Monthly Archives: November 2010

Parsnips and Mint

25/11/2010 – Ella Montt headed from the University to the Allotment Plot at MERL by bike. Optimistic bright sunshine earlier in the morning had given way to a blanket of dull grey cloud and the temperature plummeted, making the bike ride far from exhilarating, as the sharpness of the cold hit the body in motion. Ella Montt extracted the garden fork and her fairtrade gardening gloves from the shed, then crossed the grass to the Allotment Plot. Observation of the Brassicas that are being steadily eaten by wildlife, prompted Ella to return to the shed to collect an amount of horticultural fleece that had been stored there since last winter. The fleece was stretched across the Brassicas and the newly sprouted Broadbeans, to aid the plants protection from the wildlife and elemental forces. Bricks that had been collected from the pile by the shed were situated to hold the fleece in position. Ella’s nose dripped in the cold.

Plot with Fleece

Ella started to dig some Parsnips with the fork, then she remarked to Captain Swing that all the Parsnips should perhaps be removed from the soil, because their foliage was dying down and the ground may soon become too frozen to dig if the snow that had been predicted, arrived in the course of the next week. Ella feeling slightly lot mental dug up the rest of the Parsnips that would be stored until needed for consumption. As the root vegetables were dug, Ella came across traveling rhizomatic root shoots runners from the Mint plants. Some Mint root shoots had been removed on a previous occasion and taken to Allotment 326 to propagate new Mint plants. Ella decided to leave the newly discovered rhizomes to show to Deleuze later, she left them to grow across the Allotment Plot. Each traveling Mint rhizome was punctuated regularly with tiny Mint seedlings with their own root systems developing joined to the main plant runner. Ella was fascinated by this, because it was a visual production that could be left as a mapping of plant intention, each potential new plant joined to the whole plant origin and would spread at the plant’s will, or if Ella intervened with her human objective and separated the Mint seedlings from the original plant, she could propagate more plants from their new root systems. Ella was still thinking about the Mint plant later. She hoped that both Deleuze and Guattari would be as pleased that this particular rhizome was growing through her Plot. Captain Swing commented that on an energetic level the Mint plants intention emphasized a connection between one Allotment Plot and another that Ella had already strengthened by transporting part of the plant’s rhizome from Allotment Plot at MERL to Allotment Plot 326.


Harvest on 25/11/2010: Parsnips Halblange White = 3lb 11oz = 1.7Kg, Leeks Almera = 5oz = 140g.

Shed and Plot 326

A Shed had been acquired from a recycling website; it sat for a while wrapped up at Plot 326. Concrete paving slabs were found through the same recycling source method. An area had been cleared at Plot 326 for the Shed near the Apple Tree (that was in need of drastic pruning). The concrete slabs were placed in position, time passed and then one day the Shed was erected. The Shed is modest in size at 4ft by 6ft and useful as a place of shelter at the exposed Allotment site.  The Shed is not water tight and needs to be made more so. It is hoped that wildlife as in unwanted will not deem to enter the Shed.

Recycled Shed 1

Bramble extraction is an on going process at Plot 326, this involves much digging, which will take much time and energy. Seeds that were planted are meanwhile germinating. Pieces of wire netting were accumulated and positioned around the planted area to try to deter land based wildlife from roaming freely in forging activity.

Plot 1Plot 2Plot 3

Recycled Shed 2

Autumn Harvest New Shoots

On the 28th October 2010 Ella Montt arrived at the Allotment Plot at MERL to find that the Cosmos plants had been frost bitten and were dead. The hardy Pot Marigold was still flowering. A frosty few days had given way to warmer weather again. There was a significant down turn in the amount of produce ready to be harvested from the Plot. The Brassicas remained small, the Chard and Kale’s production although not dead, had slowed to a minimum. What there was to be harvested would be limited to Carrots, Leeks and Parsnips for the next few weeks. It was realised that it would also need to be a gradual harvest to make the produce last through to December. The hungry gap will be coming early again and in the first months of the New Year, when the new growing seasons production will have barely started.  This fact will be relevant in the considered planning that needs to take place in deciding what to plant in the first months of the year and early Spring 2011. Although Ella Montt now has a second growing space at Allotment Plot 326, each Plot has to be managed for its own potential and it is unknown from season to season how productive each Plot will be. The garden at MERL is a more sheltered area; Plot 326 is on a more exposed field site on higher ground.

Harvest taken on 28/10/2010 was as follows: Parsnip Halblange White = 6oz = 160g; Carrot Amsterdam Forcing = 6oz = 160g; Leek Almera = 1oz = 20g; Rainbow Chard = 1oz = 20g; Kale Pentland Brig = 1oz = 20g. As the Carrots were removed more Pea Meteor were planted.

Leeks & Parsnips

It was a warm and windy day for the time of year on the 4th November 2010. At the Allotment Plot the ground seemed rather dry again. There had been no substantial rain. Ella Montt used a fork to dig some Parsnips and Carrots, then trimmed away the root vegetables leaves gathering the foliage to place in the brick composter. More Peas were planted in the space where the Carrots had been removed. The overwintering vegetables, the Onions, Broadbeans, some of the Garlic and Peas that had been planted in October were all starting to push their new green shoots up through the soil.

The days harvest was limited to: Parsnip Halblange White = 10oz = 280g; Carrot Amsterdam Forcing = 7oz = 200g; Leek Almera = 5oz = 140g.

Peas Meteor

11/11 at 11am year 2010 the casualties caused by war were remembered. The event of war affects not just the lives of humans, but also animals and environmental eco systems and this should never be forgotten. At times in war, humans have sometimes used whatever land or space they can to grow food to feed themselves, but depending on the nature of conflict this is not always possible. The destruction of the lives of people and the environment can be too great and too dangerous.

The weather on this day of remembrance seemed to echo the misery, darkness and suffering that war can create.  It was a dark day, rough with rain and gales. Ella Montt only spent a short time at the Allotment Plot in MERL’s garden, she quickly harvested Carrots and Parsnips, planted more Peas Meteor in the open space that the Carrots had left and then sort shelter.

Harvest for the day: Parsnip Halblange White = 1lb 1oz = 480g; Carrot Amsterdam Forcing = 1lb 10oz = 740g; Leek Almera = 6oz = 160g.

Today, on the 18/11/2010 at the Allotment Plot at MERL, the weather conditions were unsettled, a mixture of cloud, brief glimpses of blue sky with sunshine followed by short light rain showers driven by a brisk breeze. There was not freezing fog that started the week nor the more prolonged rain of yesterday.

The first row of Garlic is already growing well, some of the spiked shoots have already grown to about 6 inches. The new shoots from the Onions are not as advanced as the Garlic. The Broadbeans and Peas will both need to strive for survival against predators. The predators have stripped some of the Brassicas in the last week. Harvesting commenced with the removal of the last of the Carrots followed by the action of finishing planting the line of Peas. Leeks and Parsnips will need to be the staple crop enduring the next few weeks.

The Harvest: Parsnip Halblange White = 1lb 10oz = 740g; Carrot Amsterdam Forcing 1lb 1oz = 480g; Leek Almera = 6oz = 160g.

Garlic ShootsBroadbeans two