Monthly Archives: October 2010

Overnight Frost

On the morning of 21st October 2010, an overnight frost had killed the Bean and Squash plants at Allotment Plot at MERL, leaving the remaining Squash Green Hokkadio vulnerable to elemental forces. The Squash seemed to be intact and was harvested, it had not met its maximum growth capacity because it had grown to late in the season, but it was not to be abandoned to decompose on the Plot.

The Bamboo canes that were still standing in pyramid formations, were stripped of their frost bitten Climbing Bean residue, dismantled and deposited in the shed. The Bean plant residue was roughly cut up and laid in the brick compost area. Ella Montt decided to raise the height of the bricks by one layer so that they would accommodate more compost. Yellowed leaves from the Mulberry tree next to the Plot were gathered from the ground where they had fallen, placed into the compost area covering the Bean plants residue and left to mulch down.

Allotment Plot CompostAllotment Plot Autumn

The next action was that of harvesting, because there had been a frost Ella Montt deemed it appropriate that the first Parsnips would be dug. In the space that the Carrot harvest generated more Pea Meteor were planted. The harvest consisted of: Squash Green Hokkadio = 1lb 1oz = 480g; Mixed Herbs = Chives, Mint, Sage and Marjarom = 2oz = 40g; Leek Almera = 2oz = 40g ; Parsnip Halblange White = 6oz = 180g; Carrot Amsterdam Forcing 8oz = 240g.

Carrots Leeks and Parsnips 1Carrots Leeks and Parsnips

Later that same day, 21/10/2010, a journey to Allotment Plot 326 happened. Ella Montt commenced digging again in an effort to clear more soil, attempting to banish more roots of the Bramble plants. As daylight started to fade Ella Montt’s digging reached the other side of the plot. Contemplating the Plot, Ella Montt has decided in order to try to thwart the Brambles, land based wildlife and other persistent plants, who are not particularly welcome in the overall scheme of the Plot, that it will be necessary to dig the perimeter of the Plot in preparation for fencing. Whilst bio diversity is encouraged in organic growing, certain creatures become over zealous when Plants of their liking start to grow. This fact has already been noted on the Plot at MERL when the Brassicas have suffered Pigeon attack. The act of fencing in of Plot 326, will be an attempt to try to deter hungry wildlife from foraging and allow the planted vegetation a chance to grow to harvesting potential. Given time constraints, Ella Montt expects it will be some weeks before fencing commences. Ella Montt would like to emphasis the fact that fencing the Plot in is not based on Speciesism and that wildlife will coexist on and around the Plot with the Plot, the act of fencing is merely an attempt to stop the wildlife eating everything that Ella Montt attempts to grow. The wildlife have their own strategies for survival and will no doubt find a way to breach the fence if they are so inclined.

Ella Montt planted another row of Spinach Giant Winter, then Garlic (1) Elephant = 3 cloves, Garlic (2) Dukat = 17 cloves, Garlic (3) Sprint = 32 cloves, Garlic (4) Thermidrome 16 cloves, followed by 1 row of Broad Beans Supersimonia and 1 row of Broad Beans Super Aquadule.

Allotment Plot Overwinter 1Allotment Plot Overwinter 2

Planting to Overwinter

At Ella Montt’s Allotment Plot at MERL on the 15th October 2010 it was a perfect Autumn day, the leaves were gently falling from the trees in the garden (and along the foot/cycle path journey route). The Mulberry tree leaves, next to the Allotment Plot, had mostly turned to yellow. The Cosmos Cosmea‘s pink petals seemed like patches of faded summer colour amongst the Autumn rusting hues. It has not rained significantly in so many days, the soil looked dry, but moisture exists below the surface. More flower seeds were collected. Ella Montt harvested the Climbing Beans that were ready to be picked and removed some more of the plants that had finished producing. Carrots were dug. The Beetroot never grew to their potential. Digging with a garden fork commenced to redefine some of the Plots edges and also to dig in lightly some of the Fenugreek as a green manure. Any unwanted plant residue from the Plot was added to the brick lined compost area.

Cosmos CosmeaNext to the Cosmos Cosmea

In the spaces that had opened up on the Plot Ella Montt planted an amount of seeds to overwinter. Next to the recently germinated Carrots which are close to the compost area four types of Garlic were planted; 2 cloves x Elephant Garlic (1), followed by 8 cloves x Dukat Garlic (2), then 16 cloves x Sprint Garlic (3) and then 14 cloves x Thermidrome Garlic (4). Next two rows of Onions Swift were planted, 2 x 13 = 26 sets. Broad Bean (1) Supersimonia x 16 beans were planted near to the Brassicas and then an adjacent row of Broadbean (2) Super Aquadulce x 16 beans. Where the Carrots had been dug Pea Meteor were planted in a concentrated amount (50 approximately), as the rest of the carrots are dug more Peas will be planted.

Planting GarlicPlanting Elephant Garlic Clove

The days harvest: Lettuce Marvel of the Four Seasons = 2oz = 60g; Carrots Amsterdam Forcing = 1lb 2oz = 500g; Climbing Beans = 3oz = 80g; Runner Beans Blue Lake 7oz = 200g; Runner Beans Painted Lady = 7oz = 200g.

Battle of the Rhizome at 326 (Part 1)

On the 13th of October at Allotment Plot 326 Battle of the Rhizome (Part 1) was concluded (temporarily) by earth being repositioned, two rows of Spinach Giant Winter seed and 500g of Onion Sets Swift being planted to over winter. The Battle of the Rhizome will be on going for an unidentified period of time, perhaps there will be no simple conclusion.

The plant known as Brambles (Blackberries) inhabits Allotment Plot 326. It is deeply rooted and travels randomly whence it will grow creating its own rhizomatic action, alongside the tendrils of Bindweed and that of Buttercup. There are many other plants on Allotment Plot 326 (described as weeds) that distribute their seeds where ever the flow of air, water or animal takes them to. Many plants know as weeds assist not only with biodiversity but also have properties that can be of great use if known.

In order to battle with the Brambles on the Allotment Plot tools are needed to weaken the plants spirit. How, if all life on earth is dependent on plant life can an individual seek to disrupt the growth of a plant individual? The answer of this disruption or breaking of one rhizome is to form another. Bramble free space is needed to plant vegetables. The removal of a Bramble plant can take some considerable effort. This effort is more of an interruption in the Bramble plants growth, because any part of the plant that has not been removed can re-grow from a tiny shoot concealed in the soil. An on going action over the course of some days (extended to weeks or years periodically), will happen when Ella Montt will dig over and over again into the soil, to battle with deep roots hidden in the subterranean depths.

Digging will resume soon in order to prepare space for Garlic cloves, the battle continues. A pile of broken roots from the disrupted plant life is slowly growing.


Compost at the Plot

On the 7th October 2010 at Allotment Plot at MERL in the Autumn sunshine, it was time to harvest and remove the Sweetcorn form the Plot. The corn ears were collected and the canes were cut leaving the roots in the soil to decompose. The Sunflowers seed heads were cut off and saved then plants cut down. Other seeds were collected from the Borage, Pot Marigold and Mint (the seeds were later laid out to dry in Ella Montt’s studio). The Dwarf Beans Royalty were removed from the Plot. One pyramid of Bamboo canes was disconnected from the others and removed from the Plot, the pyramid had supported Blauhide and Blue Lake Climbing Beans; these were cut down. The vacated areas of the Plot were gently forked over, leaving the roots of the cut down plants intact so that they will return any possible nutrients to the soil. The earth was easy to manipulate. The plant remainders that had been removed were left to one side of the Plot.

Allotment 7/10/10allotment167

Bricks were collected in a wheelbarrow from a pile across the garden. The bricks were arranged in a rectangular form of a raised bed where the Sweetcorn had previously been growing. The discarded Sweetcorn, Sunflower and Climbing Bean Plants were chopped up and placed into the raised bed to decompose back to the soil. Compost was also collected from across the garden and a thin layer was applied to the plant mixture in the raised bed. This raised bed will now act as a compost facility on the Plot. Any plant removed from the Plot will be composted there.

Bricks for the Plot

The harvest for the day was as follows: 14 ears of Sweetcorn = 1lb 5oz = 600g; Courgette Soleil F1 = 2oz = 60g; Climbing Beans Blauhide = 3oz = 80g and Blue Lake = 3oz = 80g; Runner Beans Painted Lady = 110z = 340g.

Bricks on Plot

Thirty Days Have September

Thirty days have September… on 30/09/2010 at the Allotment Plot at MERL the clouds sat over the garden, but they were not as heavy and low as the three preceding days and there was a faint chance that sun could break through later or it could rain or both (both). The month of October loomed peeping and edging closer as every minute passed. The end of one growing season and the start of a new growing season looms, the over wintering will begin. A need to make space for this action in the limited Plot area is becoming more necessary as the days pass. The Climbing Beans leaves are starting to look like they have endured chilling over night temperatures as the autumnal hours of daylight diminish. It feels like it will be an early winter, but the weather is unpredictable and warmth can seep back when it is least expected yet yearned for.

Allotment September

In a week when it is announced in the media that one in five plant species are in danger of extinction through human activity an underlying fact is emphasized that plant life is the basis of all life on Earth. The Cosmos Cosmea blooms attracting insects for late pollination, where other flowering plants have faded with the last remaining days of summer. Late in the season the Squash plants are determined to sustain a chance of production.

Squash baby

Harvest commences: Dwarf Beans Royalty 1.5oz = 40g; Rainbow Chard = 3oz =75g; Kale Pentland Brig = 1oz = 30g; Climbing French Beans Blue Lake = 5oz = 140g; and Blauhide = 1.5oz = 40g; Runner Beans = 9oz = 260g; Herbs, Parsley, Sage, Marjoram, Basil and Mint.

Cosmos Cosmea & Insect

Raining on the Plot

On 23rd September 2010 autumnal weather had taken a firm grip and it was raining on the Plot at MERL. The Sweetcorn still looked healthy, but it will need to stay put on the Plot for a few more weeks if it is to be of any substance. Sadly the previous months of consistent dry weather had taken their toll on the Kale Red Russian Curled plants. The plants no longer had the ability to produce leafy foliage so they were uprooted from the soil. The displaced plants were left to compost themselves back to the soil from whence they came. The Courgettes Soleil F1 were still growing slowly without visible harassment and so were left to continue their life span as part of the Plot. A Squash that was formed a few weeks ago is suspended in the air, its plumping action in full force, it sits beside the fruitless flowering Aubergine, fruitless in two ways the first because it has not born fruit and the second underlining its fruitlessness (unsuccessful). The new carrots are germinating.

Squash & Sqaush Flower

A flurry of activity happened when Ella Montt decided to uproot the blighting Tomatoes from the Plot. The plants, which considering the length of time they endured before they could be planted out because of the cold spring, have up until now produced well. A sense of relief was felt as the plants were allowed to relax into the compost box across the garden. Some say that blighted tomato plants should never enter a compost system, but these plants were not inflicted to a worst degree and will not affect future plantings in the garden. Next the Onions Red Baron were dug out from the Plot, their growth had not been successful again attributed to lack of water in drought like conditions. They will however be saved to be replanted next year on Plot 326 in a further experiment in growing. Space is slowly opening up to plant the over wintering vegetables.

Space on the Plot

Harvesting commenced: Climbing Beans French Beans Blauhide =1oz = 20g and Blue Lake = 6.5oz = 180g; Tomatoes = 2lb7oz = 1.5kg; Runner Beans = 13oz = 400g.