Category Archives: Harvest

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.

Lawn Mower, Atlas, a Dead Bee, and Plant Regeneration

20th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Oriental Greens Tai Sai = 2oz = 50g; 1 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 12oz = 350g; 1 x Squash Green Hokkaido = 6oz = 170g; 1 x Squash Green Hokkaido = 13oz = 370g; 1 x Squash Green Hokkaido = 1lb 2oz = 510g; 1 x Squash = 1 x Squash Red (Uchiki) Kuri = 10.5oz = 300g; 1 x Squash Red (Uchiki) Kuri = 10oz = 290g; a mix of Beans (Climbing and Runner) = 7.5oz = 210g.

22nd September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – The sound of a lawn mower machine erupted close to the Plot. The driver drove the small tractor like object around in circles. The grass did not look like it needed to be cut, but the driver was programmed to automatically follow instructions from a higher level even if this meant abandoning an initiative to abort the cut grass operation if the grass was deemed not long enough to warrant cutting. On the radio* that morning there had been a conversation about the size of the ice sheet at Greenland as represented in a new atlas (The Times Atlas). This discourse it seemed had been happening in the media for several days. The concern was whether or not the ice sheet was depicted accurately or inaccurately in the new edition of the atlas. It was felt that demise of the ice was over exaggerated, but at the same time the depletion of ice and snow was a cause for alarm, an ecological change and evidence of the Hyperobject, global warming. Whether or not the atlas is accurate or not, Greenland is becoming more green, and less white. The obsession with the grass lawn as an object that needs to be trimmed on a regular basis contributes to the hyperobject, (along with a high proportion of other human activities), which results in the depletion of the ice and snow on Greenland and the rise in sea levels.

Ella Montt shifted her gaze away from the mower and searched the garden for any signs of the Chaffinch or Greenfinch birds, but there was none immediately to be found. These two taxonomic groupings of birds are in serious decline due to an outbreak of trichomonosis parasite in birds since 2005**. It would be safer for these birds to feed from seeds growing in the garden, rather than from a communal bird feeder, so Ella Montt prepared to leave many of the Companion Planting seeds as part of the Plot and a source of food for the birds as “naturally” occurring bird food as opposed to bird feed that had been placed in a feeder for the birds, where parasites can multiply and spread the disease.

(* & ** BBC Radio 4 Today program)

When the mower machine was gone Ella Montt found a dead bee lying on the grass next to the Plot. The time of this particular bee’s death was unknown and the reason of death also unknown. The bee was not squashed or mangled, but it was dead. Ella Montt removed the bee corpse to the Brick Composter to prepare for the bee’s body’s decomposition. The Carrot crop was harvested. The crop was a dismal failure. Another female flower was appearing on the healthy Squash Plant.

Harvest: Companion Planting seeds, Chamomile, Calendula Pot Marigold, Cosmos Cosmea and Sunflower = 1oz = 20g; Tomatoes = 1lb 4oz = 560g; Rainbow Chard = 2oz = 50g; Carrots = 3oz 90g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 11oz = 320g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 2oz = 50g; Neckarqueen and Blue Lake 6oz = 175g.

29th September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – The day after the Cultivation Field Postgraduate Symposium, Ella Montt sat resting in the shade of the Mulberry Tree. The weather had become warm again and was about to reach record breaking temperatures in the UK for the time of year. The sunshine and warmth was without a doubt universally beautiful to human beings (even Kant agreed). The plants that had begun to decline and fade with the Autumnal downward spiral towards death also appreciated the warm weather and started a burst of new vigor and unexpected growth. The Sun was prolonging the growing season. The danger of frost was temporarily halted, but will resume again later. It seemed a long time since the warm weather in April and summer had been rather cold. There appeared to be two Squashes growing on the most healthy Squash plant, and a fourth female flower developing, but the plant growth would need to accelerate in order to reach fruition (the first female flower did not bear fruit). Ella Montt was gazing in to her Crystal Ball and although the reading was hazy, she had a strong sense that there will be early snow in November, but this could be just residue of a memory left in the Crystal Ball from last year.

Harvesting was about to commence. The Barlotta Di Fuoco Beans were left to mature in to more substantial Beans. The Celery was also left to continue its growth. There were some unexpected happenings on the Plot, because of the warmth of the Sun that was allowing the plant growth regeneration. A Sunflower plant was flowering prolifically with multiple blooms.

Harvest: Companion Planting Seeds, self-seeded Nigella, Calendula Pot Marigold, Cosmos Cosmea = 1oz = 20g; Tomatoes = 6oz = 170g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 1lb 2.5oz = 525g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide 1.5oz = 45g, Neckarqueen = 2oz = 60g.

30th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – The warm weather was continuing. Harvest: Perpetual Spinach = 4.5oz = 135g; Kale Red Russian Curled = 1.5oz = 45g; Oriental Greens Tai Sai = 4oz = 110g; Chard = 4.5oz = 130g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 10oz = 280g; Beans (French Climbing) Neckarqueen = 9oz = 250g, Blauhide = 1oz = 25g; Beans (French Dwarf) Royalty = 1oz = 25g; 1 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 12oz = 340g; 1 x Squash Blue Kuri = 1lb 13oz = 820g; 1 x Squash Green Hokkaido = 1lb 12oz = 790g.

The Oak Tree seedlings continued to grow in pots.

2nd October 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – The warm weather still continued. Harvest: 1 x Pumpkin Cinderella = 5lb 9.5oz = 2.55Kg; 1 x Squash Turks Turban = 5lb 15oz = 2.7Kg; 1 x Squash Blue Kuri = 2lb 7oz = 1.11Kg; 1 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 4oz = 100g; 1 x Cucumber Tanja = 11oz = 310g.

Zombie Tomatoes, Fertilized Squash, Compost

2nd September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – For the human it was a very warm day, in an exterior context, such as the garden, but not if placed in an interior, where it seemed much cooler and autumnal. Ella Montt crouched next to the Plot. Her body moved slowly around the edge, redefining and removing plant material, then the plant residue was gathered and deposited in to the Brick Composter. The watering can was needed and fetched from the Shed. There had been no rain since sometime last weekend, when there had been a fair amount that was an assistant in mud making for the Festival.

Ella Montt dug up the rest of the Potatoes. EB examined them carefully. The Potatoes were with out disease or skin blemish aside from a few marks of damage received from the garden fork. EB was satisfied with the result. Beans were harvested. Unfortunately, most of the Squash plants were dissolving and composting themselves in to the soil as a result of cold weather. The Tomatoes looked without blight, but were mainly still green. A profusion of Pot Marigold flowers were suddenly lit up by sunshine that fell to Earth and illuminated the Plot, but this illumination did not last for long and the vibrant orange flower objects were darkened as the sun disappeared behind a grey cloud, shading the Plot. Ella Montt scattered a mix of Chard, Lettuce and Wintergreen Cabbage seeds that are suited to September planting, in the place that the Potatoes had been extracted from. Companion Planting seeds heads were gathered to be saved for future Guerilla Gardening broadcasting (at a later date).

Harvest: Seeds from Companion Planting, Calendula Pot Marigold, Cosmos Cosmea, Borage, Chamomile = 3oz = 80g; Tomatoes = 0.5oz = 10g; Potato Eve Balfour = 6lb 3oz = 2.8Kg; Bean (French Climbing) = Blauhide = 8oz = 220g; Neckarqueen and Blue Lake – 1.5oz = 30g; Barlotta Di Fuoco = 4.5oz = 130g; Beans (Runner) Enamor = 14oz = 400g.

5th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – The last of the blighted Tomato plants were removed, some Tomatoes were saved from the deadly disease. A blighted Tomato appears to transform its flesh rapidly in to that of a Zombie, an un-dead Tomato, the fruit becomes ugly and rotten with decay putrefying other Tomatoes it comes in contact with. Blight is a deathly, airborne fugal disease from which there is no cure apart from fire, burial or very high temperature composting that will nullify the toxicity and eradicate the spores. The Potato crop remained perfect, untouched by the blight, as the final tubers were removed from the soil.

Harvest: Potato Charlotte and Sante = 10lb 5.5oz = 4.72Kg; 2 x Beetroot Bolivar = 5oz = 140g; Spinach Perpetual Leaf Beat = 7oz = 200g; Oriental Greens Tai Sai = 3.5oz = 90g; mix of Chard = 4oz = 110g; Beans (French Dwarf) Royalty = 6oz = 160g; mix of Beans (French Climbing) Blue Lake, Neckarqueen, Barlotta Di Fuoco, Blauhide and (Runner) Enorma = 11.5oz = 360g; Kale Red Russian Curled = 2oz = 50g; Tomatoes = 6oz = 180g.

8th September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Ella Montt drew sketches of the Allotment Plot with pencil on a length of recycled paper (30cm x 400cm). An observation was made of the drawing as it wrapped itself over the Bamboo frame the surrounds the Plot. The drawing or the paper was then folded in to the Brick Composter to brake down in to the soil. If art is part of all objects that inhabit the surface of the Planet, all objects being part of nature, whether or not they are shaped or unshaped by humans, then returning the drawing to the soil will speed up the process that art can be made by perpetuating new resources for human animation. The human world is overloaded with commodities; green businesses produce more commodities, which strive to be more centered on the best use of planet resources yet remain commodities. There is no escape (as yet) from the perpetual thinking that business has to thrive and economies must boom, as human breeding approaches the figure of seven billion occupying the planet. The humans forget sometimes that they are all animated pieces of soil and will return to the soil and compost when their animated time has run out. Meanwhile the process of humans desire for objects, (which is basically material borrowed from the Planet, then rearranged in to assemblages that become other material/ objects/ commodities), can extinguish other human and non-human life forms. William Morris lent over muttering words from his utopian novel explaining that humans realized eventually that the obsession with commodity and market growth would eventually dissolve. It was a dark and cloudy day, it became darker and darker.

Harvesting commenced: mix of Beans (French Climbing and Runner) = 14oz = 400g; Wild Rocket, Coriander Santos and Chives = 2.5oz = 70g; seeds from Companion Planting Calendula Pot Marigold and Cosmos Cosmea = 1.5oz = 35g; Tomatoes = 6.5oz = 180g. The Tomatoes at Allotment Plot at MERL were not afflicted with blight.

14th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – The night was extremely cold for the time of year. The fear of frost started again. Harvest: Courgette Patriot F1 x 2 = 8.5oz = 240g; Courgette Cocozelle x 2 = 2lb 14.5oz = 1.32Kg; Oriental Greens Tai Sai = 5.5oz = 150g; Beetroot Bolivar = 2lb 12oz = 1.22Kg; Beans (French Dwarf) Royalty 4oz = 120g; a mix of Spinach and Chard = 8oz = 230g; Beans (French Climbing) = Barlotta Di Fuoco = 2oz = 50, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake 4oz = 110g; Beans (Runner) Enamor = 5oz = 140g.

15th September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Ella Montt had experienced fear, during the darkness of the previous two nights. A sense of doom had accompanied the contemplation of the recently waning gibbous moon that hung first low as a golden ball close to the planet just above the human rooftops and trees, and then high, piercingly white in its intensity in the upper hemisphere with stars reflecting the white light in their pinpointed geometries. The nighttime temperatures had plummeted and there had been weather reports the there could be ground frost in rural areas. Both MERL and Allotment Plot 326 were in rural areas. MERL is in itself a place of rural areas, because it is a Museum of English Rural Life, yet the garden has some shelter, because the buildings on two and a half sides surround it. Allotment Plot 326 is on higher exposed ground that is wide open to the elements; there is no defense from the sky. The clarity of the cloudless atmosphere welcomed the onslaught of freezing temperatures that drop through infinity to hit the planets surface, but this time the vegetables plants were saved and the temperature remained above zero, for now. Parsnips would welcome the frost, because it increases the sweetness of their root, but for other plants frost would mean annihilation, a sudden death, deconstruction of their vibrant matter would become inevitable and a signal to return to the soil from whence they came. Ella Montt was aware that tragedy would need to be avoided, monitoring of temperatures resumed.

The early summer in April 2011 seemed long ago. At Allotment Plot at MERL, the one Squash plant that looked like it might support a fruit had yet to be successfully fertilized. A female flower rotted on the vine, whilst another was unsure if a bee would pollinate it. Ella Montt searched for a male flower to assist in the operation, finding one she transported pollen to the waiting female flower. Some of the other Squash plants at Allotment Plot 326 had successfully produced fruit, although not as many as anticipated, and also inside the fixed up green house at another location, both Squashes and Cucumbers were in the process of successfully production.

The Brick Composter had started to take on a plant life of its own. The bricks were accumulating a green covering.

The colours of green were beginning to fade, but were still punctuated with the pulsating colours of the Companion Planting. The Cosmos Orange Cosmea was flowering, its flower is different to the pink and white Cosmos Cosmea. Across the garden the established perennials were vivid in their autumn shades. Ella Montt thinned out some of the Pot Marigolds so that light could penetrate the Tomatoes ad ripen their fruits. Water was applied to the Plot and plant residue gathered in to the Brick Composter. Harvesting commenced.

Harvest: a mix of Companion Planting seeds heads, Calendula Pot Marigold, Cosmos Cosmea and Chamomile = 1oz = 20g; Tomaotes = 1lb 7oz = 650g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 1.5oz, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake 2.5oz = 70g, Barlotta Di Fuoco = 3oz = 80g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 9oz =250g.

16th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt had recently uncovered a large mound of compost that had been covered for a year by a tarpaulin. The Compost had broken down in to new soil. The soil had been dispersed, but not removed from the area. Ella Montt was in the process of adding more material to the compost that included grass, nettles, comfrey and other excessive plant residue that was growing on the Plot. Over the next few months Ella Montt desires to organize composting strategies at Plot 326 and digging will commence in areas of the Plot that have so far remained uncultivated. Cardboard Compost Lasagna will aid in the break down of the soil to assist in its workability. The next growing year from October, when Garlic and Onions will be planted, shall seek to optimize the Plot. This last year two areas of the Plot remained un-planted, 20011-12 will re-engage with the performance of productivity in order to off-set the lack economic growth in the public sector of commodity, the human obsession of which remains futile in the history of the universe.

Harvest: Squash 1 x Buttercup = 3lb = 1.37Kg, 1 x Green Hokkaido = 1lb 14oz = 850g.

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.

Mulberry and Potatoes

7 August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Tomato Gardener’s Delight = 3oz = 80g; Beetroot Bolivar = 1lb 4oz = 580g; Potato Madeleine 12lb 15oz = 5.9kg.

8 August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Runner Bean Enorma = 2oz = 60g; Potato Madeline 4lb = 1.82kg; Beetroot Bolivar = 1lb 8oz = 700g.

11 August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – A fine mist of rain was falling across the garden. William Morris rolled out of his carpet from where he had been sleeping under the Mulberry Tree. His hands were covered in dark stains from the juice of Mulberry fruits. Ella Montt now understood why he liked the Mulberry Tree so much; the fruits are many and delicious! Mulberry Trees can live for a long time, and they will often look like they are falling down to one side, this is so they can re-root themselves in to the soil to insure their survival. Towards the base of the tree the Mulberry will grow long trailing branches that are also seeking to root themselves.

Ella Montt cut the Nettles and Comfrey growing in the Brick Composter and scattered the leaves over the compost. The Companion Planting’s wild beauty was tamed with a piece of string, because the Cosmos Cosmea was blocking vital sunlight access to the Squash plants. Some of the Pot Marigolds were removed for the same reason and their plant residue was added to the Composter. The Plot was saturated with the vivid colour; green was punctuated by orange, yellow, pink, white and scarlet (the latter from the runner bean plants).

EB stepped out of the reading room window and walked across the garden with a fork. She dug up the first batch of potatoes. As the potatoes were removed from the soil, active earth worms were revealed. The condition of the soil had changed with the introduction and growth of the tubers. The change was a much desired improvement in vital soil fertility. It can take several years to improve soil for optimum growth and equally it can take just as long to deplete the soil of vitality depending on the growing methods employed.

Harvest: Potato Lady Balfour = 5lb 3oz = 2.37kg; Herbs, Mint, Sage, Chives 2oz = 40g; Runner Bean Enorma = 14.5oz = 410g; Bean (French Climbing) Blauhide = 2.5oz = 70g, Blue Lake = 3oz = 80g, Neckarqueen = 1oz = 3og, Barlotta Di Fuoco = 2oz = 50g.

15 August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Kale Red Russian Curled = 1oz = 20g; mix of Perpetual Spinach and Rainbow Chard = 6oz = 160g; mix of Beans = 3.5oz = 100g; mix of Peas = 11.5oz = 330g; Tomato Gardener’s Delight = 5.5oz = 160g; 1 Onion Red Baron = 2oz = 60g; 4 x Courgette Cocozelle = 1lb 9oz = 700g; 4 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 6lb 0.5oz = 2.74kg

Wild and Self-Seeded

3rd August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt almost randomly broadcasted a mix of seeds in the cleared area where the Peas had previously been. The area was still surrounded by shading netting. The mix of seeds consisted of Carrot Amsterdam Forcing, Calabrese Baumont F1, Cabbage Wintergreen, and Oriental Tai sai. It was hard to know if any of theses seeds would germinate and grow. Ella Montt’s success as a grower seemed to vary. Through the combination of both Allotment Plots, a level in vegetable self-sufficiency had currently been met and stabilized. The soil at Allotment Plot 326 is more fertile than Allotment Plot at MERL, yet vegetables such as Peas and Beans seemed to be just as successful at either Plot. What has become noticeable at Plot 326 is the ability of the Plot to produce substantial amounts of Courgettes and Squashes (which are also forming). Allotment Plot 326 has prolific self-seeded wild plant growth that is not yet tamed. Allotment Plot at MERL’s plant growth looks wild. Its cultivation although tamed by the edges of the Plot, has no regimented construction or uniformity. The plants do not exist in straight lines, (as archival ‘how to grow’ gardening material suggests), or if the lines are apparent, they dissolve in to wild often self-seeded, Companion Planting.

Harvest: a mix of Peas = 5oz = 140g; a mix of Perpetual Spinach and Chard = 6oz and 160g; 1 x Courgette Cocozelle = 1lb 10oz; 5 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 2lb 9oz = 1.18kg, Potatoes Madeleine = 1lb 14oz = 870g.

4th August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – It had rained all morning giving relief after a few hot, dry days. Ella Montt redefined the Plot, removing plant residue to the Brick Composter. The greens of the vegetable plant material and Companion Planting blended with each other to produce a mass of interdependent organisms. It was hard to see where one plant ended and another began within the confinement of the Plot and the density of planting contributed to the survival of the fittest. Ella Montt followed the paths of each Squash plant to their roots and then encouraged the vines to grow up the bamboo canes to seek more sunlight. A few of the Squash and Tomato plants that had been transplanted earlier in the season looked like they will not survive. The effects of too many cold nights have taken their toll. Plants that had taken longer to grow and that had been transplanted at a later date were pulsating with life on their way to maturity.

Harvest: Runner Beans Enorma = 8oz = 210g; French Bean (Climbing) Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 3.5oz = 40g, Blauhide = 1oz = 20g; Rainbow Chard = 1.5oz = 40g; Wild Rocket = 2oz = 50g.

Raindrops fell to Earth

20th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: 4 x Courgettes = 1lb 13oz = 640g; Shallots Red Sun = 1lb 7oz = 640g; Peas = Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 10.5oz = 290g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 2oz = 40g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder, Ambassador and Meteor = 3oz = 80g.

21st July 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – As Ella Montt arrived at the Plot, menacing black clouds over-head, opened and vertical raindrops fell to Earth in profusion. Ella Montt went to the Library Reading Room to ponder rock phosphate, which is used as plant fertilizer, and is also a “non-renewable” resource that is in danger of running out (like oil), because of human consumption. Earth as a planet is a living thing, and it is possible that it can regenerate its self and produce more oil and rock phosphate, but how many thousands or millions of years is needed to break down and compress enough vibrant matter to renew these resources that have been depleted so recently?

Ella Montt looked out of the window across the garden towards the Plot. It was still raining. The pollen on the plants flowers was wet. The Bees were hiding trying to keep their wings dry. Humans who use non organic methods of cultivation can contribute to the decline in Bee populations by using common household insecticides that contain ingredients that are toxic to Bees. The rain continued to fall.

Harvest: mix of the first Climbing Beans = 40z = 120g.

24th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: 1 x Courgette = 7oz = 200g; Potatoes Madeleine = 2lb 14oz = 1.31kg; 2 x Plum Victoria = 3oz = 80g.

28th July 2011 – At Allotment Plot at MERL, it was pleasantly warm. The Companion Planting, particularly the orange Pot Marigolds were flowering vibrantly. Sunflowers co-existed next to Cosmos. Mint and Strawberry runners were making their way across the Plot, establishing new plants at punctuated points of root construction. The Plot was in need of water, so Ella Montt fetched the watering can. Tomato, Squash and Climbing Bean plants were also opening their petals to receive winged visitors interested in taking part in their sexual reproduction process that will lead to the Plants becoming bearers of fruit. Although it was summer, the nights were still sometimes very cold for the time of year. Cold temperatures at night can be a plant growth inhibitor. Ella Montt scattered Rocket and Wild Rocket seeds near the Celery. Two Jays and a Magpie attempted to visit the Mulberry tree. Ella Montt made a signal to EB, (who was leaning out of the window), that the Potatoes would soon be ready for harvesting. EB nodded in return.

Harvest: a mixture of Climbing Beans = 7oz = 200g; Rainbow Chard = 2oz 50g, Mint and Sage.

29th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt pulled up most of the Pea plants and placed them in the compost. On the soil, where the Peas had been growing, was empty Pea pod shells, left by other Beings that liked to eat Peas.

Harvest: a mix of Peas = Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 1oz = 40g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 3oz = 80g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder,  Ambassador and Meteor = 3.5oz – 290g; Dwarf Beans Royalty = 1oz = 40g; 5 x Courgette = 4lb 6oz = 2kg.

31st July 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Harvest: French Bean (Climbing) Blue Lake = 0.5oz = 10g, Blauhide = 0.5oz = 10g, Neckarqueen 1oz = 20g; Runner Bean Enorma = 1.5oz = 35g.

31st July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: 4 x Courgette = 2lb 2oz = 900g.

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.

Mid Summer

23rd June 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – One of the Comfrey plants in the Brick Composter was starting to grow out of the Composter. Comfrey can be harvested regularly through the growing season to be used as a plant food and as a compost activator.

Ella Montt adjusted some of the Climbing Beans to encourage them to grow up the Bamboo. The Beans that had been planted by the Bamboo looked healthier than the plants grown to seedlings and then planted out. Ella Montt harvested a mixture of Peas and also the onions, because their foliage had collapsed. Some of the Carrots had failed; they were removed to the Brick Composter. It is a very unpredictable growing year. Seeds were harvested from the herb plants Chive and Sage. The Borage, Cosmos and Pot Marigolds plants were coming out, a number had self-seeded from last years planting, others Ella Montt had placed on the Plot. Ella Montt planted six Tomato plants where she had removed the Carrots, these were; 2 x Chadwick, 2 x Koralik, and 2 x Brandywine, .

It was Midsummer, across the garden was a braying Donkey, and a Wall appeared with a chink through which Pyramus and Thisbe attempted to kiss.

23rd June – Allotment Plot at MERL – Harvest: Onions Swift = 2lb 10oz = 1.2kg; Peas, Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 2oz = 60g, a mix of the green Peas = 13oz = 380g.

26th June – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Kale Red Russian Curled = 4oz = 100g; Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II = 2oz = 60g.

29th June – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt planted more Climbing and Dwarf Bean seeds. Birds or other wildlife seemed to be eating and flattening the leaves of the Peas. The Pea plants looked chaotic, but luckily were producing produce. Ella Montt made a mental note for next year that it was not enough to put a net fence around the Peas with sticks for supports. The Peas needed to be able to climb up strong supports, be fenced in and have anti bird CDs hanging as a defense mechanism. So far Ella Montt had not deployed any Heavy Metal CDs at Allotment Plot 326, this was perhaps a mistake on her part that needs to be rectified. If it is one-thing birds do not seem to sing a long to, it is heavy metal music. The Perpetual Spinach that was already growing on the Plot when Ella Montt acquired it, is developing seeds, which will be allowed to continue to form until ready for harvesting and seed saving.

Harvest: Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II = 7oz = 180g.

30th June – There had been Wood Imps that came through a wormhole portal by the woods next to the Allotments. The Imps had caused havoc by breaking things. Captain Swing was unimpressed. Ella Montt and Captain Swing had seen some of the Imps watching them while they were working. The Imps were hiding behind piles of compost and then a shed. Ella Montt had spoken to the Wood Imps that she found in a hollow under a pile of large oak trees that had experienced deforestation. The Imps were not yet mature. A whisper passed around that the Allotment that the Wood Imps were seized and taken to a Panopticon.

At Allotment Plot at MERL, William Morris was waiting by the doorway wearing an elaborate print in shades of black and gold. The morning started off bright and sunny, but by midday dark clouds started to assemble over head.

Ella Montt planted out the last of Celery and Celeriac seedlings, (the seedlings that were planted at Plot 326 were not doing very well). Ella Montt started to remove the rest of the Pea plants, because they had stopped flowering and were descending to the ground. The Peas were harvested and the Pea plant residue was placed in to the Brick Composter. Slugs and snails that had been hiding under the Pea foliage were moved to different locations in the garden. In the place where Ella Montt had removed the Peas, she planted out four more Tomato plants, these were; 2 x Koralik and 2 x Brandywine.

Ella Montt inspected the Climbing Beans at each Bamboo station, then the remaining Bean seeds were taken from the packets and planted next to the Bamboo. At both Allotment Plots, although it was still early in the season, Ella Montt remained unconvinced that the Climbing Beans were going to grow successfully this year.

The sun came out and there was no rain, so Ella Montt fetched the watering can from the shed. Borage, Pot Marigold, Cosmos and a Dwarf Sunflower had opened their petals to flower, as had male Squash flowers, but not yet female Squash Flowers. Ella Montt broadcasted a mixture of seeds around the Plot, they consisted of Fenugreek (to act as green manure), Leaf Beat Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard, Perpetual Spinach, Rhubarb Chard, Dill, Onion Ramrod, Coriander Santos, and Florence Fennel Romanesco.

Harvest: Peas (a mixture) = 1lb3oz = 540g.

4th July – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II = 7oz = 200g.

326 Garlic and Onion Harvest

11th June 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – It was necessary to harvest the Garlic, Onions, and the rest of the Broad Beans. Garlic and onions were dug out of the soil. The remainders of the over-wintered Spinach that had gone to seed were removed. Last night there had been a hail storm followed by heavy rain, but it was very localized and might not have occurred at Plot 326.

Harvest: Broad Beans = 1lb 8oz = 700g; Spinach 7oz = 200g; 106 bulbs x Onions (White) Swift = 9lb 8oz = 4.33kg; 33 bulbs x Onions Red Baron = 2lb 5oz = 1.4kg; 3 bulbs x Elephant Garlic (1) 2lb 5oz = 1.4kg; 16 bulbs x Dukat Garlic (2) = 11oz = 760g; 25 bulbs x Sprint Garlic (3) = 3lb = 1.36kg, (5oz = 120g of Sprint Garlic had previously been harvested on 25th May, because the elements were making the plants deteriorate); 16 bulbs x Thermidrome Garlic (4) = 2lb 4oz = 1kg.  The Garlic foliage was cut away and the leaves arranged around the Climbing Bean plants to try to ward off rabbits, snails, and slugs. The Shallots were left to continue growing, because the bulbs were still small in size.

Ella Montt transplanted seedlings that had been grown in the fixed up greenhouse, these were, 12 x Sweetcorn True Gold; a number of Celery Tall Utah and Celeriac Ibis; 4 x Sweet Potatoes that had the potential to activate rhizomatic growth within the Allotment Plot. Next Ella Montt planted out 3 x Artichoke Imperial Star; 6 x Tomato Plants, which were, 3 x Koralik (a bush Tomato), 2 x Brandywine and 1 x Chadwick (these last two are both tall Tomatoes as is the Marmande). Whilst Ella Montt sheltered in the shed doorway, a shower of rain dampened the ground, watering the plants.