study of the Plot to Beuys download system. Whilst the Allotment Plot was downloading, Ella Montt placed the tools back in the shed and collected together the plant material that was to be relocated. When the download was completed, Beuys smiled and nodded as he turned back to his virtual blackboard to resume his calculations. At that point Ella Montt left the garden. The Allotment Plot at MERL as such was over, although it will be recoded in to other forms of communication. Allotment Plot 326 will continue.

Plants saved = 3 x small Tomato plants; 1 x sunflower yet to flower; at least two x Cosmos Cosmea plants; Mint roots and 2 x large Mint Plants; 2 x chive plants; 2 x small Marjoram; multiple Celery and Rocket plants; 2 x Comfrey plants; multiple Pot Marigold plants.

Blackberry Jam and Global Warming

5th September 2012 – At Allotment Plot 326 cabbages that had been devastated by unknown predators moons ago had recently been producing substantial re-growth. The plants had now almost reached a point where hope of harvesting vital material from them may occur soon as long as predator intervention did not manifest itself again. The re-growth had generated from the plants stalks that had been left rooted in the ground. It would seem close to an allotment miracle if harvesting from these plants could be achieved. Other seeds that had been planted yet never germinated or never achieved growth beyond seedling state before they had disappeared remained elusive to vegetable reality and shrouded in mystery circumventing their demise.

It was a beautiful sunny day. The soil was dry. There was no rainfall and none expected anytime soon. Ella Montt gazed in to the crystal ball searching for evidence of rainclouds. Ella Montt fetched the fork tool from the shed and dug some potatoes. The potatoes were few and small in size. On every visit to the allotment it was becoming increasingly more important to water the vegetables. Ella Montt went back and forth with the watering can to the water source. Squash and Climbing Bean potential was still apparent.

Harvest: Potato Desiree = 2lb 12oz = 1.27kg; Chard = 1oz = 30g; Red Mustard = 2oz = 60g; Mizuna = 3.5oz = 100g; Wild Blackberries = 6oz = 160g; Raspberries = 1oz =30g.

6th September 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL, the soil was very dry, plants were growing very slowly or not growing at all. Ella Montt fetched the watering can to assist the plants in their efforts. As they soaked up the water, the inaudible sounds of relief from the plants were almost loud enough to hear.

Harvest: A human handful of mint, chives and 3 Climbing Beans Runner Enorma.

9th September 2012 – Allotment Plot 326, there had been no rain now for days! Beautiful sunshine prevailed and extended the summer. Due north, in the Arctic, the ice was still melting. The reason for this extended summer melt had been declared as global warming as a result of human activity all over the planet. There was one more week to go until the peek melt process should halt and the freeze should begin again. There was now a forecast that the Arctic could be ice-free by the years 2015-16. This is very soon. A sense of inevitability in a time line of progression will bring doom to some species and life to others. These species will be both animal and plant. The scavenger human waited for the melt to be completed complying a list of actions to implement. But now, prior to the inevitable melt, a fleet of nuclear powered vessels are already operational, ready to break through the ice in the name of human consumerism, because the controllers do not want to afford the time to sail around the borders of the ice field. The total devastation of a seemingly pristine environment seems to be already on course and unavoidable because of human will.

Harvest: Wild Blackberries 6oz = 150g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 4.5oz = 110g; Potato Charlotte = 3oz = 65g.

Ella Montt’s extra tasty Blackberry Jam recipe = 1kg Wild Blackberries, 1kg fairtrade organic sugar, 1 wax free organic lemon, 1 stick organic cinnamon bark or ground cinnamon. Method: place clean jam jars to heat in oven at about 100c; simmer blackberries with cinnamon for approximately ten minutes; add sugar, dissolve, then boil rapidly for twenty minutes; add zest and juice from lemon, check jam regularly on chilled saucer to see if it set. Remove from heat and pour carefully in to hot jam jars, seal immediately, eat as desired.

13th September 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL, it was warmer in the sheltered garden than beyond the walls of the enclosed space. Autumn was approaching. It had rained on the previous evening, the first substantial shower in weeks, but the shower was short lived and localized to a particular area, as was the habit of all weather patterns on the Island. Across the planet, in a different sphere to the nuclear powered ice breaking fleet, super trawlers from one land mass are poised in the ocean close to another land mass. The super trawlers prerogative is to trawl the water for living species that will then be ripped from their habitat, gutted and frozen on board the vessel. Ella Montt examined the Allotment Plot staring at the state of the plant life and wondered how these two types of vast seafaring objects were given human permission to exist at this point in time in the history and place in the universe? The vessels are part of the massive hyperobject known as global warming, but how much the vessels will affect the infinite space of the universe has not been calculated, because they are contained within the planet’s gravitational system.

A white butterfly, possibly a cabbage white, fluttered over the plant life at the Allotment Plot, but it did not settle; there was no brassicas to lure the butterflies sensory mechanisms. A Sunflower was growing out of the hardened soil. Before the rain on the previous evening, the temperature had dropped, bees were now franticly busy visiting the companion planting, not just the pot marigolds and cosmos, but also flowering wild rocket. The bees seemed almost aggressive towards each other in their pollen collecting activity and perhaps desperate to gain access to the flowers. Neither were ready to die in the cold yet. The fear of frost loomed closer to the plant and insect life. Ella Montt hoped that frost would stay away for at least a month if not more, because of vegetable production. A store of vegetables is needs to be accumulated in order to survive the winter season.

Harvest was once more about to be minimal. Allotment Plot at MERL’s days are numbered, time is running out, but the Allotment Plot will be continued elsewhere. Drought was once more overwhelming the Plot. Tomato plants on the Plot were still tiny and trying to flower. At another location, next to the fixed up greenhouse, tomato plants and tomatoes were growing and vibrant. At Plot 326 the tomato plants had rotted with blight early and Ella Montt had vowed not to plant tomatoes there again.

Harvest: Pot Marigold, Camomile and Cosmos seeds = 2oz = 45g; a mix of chives, mint, Celery leaves and Runner Bean Enorma = 5oz = 160g.

14th September 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – In the attempt to remove potatoes from the concrete like soil the fork was in danger of fracturing. The Raspberries seemed to be dehydrating through lack of moisture. It was not clear if vegetable productivity would be realised or collapse in on itself due to weather temperature and conditions.

Harvest: Broccoli Raab = 6oz = 170g; Red Mustard = 4oz = 100g; Mizuna = 2oz = 40g; Potato Desiree = 2lb 12oz = 1.27kg.

19th September 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL, the night-time temperatures are dropping alarmingly, frost happened in other places but not yet in the garden. Allotment Plot 326 was on higher ground and Ella Montt had been unable to visit it this week, she paced the virtual floor and waited anxiously to find out the fate of the vegetation.

Harvest: Celery leaves = 1.5oz = 40g; Runner Bean Enorma = 2oz = 50g.

The activity on Allotment Plot at MERL will be concluded on the 26th and 27th September 2012 when the Plot will be deconstructed.

Vegetable race against time

Allotment Plot 326 – 28th August 2012: a dry day that contained some sunshine. Dark matter was hidden in the infinite Universe, invisible to the naked human eye. The dark matter had its own secrets, which might be revealed to humans later if investigations are continued. Infinity stretched far beyond the reach of human satellites and telescopes that focused on dying stars exploding across many galaxies. Was time slowing down or gaining momentum? The Allotment Plot had not received the torrential rain that had drenched other areas within land proximity. The Ice was still melting. Some humans waited with eager anticipation for the moment when drilling for oil could commence, other humans strived to erect a force field to make this action never happen. Profit was on the oil drillers minds rather than destruction of any environment. The Ice environment is the habitat of millions of life forms. A new environment can be created, an adaption of the habitat. Life forms are adaptable as long as they remain life forms and do not cease to exist. Perhaps when life forms perish their existence reappears in other positions in the universe and becomes not just a forgotten energy residue? Like an exploding star, but seemingly without the velocity physical matter can rearrange its self and any consciousness will float through the universe until it manifests in another form that could be the wind or the rain or a bee. The Red Planet sent back its own images via the Curiosity Rover. The curiosity continued, Ella Montt wanted to see the green planets and know what other life forms are out there, but she knew life may not in actuality be friendly.

At Allotment Plot 326, Ella Montt hunted for more Potato tubers in the soil, but was disappointed at the lack of tubers that she found. The vegetable growing year was disappointing for some produce, but still held promise for others. Greens were germinating, Bean plants were climbing, Squash plants were flowering, but so far only formed one fruit. Bees were very busy on the Raspberry plants. A vegetable race against time and the first frost was in effect.

Seeds planted: Spinach Giant Winter.

Harvest: Potato Desiree = 4lb 2oz = 1.88kg; Wild Blackberries = 14oz = 400g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 5oz = 140g; Chard = 5oz = 140g; Mizuna = 3oz = 80g; 4 x Raspberries.

30th August 2012 – At Allotment plot at MERL there was nothing to harvest apart from Pot Marigold seeds. Ella Montt had expected Beans (Climbing or Runner), but the Beans were in the process of flowering and constructing vegetable matter. The Beans would not be ready for at least a week or to a fortnight in human time. Tomatoes and Rocket sat rooted to the soil, but with no enthusiasm to grow. There was no physical restriction apart from in adequate moisture or temperature relativity. Productivity of the Plot was failing. The Plots’ life span was starting to fold in on its self, decrease and deconstruct. Ella Montt gaze shifted to the Beans reaching up to the sky and to infinity somewhere beyond the force of gravity surrounding Earth. This was indeed place tilled.

Harvest: Pot Marigold seed = 1.25oz = 30g.

Harvest, Failure, Potato, Planet

8th August 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – The day became warmer and warmer and more humid. Ella Montt arrived at the Plot and found that next door at plot 325 most of the wild plant foliage had been cut down and removed, apart from at the far end where it had been left standing. Here, the wild plants were still tall and the multiple seed heads were set to distribute their seed at any moment, so that the plants could continue their reproductive process life cycle.

Ella Montt harvested Broad Beans, two types of Potatoes and Chard. Where the Potatoes had been dug out of the soil, she planted leafy vegetable seeds. On the other side of the track, wild Blackberry fruits were picked from the hedge that borders the allotment plot’s land. The watering can was fetched from the shed so that Ella Montt could apply water to areas of the Plot were vegetables matter was attempting to grow (apart from the potatoes). An area of the soil was cleared and covered with recycled paper. Other areas of the Plot were left undisturbed. Bean seeds planted last week had germinated. Some of the Climbing Beans were attempting to grow, but there was evidence that wildlife had been feeding from the tender foliage, although the actuality of this was unobserved. Magically on the Broad Bean plants that remained rooted in the soil, flowers had appeared and opened even though the plants had already produced Bean pods. The Raspberry seedlings, which had originally been found by the old apple tree and then replanted were forming fruits, but the fruits, as yet, were far from ripe.

Seeds planted: Leaf Beat Perpetual Spinach, Canary Chard and Swiss Chard.

Harvest: Blackberries (Wild) = 1lb 8oz = 690g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 8lb 150z = 4.09kg; Chard = 4oz = 120g; Potato Nicola 2lb = 900g and Red Duke Of York 2lb 15oz = 1.34kg.

9th August 2012 – At Allotment Plot at MERL it was a warm, humid, sunny day. Ella Montt stripped the Pea plants, removing them from the Plot and placed the plant remainders in the Brick Composter to rot down. Then they she removed the mesh net and bamboo that had been supporting the Peas growth. These items would be reused later to support other vegetables in their growth. Rocket seeds were germinating on the Plot, but their growth would need to accelerate in order to achieve harvest. A quantity of Bean seeds had been planted on the Plot, but there was very little sign of their plant growth. A Runner Bean had stopped flowering but it was still climbing up the bamboo support system so further Bean potential was contained in the future.

The Potato foliage was dying off. Ella Montt glanced at EB who was watching from the reading room window, then decided to wait another week before starting to dig the Balfour Potatoes. The Pot Marigold companion planting continued to flower profusely. The soil was parched, so the watering can was fetched from the shed in order to apply water to the Plot. Ella Montt’s movements and actions were repetitive as she went backwards and forwards across the garden to fill and empty the watering can. Ella Montt stood still and listened really hard, she could hear no real human talk about drought, yet the soil constitution, spoke louder than the vocal mutterings of human creatures.

On 10th August 2012 at Allotment Plot 326 it was hot, sunny and very dry. Ella Montt rearranged some of the wood and compost piles; then cut down one lot of Broad Beans. She discovered a two-foot hole sliced in to the fencing wire that must have occurred when the next-door plot’s plant foliage had been cut. Ella Montt integrated other fencing wire in to the fence to reinforce the security of the vegetable matter on the Plot. The rabbits needed to kindly stay outside of the fence, because they were too fond of tender vegetation. The appetites of the slugs were bad enough to cope with.

Harvest: Broad Beans Hangdown Green= 1lb 2oz = 500g.

17th August 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Heavy rain had been expected but it had not happened. The heat of the sun became hotter and hotter as the day progressed. The soil was very dry. EB watched as Ella Montt dug up the potatoes. Considering the amount planted, harvest was minimal and disappointing, but not a failure. Other plants had failed dismally this year, perhaps even more so than others, so any harvest was positivity. The Plot explored failure through its own necessity. Water was applied. Scientific analysis pointed to the increase of human activity on the planet surface in respect to climate change data. Other planets hold their own secrets; it is only a matter of time that these secrets from across the galaxy will be revealed. Curiosity Rover may find more than rocks and dust.

Harvest: Potato Lady Balfour = 12lbs 4.5oz = 4.58kg; Onion Radar = 5.5oz = 165g = 4 bulbs; Companion Planting Herb seed Chamomile and Calendula Pot Marigold = 4.5oz = 40g; Wild Rocket and Chives = 6oz = 175g.

17th August 2012 – Later that day at Allotment Plot 326, the consistent warmth from the sun continued so water needed to be applied to the Plot. Ella Montt fetched the watering can, then went back and forth between the water source and the Plot.

Harvest: Wild Blackberries 1lb 2.5oz = 525g; Potatoes Nicola = 6lb 4oz = 2.85kg; Chard = 4.5oz = 130g.

20th August 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – The day had been heavy and grey, eventually the weight of clouds had started to break up and the sun burst through. More Potatoes were dug. The Climbing Bean plants were growing, but they need to achieve rapid growth and flower fertilization in order to produce a Bean harvest before the frost will come.

Seeds planted: Oriental Pak Choi; Spinach Giant Winter.

Harvest: Wild Blackberries 1lb 1oz = 500g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 2oz = 50; Potato Nicola 6lb 8.5oz = 1.97kg.

21st August 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – It seemed necessary to harvest more Potatoes because a slug was found living inside one of the tubers. The danger of blight might arrive, but luckily so far had not happened. Two Tomato plants planted further down the Plot had rotted from blight infliction. Ella Montt made a mental note to not plant Tomato plants at Plot 326 next year, because blight seemed to be rampant. A light shower of rain fell and dampened the leaves of the vegetation, but barely reached the roots hidden below the soil.

Harvest: Wild Blackberries 6oz = 180g; Potato Nicola 7lb 14.5oz = 3.56kg.

23rd August 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL, Ella Montt neatened and redefined the edges of the Plot. Plant material was removed and placed in the Brick Composter. Companion Planting seeds were harvested. The day was cloudy, grey and warm. There was virtually nothing edible to harvest. The tiny Rocket seedlings remained tiny. Some of the Climbing Bean plants were growing, but other remained a failure. Mint rhizomes were trying to extend themselves across the Plot, but they needed to be contained, because Ella Montt’s tenancy on the Plot was gradually fading. Ella Montt fetched the watering can and watered the Plot.

Harvest: Beans (Runner) Enorma = 2oz = 60g; Chamomile and Calendula Pot Marigold 2.5oz = 65g.

A Common Lizard

18th July 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – Heavy rain showers were falling. Ella Montt stood in the doorway of the cramped shed waiting for the rain to ease. The ground was wet and would be muddy if any digging was about to occur. When the rain eased off slightly, EM moved from the shelter to survey the Plot. Wild plants were reaching full seed capacity in the quest to continue their reproduction process. At this stage the immanence of plant reproduction would not be easily thwarted. (Seeds will fall and reseed). The Allotment Plot desired on some levels to achieve a wild plant free zone to aid vegetable productivity. However, the diversity of wild plants on the plot encourages a wide diversity of insects and other wild life that contribute to the health of the vegetable plants and the vibrancy of the soil. The Plot needed more attention to keep the wild plant life in check and some areas might look shabby and neglected, but meanwhile this neglect was reinforcing the biodiversity of the plot. At some point in time the neglect areas might be modified, but the sustainable environment for biodiversity should be maintained; no introduction of herbicides would be necessary.

The Spring planted Broad Beans plants had grown tall. The well-established Bean pods were mainly on the lower half of the plants. The Broad Bean plant is an ancient food crop cultivated by Mediterranean Countries for at least 8000 years. It produces its own nitrogen in the soil and so does not need feeding.

Ella Montt accessed the Onions and the Garlic. There did not seem to be many Onions even though quite a number had been planted last Autumn. There was much more Garlic; its foliage was drying off. It became apparent that the moment to harvest the Garlic and Onions had arrived so the fork was fetched from the shed. The ground was wet so the Garlic was easy to dig. The amount of Garlic dug from the soil seemed a good harvest, (but a memory of how last years Garlic had rotted later on after its harvesting still lingered). Unlike this years Garlic, the Onions were not in such a good state. Some Onions harvested were healthy and firm, but others were soggy or had already rotted and disappeared in to the soil.

Potatoes were also dug from the soil. The Potatoes were somewhat on the small size presumably as a result of the inconsistent weather, which had been at various times consistently dry or consistently wet. The variants of temperatures were not assistants in aiding some vegetable plants to really flourish, unlike the wild plants that survived without hindrance. Vegetable Seeds were planted, (perhaps optimistically), the growing season on the Plot is not over yet and for some seeds it is just beginning.

Seeds planted: French Bean (Dwarf) Royalty; Runner Beans Enorma; French Beans (Climbing) Markant, Blauhide and Barlotta Lingua di Fuoco; a mix of saved Squash seeds from plants grown in 2011; Leaf Beat Rainbow Chard and Beetroot Detroit 2.

Harvest: Potato Red Duke of York = 3lb 4oz = 1.47kg; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 2lb 12oz = 1.24kg; Leaf Beet Perpetual Spinach = 7oz = 200g; Leaf Beat Swiss Chard = 7oz = 200g; Onions Radar = 2lb 1oz = 940g = 12 bulbs; Garlic Elephant = 2lb = 930g = 3 bulbs, Thermidrome 3lb 2.5oz = 1.44kg = 20 blubs and Vallelado = 2lb 11oz = 1.22kg = 25 bulbs.

On 19th July 2012 at Allotment Plot at MERL, for the time of year the night temperatures were often low for this land position on planet Earth, but eventually it rapidly became a warm, humid day. The Mulberry’s were starting to form on the Mulberry Tree close to the Allotment Plot. William Morris had been sleeping emerged in the bark of the tree, but suddenly he yawned, rolled over, rubbed his head, blinked his eyelids and sat up.

Parts of the Planet were affected by severe drought and other parts were experiencing flooding. Both extreme conditions were contributing to a downward spiral in crops that the humans could harvest.

At Allotment Plot at MERL, Garlic, Onions and more Peas were harvested. The Garlic foliage was placed in the Brick Composter to decompose. Rocket Esmee seeds that had been grown on the Plot were scattered on to open soil.

Harvest: Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker 1lb 1oz = 740g; Onion Radar 1lb 9oz = 705g = 11 bulb; Chives 1oz = 20g; Garlic Elephant 11oz = 320g = 2 bulbs, Thermidrome = 13oz = 300g and Vallelado = 7oz = 200g.

24th July 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – It was a very hot sunny day. The soil had dried out again and the temperature had risen. A small forest of four Oak Trees seedlings was growing in a pot. The seedlings had been collected from Plot 326 and now need a planting destination so that they can grow as Trees for the next 1000 years. The Acorn is a much neglected food source of protein and carbohydrate and can be used as a substitute for coffee. The Fruit trees on the Plot had produced virtually no fruit. There was a promise of potential Raspberry’s sometime in the not too distant future as the plants were starting to flower. A few more Onions were dug from the soil. A large Dragonfly circled in the air feeding on insect life that was un-discernable.

Harvest: Potato Charlotte = 2lb 12oz = 1.24kg; Onions Radar = 1lb 8.5oz = 700g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 3lb 10oz = 1.65kg.

27th July 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL – The green colours of the plants were fading, a yellow tinge seeping through the vibrant green. The Pea plants were drying off. EB was examining the Potatoes. She advised that digging should commence sometime soon. It was next consecutive day without rain in a line of days without rain. The soil had dried again, because of lack of moisture and hot daytime temperatures. Across the sea’s water mass the land to the west was in severe drought, the sweet corn and soybean were scorched and harvests in some places were failing. A loss of human lively hood is occurring and farmed animals will be slaughtered because the feed the humans supply them with is unavailable. Humans on one land mass supply humans on another landmass with corn and beans so the problem is not a rural local problem confined to one land mass, it is a global problem. Meanwhile on other land masses flooding continued in unexpected places and was drowning plants and other living things. The ice on Greenland had decided to melt to illustrate the extremity of the Planet situation, in days previously a large iceberg had broken off a glacier. Satellites recorded imagery of the ice melting on the land mass, but there was no immediate solution. Human media showed the remarkable images of the newly green land. Then most of the humans forgot about Greenland, because other things such as human achievements in contesting sports distracted them. Whilst the other humans were distracted some humans took the opportunity to make plans to mine Greenland for precious gems, minerals and metals. It was another preventable ecological disaster waiting in the wings to be directed by humans, but it was understood that most humans would not notice until the disaster until it was too late. WM stood in the shade of the Mulberry Tree. The first fruit were ripening on the tree.

The Peas were coming to the end of their lifespan. The Runner Beans were starting to flower. The soil was dry. Ella Montt fetched the watering can from the shed and applied water to the Plot. Some Climbing Bean plants had emerged from the soil, but it was almost to late now for others to follow. The window of this particular Plot’s activity was closing, two more months and it would be over.

Harvest: Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker 14oz = 400g.

31st July 2012 – At Allotment Plot 326, black Beetles, a Common Lizard, and other wild life were living in harmony with the rhizome activity of plant life. The Common Lizard was discovered sitting on damp cardboard when another piece of cardboard was repositioned. The reptile did not move away quickly, Ella Montt went to retrieve a digital image-recording device, but as she returned the creature went to hide before image focus was achieved. The reptilian tail could be seen poking out form under a piece of wood and was then left undisturbed.

Some areas of the Plot’s soil were damp and workable while other patches were dry and it was hard to gain leverage with the fork. Black Beetles appeared in different places. More potatoes were dug and Broad Beans harvested. Some wild plants were removed from around the Plot and deposited in a composting pile. Many more wild plants remained unhindered. Beans and Squash seeds that had been planted recently were germinating, but Ella Montt’s crystal ball was cloudy and it was hard to see if the seedling plants would live long enough to produce harvestable vegetable matter in the next few months before frost would come. More seeds were planted in an attempt to grow edible greens. Others vegetable seeds that had been planted a few weeks before were emerging with potential.

Seeds Planted: Runner Beans Enorma; French Bean (Climbing) Markant, Blauhide and Barlotta Lingua di Fuoco; Carrot Nantes II; Calabrese Green Sprouting; Broccoli Raab; Cabbage Wintergreen; Oriental Red Mustard, Mizuna and Tokyo Bekana.

Harvest: Leaf Beet Perpetual Spinach and Rainbow Chard 7oz = 250g; Broad Beans Hangdown Green = 4lb 13oz = 2.175kg; Potato Red Duke of York 1lb 9.5oz = 730g and Charlotte 4lb 4oz = 1.94kg; Red Onions Red Baron = 4oz = 100g = 2 bulbs; Onion Radar = 12oz = 340g = 6 bulbs.

Vegetable Matter

7th July 2012 – Ella Montt had visited other plants in other lands, where they were other small garden cultivation plot systems. At Allotment Plot at MERL, Rain had fallen. The Broad Beans had succumbed to the pestilence of Black Fly. The thwarted plants were rotting and needed to be uprooted to destroy the scourge. Hence, the Broad Beans were ripped from the soil and placed in the Brick Composter to finish their decomposition. Some Pods were harvested so all was not lost in the grip of nature. A space was now cleared on the Plot next to the Peas. Celery and Tomato plants, which had been raised in the fixed up greenhouse, were transplanted in to the vacated soil space to await growth expansion. The rest of the Plot was green, punctuated with Borage blue and orange Pot Marigold flowers. The Elephant Garlic Scape alien like flower heads were bursting open to reveal seed, the stalks were tall, slender and reaching for the sky. Bees were busy accumulating pollen.

Harvest: Onions Radar = 9.5oz = 265g = 3 blubs; Garlic Thermidrome = 5oz = 145g = 1 bulb; Broad Beans Superaquadulce and Supersimonia 1lb = 450g; Peas Meteor = 3oz = 80g, Kelvedon Wonder and Ambassador = 5oz = 150g, Mange Tout Oregon Sugar Pod II = 8oz = 220g, Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 1lb 2oz = 520g.

9th July 2012 – At Allotment Plot 326, Ella Montt was having difficulty comprehending the extent of wild plant growth. The Plot will need intensive labour to improve its condition as a source of edible vegetable matter.

Harvest: Potato Nicola = 5oz = 120g; Garlic Thermidrome = 3.5oz = 75g = 1 bulb.

On 12th July 2012 Allotment Plot at MERL was damp and expecting rain for the rest of the day. Some places across the globe were experiencing flooding because of extreme amounts of rainfall. The floods often inflicted devastation upon plants and other forms of life. Ella Montt harvested Peas and planted a row of French Bean (Climbing) Neckargold. The Beans would need to grow quickly to provide any harvest. The window of planting opportunity was closing fast on the Allotment Plot. Some Enorma plants were climbing other plants so bamboo was installed to aid the Beans upwards.

Harvest: Wild Rocket = 2oz = 60g; Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwshokker = 15oz = 440g, Rondo = 5.5oz = 160g.