Category Archives: Drought

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.

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.

March, almost without Precipitation

In the human settlement of Reading, the month of March 2012 was without Precipitation apart from on the 4th March. Even before the month was over it was possible for Ella Montt to gaze in to the crystal ball and see that the forecast contained no evidence that Precipitation would occur in that time period. The weather was and is beautiful. The temperatures seem perfect, yet a paradox exists, and within the paradox sits the object that is Global Warming. The object is almost a phenomenon, but at the same time it is still an object, a living, vibrant object, pulsating in a galaxy amongst other stars and planets. The humans, who existed within the object, were vigilant to extend the object so that Global Warming could continue on its path. The Warming that produced the pleasurable temperatures and dryness of March had the power to seduce the human population. Desirable sunshine mellowed each day as it passed. Some of the humans did not notice the Warming, because they existed in the state of mellow seduction and could not sense the dryness of the soil or the moisture levels receding.

1st March 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt continued to cover the soil with processed tree products to act as a barrier mulch to decrease moisture evaporation. Leeks and a Parsnip were dug up.

Harvest: Leeks Blue Green Winter = 4oz = 100g; Parsnips Halblange = 6oz = 180g.

9th March 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Ella Montt returned to the Plot, the anticipated sunshine was absent and the sky was dull grey. In the garden last night at another location Ella Montt had gazed at a large Moon, it was white and full, small clouds drifted through across the sky in formation. The sky on this particular night was a thing of exquisite beauty, the Moon a spectacle of infinite eternity. Beyond the Moon in further regions, many light years a way, new stars were forming. Back on Earth, the air that surrounded the Plot had a delicate refinement that was devoid of all moisture content.

At the Plot shoots of Garlic were starting to emerge. Broad Beans were not apparent. The Onions looked weak. Ella Montt harvested the remaining Leeks and then removed more Mint Rhizomes. The Sage plants seemed to be dead so they were dug up. Where the herbs had been removed, Rocket and Beetroot seeds were planted. The Bamboo wigwam was dismantled. The long Bamboo lengths were cut in half so that they could be stored in the rafters of the shed. Stones were gathered in to a wheelbarrow and dispensed to the wild part of the garden amongst the trees.

Harvest: Leeks Blue Green Winter = 5oz = 150g; Herb roots (Mint, Chives, Thyme, Sage, and Strawberry) = 3lb 1oz = 1.48Kg

14th March 2012 – At another location, a Sweet Potato was placed in a glass jar filled with water.

15th March 2012 – The day had started of shrouded in chilling fog, which had the gradually melted away to produce an almost cloudless light blue sky. At Allotment Plot at MERL the soil was very dry. A huge Bumble Bee murmured close by, it was in search of emerging petaled flowers. Ella Montt planted three rows of Broad Beans next to the Brick Composter. These Beans were replacements for ones that were planted in the Autumn to overwinter, which had never appeared. Next five rows of Peas were planted.

Seeds Planted: Rocket Esmee; Heirloom Beetroot Flat of Egypt; Broad Bean Superaquadulce x 1 row, Supersimonia x 2 rows; Pea Meteor x 60 seeds, Kelvedon Wonder x 60 seeds, Ambassador x 60 seeds, (Mange-tout) Oregon Sugar Pod x 60 seeds and (Edible Podded) Ezetha’s Krombek Bluaschokker x 15 seeds.

19th March 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – It continued to be dry, a drought was in full effect. There seemed little point in planting seeds at Plot 326. The overwintered Broad Beans were gradually being nibbled. There was evidence of mouse activity. Garlic and Onions were slowly, slowly growing. Ella Montt demolished a mound of compost, distributed it and then covered the area with tree products (newspaper, cardboard, wood). A blue trap was unfolded, stretched across part of the Plot and then weighted down with wood. The tarp and the tree product mulch were aids in moisture retention, if there was any left in the soil at all, it needed to be contained and restricted from evaporation. Worms were sent messages encouraging their participation in soil maintenance production. Ella Montt had decided the digging needed to be restricted and weed growth hampered. There were no vegetables to harvest.

22nd March 2012 – At Allotment Plot at MERL, it was truly a hungry gap. It would be some weeks before any harvest could be contemplated. Pot Marigold seeds were germinating on the Plot and some Rocket. A Globe Artichoke plant that had been frost damaged contemplated revival. Ella Montt fetched the watering can, a hose pipe ban was soon to be enforced across the land.

24th March 2012 – In the fixed up green house at another location, more seeds were planted.

Seeds planted: Tomato Golden Queen, San Marzano, Rotkappchen, St. Pierre; Sunflower Tiger EyeSunrise Yellow; Celeriac Ibis; Celery Tall Utah; Cabbage (Savoy) Marner Grufewi, Vertus.

Winter Drought

The Allotment Plots are sitting in an area experiencing a two-year winter drought.

On the 9th February at Allotment Plot at MERL, it was a cold, dull, grey day. The ground was dry and frigid. Evaporation was methodically drying the soil. The recent weather conditions had been a mixture of bright sunshine, frost, snow and a lack of rain; the frost however, was not icy, because of this. The Mulberry Tree sat next to the Plot breathing slowly, waiting for Spring and it’s sap to rise again. Ella Montt had arrived at the Plot anticipating the harvesting of slender Leeks, but the Leeks were too slim pickings and so were left attached to the soil. The potential of this year’s plant growth within the Plot was severely delayed. The evidence of vegetables was becoming questionable to the human eye. Garlic and Onion shoots looked like they were trying to emerge from the soil, but they seemed most uncertain. A force that stretched from across the galaxy and interacted with the Earth’s moisture flow was restricting Ella Montt’s efforts.

12th February 2012 – At Allotment Plot 326 snow lay on the ground, some of it had melted away. Leeks were harvested. Drought continued.

Harvest: Leeks Blue Green Winter = 1lb 7oz = 650g.

24th February 2012 – There was still no rain and the temperature was almost like an early spring. Many breathing objects, including humans, announced that the climatic conditions were quite beautiful. Kant walked outside in to the open air and nodded with agreement. In the fixed-up greenhouse at another location, Ella Montt decided it was not too early to plant seeds.

Seeds planted: Brussels Sprouts Darkmor 21; Tomato Marmande, Chadwick and Brandywine; Pepper (Hot) Earley Jalapeno and Ring O’Fire; Artichoke Arad and Aubergine Black Beauty.