Category Archives: Rain

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.

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.

Parched Earth, Rain Fall

2nd April 2012, at Allotment Plot 326 the parched Earth was resigned to the tight grip that Drought had on the soil. The grip was in the process of tightening. The soil was cracking. Blossoms enclosed in tight buds were forming on the fruit trees and bushes, but the young Plum Tree, planted a year ago on the Plot, looked like at some point in time it had died. The over-wintered Garlic continued to grow, but the Onions were very thin and faltering. Broad Bean foliage looked uncertain. Water levels in rivers, lakes and human-made reservoir storage facilities were very low. Rain needs to fall in the winter months to really soak the ground. Any rain that falls in the summer months evaporates again too easily or floods because it cannot be absorbed quick enough in to dry ground.

Soil was uncovered and prepared. Potatoes were planted in trenches. Ella Montt saw a Toad climb across the disturbed earth. The Toad headed for some cardboard and disappeared in to concealment. Worms extended their bodies across the soil and sank back in to its hidden depths.

Black smoke rose in to the air from somewhere across the Allotments. A waft of unpleasant aroma moved through the air producing a smell of incinerating plastic or some other unidentified entity.

Seeds planted = Potato Red Duke of York and Nicola.

9th April 2012 – Allotment Plot 326, the fruit blossoms were close to opening. More potatoes were planted. The Hose Pipe ban had come in to affect, yet it had rained.

Seeds planted = Potato Desiree.

12th April 2012, at Allotment Plot at MERL Ella Montt weeded the Plot. The plant residue was placed in the Brick Composter. It had rained after the Hose Pipe Ban came in to affect, but this did not mean that the drought was over. The two-winter drought had depleted stores of water and rivers. Rain in winter seeps in to the ground. Rain in the summer months may not build up the water reserves and reverse the drought; because it is warmer the moisture evaporates more easily.

Ella Montt started to cut the bamboo in to 110cm lengths. The bamboo was pushed it in to the hard ground to erect supports for the Pea plants. A net structure was tied between the supports for the Peas to cling on to.

14th April 2012, in the fixed up Greenhouse at another location, some Tomato seedlings were emerging. Ella Montt planted more seeds. Close by a Black Bumble Bee had chosen to nest under some old concrete; soon smaller Bee Friends would be

Seeds planted: Cucumber Tanja x 6, Marketmore x 6; Melon Sivan Fi x 6; Courgette Black Beauty x 12, Gold Rush x 5; Marrow Long Green Bush x 4, Sunburst F1 x 5, Tigers Cross x 5; Pumpkin Mars x 6, Giant Atlantic x 4, Connecticut Field x 4 ; Squash Big Max x 3, Twonga x 6.

16th April 2012, Allotment Plot 326, now the fruit blossoms were bursting open, but the Plum tree stilled seemed dead. More potatoes were planted and other seeds. The soil was dry, the earth parched, even after April showers.

Seeds planted: Potato Charlotte; Onion Red Baron x 250g; Broad Bean  Hangdown Green x 20; Brussels Sprout Groninger; Leek Blue Green Winter; Carrot Rodelika; Beetroot Bolivar.

20th April 2012, at Allotment Plot at MERL the soil looked more moist. The showers of April seemed as though they had jumped back in to synchronicity and a more expected rhythm. Ella Montt examined the Plot for evidence of wildlife consuming the vegetable seedlings as they emerged from the soil. Sometimes there was no evidence; plant material vanished without any trace.

30th April 2012, by the end of April rainfall had accelerated in to a sudden deluge. The ground under the surface was still parched and hard, so the water in some places flooded. Within a matter of days it became the wettest April on the Island in over one hundred years. Once again there was an experience of extreme weather.