Category Archives: Fence

Blight and Harvest

18th August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Torrential rain delayed and limited Plot interaction. Ella Montt assessed the cultivation field considering the Plot, and then searched in her bag for packets of seeds. Ella Montt broadcasted seeds on to the soil in the place that had been emptied of Potatoes the week before. These seeds were Rainbow Chard and Wild Rocket. No Potatoes could be removed that day, because the tools were locked in the Shed and there was no access to the key. The Plot was saturated with water.

Harvest: a mix of Herbs (to be dried) 2.5oz = 70g; Bean (French Climbing) Barlotta Di Fuoco = 2.50z = 70g, Blauhide = 5oz = 140g, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 2oz = 30g.

22nd August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326, the fence suddenly surrounded the Plot with the collaborative assistance of R&P. A second gate was made and installed. Rabbits will now need to use stealth mode to approach the growing vegetation, hungry birds on the other hand are free to come and go, but not particularly welcome if they destroy vegetables. The original apple tree received an extreme pruning.

Harvest: Beetroot Bolivar = 1lb 15oz = 880g; a mix of beans = 5oz = 140g, Perpetual Spinach and Chard Mix = 4oz = 98g; Potatoes Charlotte = 4lb 6oz = 2Kg; 4 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 4lb 6oz = 2Kg; Tomato Gardeners’ Delight = 4oz = 100g.

25th August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – You (the Reader) may not be aware of the fact that this particular year, 2011, has up until now been most erratic and strange for growing vegetables. It was very dry and warm from March thru April, then there was frost and rain. More recently the nights have been very cold for the time of year. Some growers proclaimed much of the Garlic although successfully harvested had since rotted (an amount, but not all of Ella Montt’s Garlic remained unblemished, an unfortunate amount had been composted). Some growers proclaimed their Onions had rotted (most of Ella Montt’s Onions were unblemished). Some seeds just did not grow. Blight is in the process of destroying the Tomatoes at Plot 326, but so far is not affecting the Tomatoes at Allotment Plot at MERL. Blight is not affecting the Potatoes at either Plot. The Quality of the Potatoes is excellent. Ella Montt was striving for vegetable sustainability, as part of what brook & black call practical planting practice, which Ella Montt includes in the expanded Cultivation Field methodology.

Harvest: Potato Eve Balfour = 5lb 9oz = 2.53 Kg; Beans (Runner) Enorma 9oz = 240g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 6oz = 170g, Barlotta = 5oz = 130g, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 2oz = 60g, (the last two Bean plant harvest rates seem particularly low at both MERL and 326, where as in other parts of the country the harvest rate was high, the reason for this is unknown, but can be credited to the affects of the weather and climate conditions). There has been an extraordinary number of cold nights this summer, where the temperature has dropped below 10C.

28th August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Most of the Tomatoes were harvested green, because of the rapid deterioration of the plants through Blight. Unfortunately the crop failure could not be stopped. A few days later the Tomatoes were composted because they were affected with Blight. The Plants will be burnt. What a waste, but external forces could not be stopped.

Harvest: Tomato, mix of Gardeners’ Delight, Koralik, Brandy Wine, Marmande and Chadwick = 6lb 14.5oz = 3.11Kg; 1 x Apple Cevaal = 5oz = 140g; 1 x Pumpkin Cinderella = 3lb 2oz = 1.41Kg; 1 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 70z = 190g, 1 x Beetroot Bolivar 7.5oz = 200g; Kale Red Russian Curled = 3oz = 90g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 3oz = 80g, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 4oz = 100g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 7oz = 190g; Potatoes Charlotte and Sante = 22lb 9.5oz = 10.26Kg.

Peas, Fence, Frame, Destruction

10th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 5oz = 150g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 5.5oz = 160g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder, Ambassador and Meteor = 1lb 3oz = 550g.

12th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – R&P helped to erect some of the fence around the Plot. The first gate was placed in position. The fence that was being erected around Plot 326 might suspend the rabbits from eating any plant they desired, but it would not deter the growth of unwanted plants.

A new allotment holder had moved in to the plot next to 326 and placed carpet off-cuts on the soil to try to hinder the growth of unwanted plants, such as the brambles. Some seeds can live in the soil for many years before they germinate. It is a slow process to eradicate perennials and is better to calm their growth by not allowing the seeds to spread over the Plot. However many plants that are considered weeds can be beneficial in all kinds of ways, by attracting biodiversity, acting as green manure, fixing nitrogen, activating compost or acting as food for the vegetable plants.

14th July 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – It is two weeks since Ella Montt had visited this part of the Plot. The garden had been involved in graduation activity. Ella Montt brought black bamboo canes to the Plot, in order to construct a frame that would connect the six smaller bamboo assemblages together. The day was warm, day and there was no chance of rain. The soil was parched. Ella Montt attached the black bamboo canes with stripes of plant material connecting the upper part of the series of six bamboo assemblages. The larger Bamboo Wigwam remained central to the Plot within the frame of the other bamboo. the Climbing Beans at the base of the Wigwam had not yet started to ascend the frame.

The plant residue in the Brick Composter had dried out. Ella Montt harvested the Comfrey and Nettle leaves that were growing there and scattered them over the compost as an activator. The other companion plants were flowering, but there was no sign of the orange Cosmos yet, only the pink and white. A Bee visited the Cosmos. Nigella (Love-in-the-Mist) was flowering within the Plot although it had not been planted there.

The first few Climbing Beans were harvested and a good handful of Wild Rocket. Harvest: an assortment of 10 x Climbing Beans = 2oz = 40g; Wild Rocket = 4oz = 100g.

15th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 1lb 1oz = 480g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 2.5oz = 60g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder, Ambassador and Meteor = 8oz = 220g.

Unknown beings continued to eat the Pea leaves in a destructive manner. The destruction was viewed by from Ella Montt, but not by the unknown beings, who consumed the Pea leaves as their vital food source, and left the Pea pods undamaged.

Comfrey Soup

June 20 2011 – At Allotment Plot 326, Ella Montt placed the netting (that she had removed from around the Peas at Allotment Plot at MERL), around the Climbing Beans. A fence around Plot 326 had still not been constructed. A crack had appeared in the Utopian dream. Ella Montt did not have the time to manage every aspect of Plot 326, wildlife was free to roam and eat whatever it liked. The weeds were growing relentlessly. It will take several years to stop their onslaught. Time, that at this current moment, Ella Montt did not have, so the Plot thickened of its own accord and was barely controllable. Seeds that had been planted with good intent to grow in to vegetables barely made it to seedling stage before they were consumed by an invisible force field that was Nature.

Ella Montt made Comfrey soup in buckets to act as plant food. Left for several days the liquid becomes more than pungent!

Comfrey and Seed Planting

Tuesday 12th April 2011 – At Allotment Plot 326, digging of an area of ground was completed. Seeds were then planted as follows: Leeks Almera, Kale Red Russian Curled, Beetroot Bolivar, Carrot Amsterdam Forcing, and Carrot Rothild. Ella Montt noted that both a Carrot fly deterrent barrier and also a Heavy Metal collection of CD’s to deter hungry birds needs to be deployed.

Weeding of the overwintered planted area that contains the Garlic, Onions, Spinach, Broad Beans and newly planted Shallots Red Sun commenced.

Thursday 14th April 2011 – Ella Montt had acquired a small Comfrey plant donated by ImL. At Allotment Plot At MERL, Ella Montt selected a place in the Plot and planted the Comfrey in the corner of the Brick Composter. A tiny Stinging Nettle plant was observed establishing itself where it had been situated a few weeks ago in the opposite corner of the Composter. Both Comfrey and Stinging Nettle can be harvested as they grow to act as activators to the compost. Comfrey is a good plant food for Tomatoes and Potatoes. Stinging Nettles are loved by Ladybirds and can also be used for human consumption when cooked (much like Spinach). Both plants have their own particular medicinal qualities.

The net fence that had been installed around the Peas seemed to have so far prevented bird assault on the young plants. Perhaps the Peas could not be seen through the netting? To try to prevent an aerial offensive green plastic string was tied between the Bamboo tripods.

It had rained very lightly the previous evening, but the soil was still exceptionally dry and it was necessary to water the Plot. Ella Montt fetched the watering can from the shed to assist in the watering process.

At the fixed up greenhouse some seeds had germinated, but growth of Tomato and Pepper plants remained fairly slow. Sunflower and Globe Artichoke had germinated with ease, however the act of planting outside was on hold, because although frost seemed unlikely in the current weather forecast, sudden and unexpected frosty temperatures can still arrive in May. Therefore the waiting game continued. A newspaper report was read that indicated rainfall for the time of year was below average and drought was already looming. Meanwhile more seeds were selected and planted in pots in the fixed up greenhouse. The seeds were as follows:

08/04/2011, Sweetcorn True Gold; French Bean (Dwarf) Royalty; French Bean (Climbing) Barlotto Lingua di Fuoco, Blauhide, Blue Lake, and Neckarqueen, and Runner Bean Enorma.

16/04/2011, Melon Sivan F1; Cucumber Marketmore and Tanja, Courgette Cocozelle, Patriot F1 and Soliel F1; Squash Big Max, Black Futsu, Blue Ballet, Buttercup, Butternut, (Pumpkin) Cinderella, Fictor F1, Green Hokkaido, (Pumpkin) Jack O’Lantern, Marina Di Chioggia, Musquee de Provence, Red Turban and Uchiki Kuri.

Last years Beans at the Allotment produced a good harvest, but last years Squashes were slow to grow on the Plot and did not produce a good harvest. This year Ella Montt is taking action to try to improve the fertility of the soil for the Squashes, because the plants like a compost rich soil, but the management of weather conditions to enhance growth development is still under observation and reflection. If drought continues more water will need to be applied.

Sunshine, Fences, Failure to Dig and Drought

6th April 2011  – The weather this week was undeniably beautiful. Gloriously warm sunshine deceiving humans in to perhaps a false sense of security. Extreme sunshine, heat and drought so early in the season has in recent years often been a prequel to a summer of rain and flooding. Ella Montt searched for a crystal ball to gaze in to, but could not find one. Now the sunshine was bright, but future weather conditions could not be perceived so were therefore cloudy.

Ella Montt arrived at Allotment 326 after examining the root of the Sweet Potato. The blossoms and leaves on the Fruit Trees were gradually unfurling. There was an alien quality to the Cherry’s leaves reminiscent of a science fiction life form.

Ella Montt attempted to dig the sun-baked soil to prepare for the fence that needed to be erected, but the task was thwarted. The ground had become as solid as rock. The heat of the sun so early in the season was also quite unbearable to the labouring and pale Ella Montt. It was a very unproductive day, but the Garlic was growing vibrantly.

On the 7th April at 2.30pm, Ella Montt arrived at Allotment Plot at MERL, she had avoided the heat of the midday sun, but it was still unseasonably warm for the time of year. There was a special purpose to achieve that day and that was installing a net barrier to surround the soil that was planted with Peas and Carrots. The reasoning behind this was that the Peas may not be so visible to the bird attack and that carrot fly would not have access to the germinating carrots, because they fly at below the height of 2 feet (60.96cms) scenting out Carrots.

Two humans stopped to converse with Ella Montt, who then removed a root of Mint that had strayed in to the grass outside of the Plot and handed it to the female human.

After the interaction Ella Montt returned to her work. She cut the netting so that it would be the height of 31.496 inches (80cms), then pushed bamboo canes in to the dry soil and tied the netting to the bamboo. The planted area was surrounded, but birds would still be able to launch aerial attacks from above. Ella Montt was running out of time, because MERL was about to close for the night, but before departure Ella Montt fetched water to dampen the Plot.

On the 8th April Ella Montt returned again to Allotment 326 to resume preparation for the fence. The weather was still hot and sunny. Ella Montt once again attempted to dig the dried ground, but neither the fork nor the spade could barely penetrate the surface. Disappointment and frustration at failure to dig was becoming very difficult. Two pieces of sawn wooden pallet were inserted in to soil that had been dug for the Potato planting. These pieces of pallet signified the first fence posts. Then pieces of carpet and other coverings were gathered from the around the Plot and the shed then placed along the boundary of the Plot in the hope that some how the covered ground would soften enough to be dug at a later stage. The fence constrution was going to be a long process. Ella Montt was able to dig an area of soil that she uncovered by moving a length of carpet, but the area was inside the boundary of the Plot so not part of the fencing system. Drought and ground hardening had not been foreseen. Future plantings at Allotment 326 depended on a fence being erected to try to ward off rabbits and rats. The utopian dream of the working allotment had an element of failure contained within it.