Category Archives: Leisure

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1/11/11 – Allotment Plot 326- another perfect day to dig. An amount of soil was dug over; all plant residues were removed from dug area to the compost pile. Darkness fell early and ended the activity.

03 November 2011 – At Allotment Plot at MERL, Ella Montt found the Squash plant that had tried so hard in recent weeks to produce fruit, had succumbed to the time of year and died. Ella Montt removed the dead plant from the soil and placed it with respect in to the Brick Composter. The day was warm and Ella Montt was able to harvest Climbing Beans.

In the last few days, Seven Billion humans had notched up their existence on Plant Earth; a fact that was recognised and then forgotten about quickly as more humans started to arrive through the reproductive system. Humans pulled in their stomach muscles because space was in the process of becoming increasingly restricted. The humans continued to work the Earth’s surface, many of them constantly complained that that production was slowing and there was not enough economic growth. Ants and worms, which are also in the process of working the Earth’s surface, could not account to the humans their numerical existence on the Planet. The worms had sent out a warning that fracking for gas had probably caused an earthquake in a northern region of the Island, but the humans needed more energy to drive its machines so would probably forget that detail also sooner or later. The Island’s solar dream suddenly cracked and fell in to pieces on the ground. The worms mumbled at the stupidity of the humans who had shattered the solar dream before its speculative reality could become established and a prominent form of energy across the land.

At Allotment Plot at MERL Autumn was becoming more and more visible in its process. Ella Montt had spent time considering the relationship between the Mint plants and the Sweet Potato plants. The idea that the Mint should be allowed to extend its rhizomes across the Plot was a fascination, but it had now become more interesting to Ella Montt to dig up an amount of the Mint plant and save it as an object in a continuation elsewhere, not to be replanted, but as a dried preserve or as an extracted living mass separated from yet still joined to this particular aspect of the Plot.

The Mint as a plant was in the process of seeking to dominate the Plot. Allowing the Mint plant to grow to an unrestricted size would be appealing, because of its ability to send out runners that created new plant nodes, but the Mint would hinder any attempts in vegetable productivity. It also seemed to equate to a responsibility to the Earth’s surface, if Mint was allowed to overcrowd the Planet would that sustain the ever-increasing human population? Or would the Mint become a plant tyranny? Soon humans may not be able to sit down and might have to just stand if they are all to be accommodated. The crushing of Mint under foot would at least provide a pleasant aroma.

Ella Montt carefully dug up Mint roots and runners exposing herself to the awe of the Plant’s industry. The Plant was embedded in the soil in true complexity. A tinge of regret was experienced as the roots were removed, but by necessity its Plot domination had to be thwarted, and more space was reclaimed for vegetable production. However, a few shoots of broken Mint rhizome may have been left to grow once more so that the Plant will have a chance to regenerate, because it is also a valuable participant in the Plot if not left untamed.

The Sweet Potato plants were removed from the soil and relocated to a central area of the Plot.

Harvest: Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 4.5oz = 130g. Mint Root = 9lb 13.5oz = 4.4Kg; Mint foliage, an equal amount (approximately) was placed in the Brick Composter to decompose (although it may root itself and grow).

04 November 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Oriental Tai Sai = 5oz = 140g; Kale Red Russian Curled = 2oz = 40g; Perpetual Spinach = 4oz = 110g; Rainbow Chard = 4.5oz = 120g.

10 November 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – As Ella Montt stepped through the glass door in to the garden a black pheasant was disturbed and it ran from the Mulberry Tree to the cover of the trees across the garden where the foxes have their den. This was the second time Ella Montt had seen the pheasant in the garden. Perhaps the bird was a shape shifter? William Morris had not been seen lately, (because he was busy with the exhibition of his work in London), Ella Montt wondered if the bird was William Morris in disguise?

The Climbing Beans from a distance looked like they needed to be cut down, but on close inspection some of the Plants had started to grow again, as a result of the weather remaining warm. Another Squash plant was attempting to grow. The warmth of November was prolonging the life of some of the plants. Ella Montt tidied up some of the companion planting, which was beginning to fade, whilst the tree leaves grew golden and fell to the ground. Harvest would be minimal.

Ella Montt fetched a fork from the Shed. It was no ordinary day, a pulsating excitement vibrated across the Plot as Ella Montt reached in to a brown paper bag to extract garlic cloves to be planted for over wintering. The Garlic cloves were pushed in the soil in the space that the Mint had occupied. The planting of Onion sets followed this action.

Planted: Elephant Garlic = 2 cloves; Garlic Thermidrome = 9 cloves; Garlic Vallelado = 10 cloves; Onion Radar = 40 sets.

Harvest: a pinch of Coriander Filtro; Leeks Blue Green Winter = 2oz = 60g; Parsnip Halblange White = 15.5oz = 440g; Rocket Wild and Esmee = 1oz = 30g.

14 November 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Visibility had been subdued all day. The Sun was like a light bulb with a dimmer switch that had barely been turned on. A mouse seemed to be living in the Plot’s Shed. Ella Montt took the fork from the Shed, and dug more soil. Some hidden potatoes were discovered. Garlic cloves were planted. Ella Montt hoped that next years Garlic harvest would be bountiful and not rot as most of this years Garlic had done after harvesting for no apparent reason apart from the hottest drought inflicted April on record. The soil vibrated with excitement as the over winter planting took place in anticipation of the next calender year’s growing season.

The darkness descended early plunging the allotment in to a blanket of shadow that had a slow grip across the earth’s surface. A bio dome of Plant Life lit by artificial light was floating off in to deep space on the other side of Saturn, tended to by the droid Dewey (Silent Running). The Allotment Plot is firmly rooted to Earth’s human Allotment system, classified as a hegemonic from of Leisure. Ella Montt knew the Practical Planting Practice that she was learning through working on the Plot can be transformed in to methods of survival as eco systems close down though disruptions to synchronicity or if humans experience sudden loss of Planet control through demise of their species from pestilent disease or climate meltdown brought on by their own making. Cultivation of vegetable matter for food consumption will be a necessary skill.

Planted: Elephant Garlic = 3 cloves; Garlic Thermidrome = 24 cloves; Garlic Vallelado = 30 cloves.

Harvest: Oriental Tai Sai = 1.5oz = 40g; Perpetual Spinach = 1.5oz = 40g; Shallots Red Sun = 1.5oz and 40g; Carrots Autumn King = 2oz = 60g; Potatoes Madeline = 1lb 1oz = 480g.

17 November 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Early in the morning it was misty, a light, brisk rain shower started to break up the clouds. Later, when Ella Montt arrived at the Plot the sun emerged for a while. A wheelbarrow, a fork and fairtrade gardening gloves were fetched from the Shed. Next to the Shed was a Sycamore Tree. The trees leaves were mostly fallen to the ground and slowly starting to decompose. Ella Montt filled the wheelbarrow with leaves several times, each time wheeling it across the garden to empty the leaves on to the Plot, then collected more leaves from under the Mulberry Tree. Piles of leaves now covered the Plot, not in a decorative arrangement, but in a deliberate attempt to add mulch to the soil and promote its fertility.


The Sweet Potato plants looked like they were suffering from the cold, yet it was not cold. A weatherman had announced that the temperature of the Island had been throughout November 3 degrees warmer than normal. The temperature was still pleasant for humans, but generally speaking this could assist the decease in synchronicity,¬†elements of life outside of the humans’ windows were becoming further out of alignment and was another indication of global warming, the hyperbobject that surrounds the planet and permeates inside the window.

Ella Montt had observed from a far the disruption to the Occupy protests. Human droids who were also part of the 99% were employed to deter the 99% away from their campsites. Captain Swing had called an emergency meeting at the wood table close to the Plot. William Morris appeared stepping out of his role of wall paper. EB climbed out of the Reading Room window. The four sat around the table and discussed the direction of democracy. The conversation turned to extreme weather, then back to the 99% versus the 1% and then to the problematic desire for economic growth that contributes to the hyperobject. EB reached in to the library to pull out a borrowed image of a crop rotation plan that if used in every garden (dig up the lawn) and allotment of land could reduce dependence on the supermarket. Plant life needed to be depended upon more than authoritarian humans. The conversation returned to extreme weather, the four were concerned about the famine in Afghanistan, extreme drought will be followed by winter snow, many humans in remote areas do not have food to see them through the winter.

Ella Montt was very conscious that the harvest from the Plots that she was working with had dropped back. There was still a store on onions and potatoes. Next year Allotment Plot 326 would need to engage in enhanced vegetable productivity, this productivity is not the same as world economic growth, it is to do with ordinary survival dependent on plant cultivation.

Harvest: mix of Beans (French Climbing) 1oz = 35g; Rocket Wild and Esmee = 0.5oz = 18g; Leeks Blue Green Winter = 3oz = 80g; Celery Tall Utah = 2oz = 60g.

Digging

Allotment Plot 326 sits in the great field with many other allotment plots. It is part of a social system that gave humans a right to an allotment of land. Desire for an allotment plot can be a utopian dream. Reality of working an allotment or making the allotment succeed involves much hard effort. In order to make the allotment function it needs ground preparation. With any garden there can be much labour involved, but this individually depends on the nature of the garden and how it has been designed. Some gardens need very little work, for other gardens the work is a never ending cycle. Gardens can bring pleasure to the humans that work them, but gardens can also bring sorrow, frustration and despair, (when plants are overwhelmed by conditions in the natural world). The ugliness of digging is in a sense an act of placing order on the natural world. That is not to say the natural world is one of chaos, but one that has its own order outside the human domain.

Ella Montt was standing in the studio amongst the chitting Charlotte Second Early Seed Potatoes that were spread in 30cm intervals across corrugated cardboard that simulated the Allotment Plot laid out across the floor. Ella Montt was wearing her metallic blue 4″ heeled shoes, she bent to pick up the Potatoes and gathered them in to a knitted plastic sack. A similar sack of Sante Main Crop Seed Potatoes had been planted on the previous day (29 March 2011). Each sack contained 40 Potatoes. Ella Montt removed her blue shoes and stepped in to her muddy earth trainers and then headed towards the Allotment to resume digging.

Ella Montt found the idea that an “Allotment” is classified in the UK as a Leisure Garden slightly misleading. Digging ground that was filled with bramble roots and hardening to concrete through lack of rain was not what Ella Montt would describe as “Leisure”. Thorpe’s report had endorsed this taxonomy. Digging vibrant soil that turns easily can be joyous but at that moment it was ugly work and hard labour. Perhaps Ella Montt lacked the muscle power, but it was nothing to do with her gender. The art of digging is not gender specific. Digging had been easier when the soil was more moist a few weeks ago. To lighten Ella Montt’s mood, to break the tension of the act of digging, she employed the act of spontaneous dancing, (see the video evidence). Would Thorpe approve of dancing whilst digging to instigate Leisure? A slight rain shower earlier in the day had hardly penetrated the surface. Below the surface soil it was almost rock solid. The Charlotte Potatoes were eventually planted.

Meanwhile the fruit trees were starting to unfurl tight leaf buds.

Ella Montt felt the feelings of panic setting in again, because the fence around Allotment Plot 326 is still not erected. The need for the fence was becoming more imperative. Not a need to protect the Potatoes from the hungry rabbits, but a need to protect any other plantings to follow from the hungry rabbits. The Potatoes worst enemies could be frost, drought, flooding and blight, but not rabbits. With the Potatoes planted, Ella Montt’s focus can now shift to the creation of the fence. A magpie landed on a nearby plot and steadily walked across newly planted soil, searching for, finding and then eating hidden seeds.