Tag Archives: Allotments

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.


At another location, Ella Montt stood in the dark, gazing at distant stars in the night sky. The fixed up greenhouse had avoided total breakage. A wooden fence laid flattened, adjacent, but not quite touching the glass. Blades of grass must have resisted the winds force and intervened to stop the glass shattering back to sand. A tall evergreen tree stood nearby, light shone through a new opening between the branches where the wind had snapped off a bough.

12th January 2012 – At Allotment Plot at MERL, Ella Montt looked in to the future and saw that this part of the Plot would continue for another eight or nine human months, then fade and finish. Residues of the Plot would remain in cyberspace’s eternal digital format, but this particular Plot of land would no longer be cultivated by Ella Montt. Data will be collated, analysed and submitted.

Strong winds in the previous week (or so) had blown down the bamboo framing system that had remained on the Plot from the last summer. The large bamboo tripod wigwam was unaffected. An assistant had removed the collapsed bamboo to the side of the Plot so that it would not cause visual disturbance to the garden. Ella Montt’s arm was still damaged, but with more assistance the bamboo was removed from the Plot and placed in the rafters of the newly neatened shed. Ella Montt collected her tools that had been reallocated different positions within the shed system and repositioned the tools in a corner; then carefully the door was closed before further adjustments were made.

The Plot was very much asleep, in a state of hibernation. Unlike the previous two years the overwintered vegetable plants had failed so far to grow. Echoes of the word drought bounced across the Island, ricocheting of human built buildings and permeating human toiled land, as the plants large and small adjusted their moisture intake to maximize their life support systems. It was still very early in the growing year so there will be plenty of time for the vegetables to develop vibrant growth and catch up on their slow start.

A report had been over heard stating that in another part of the Island over sixty types of plant had recently been counted flowering early. It was already an exceptional year! This premature flowering was brought on by warmer weather conditions and although once deemed unusual, some humans were noticing this occurrence and wondering at the implications. Insects will become confused. Danger was implyed, as fruit flowers may be damaged if temperatures plummet. Harvests can be affected if blossoms are too early. The natural world would need to be tampered with by more human intervention to trick plants in to producing product for the human needs. The Planet might not like this, and so will allow Nature to continue to sabotage itself under the option of free will that is written in to their agreement. Auto destruct might become inevitable. This year is 2012.

Harvest: Leeks Blue Green Winter = 5oz = 150g.

21st January 2012 – Allotment Plot 326 – It was a windy day, and warm for the position on the Planet and the time of its spinning cycle. The sky was darkening in to shadow of night. Cardboard and newspaper was spread across areas of the Plot to lessen the vibrant growth of undesired plants in the planting areas of the Plot. Other human processed tree products that were still in the form of wood, but adjusted, weighted down the human processed tree products that will act as mulch covering the soil. Parsnips were dug from the earth. Heavy frost had killed the young Globe Artichokes, the plants skeleton forms laid wasted on the ground.

Harvest: Parsnips Halblange = 3lbs 12oz = 1.7Kg.

26th January 2012 – Allotment Plot at MERL – It had rained, and now the sky was cloudless, a shade of winter clear blue. The soil was wetted after a long dry spell. It hardly seemed worth harvesting some of the remaining leeks, because of their slenderness, but a source of vital calcium is contained in their leaves. Perhaps the leeks left rooted to the soil would grow some more now it had rained? (The Leeks at Allotment Plot 326 are much bigger in size). Spikes of Garlic and Onion were starting to emerge from the soil, their germination seemed very late compared to the last two growing years. Several Celeriac plants were left in the ground; they had not produced substantial bulging of the roots.

There was a change in the Plot that was subtle, yet concise. The Plot had been interfered with, but not by Ella Montt. Sage plants had been cut back and other material altered. The bamboo tripod had been removed but then replaced. Strange alterations that will not be continued.

Ella Montt took a bag of Spelt and scattered it across the Plot in an area next to the Brick Composter. Spelt is ancient wheat and more easily digestible than the wheat that has permeated a large proportion of human’s nutritional diets in this contemporary era. There was no sign of the Sweet Potato slips towards the central area of the Plot, or of the Peas or Broad Beans planted to overwinter. It is hard to predict what the harvest will be for this growing year; the view in the crystal ball was distant and hazy. Planting and harvesting is a constant experimentation. This years Seed Potatoes arrived in a box. It is too early yet to plant them in the ground. EB gazed out the reading room window; Ella Montt nodded to her and then returned the tools to the shed.

Harvest: Leeks Blue Green Winter = 2oz = 65g.

Zombie Tomatoes, Fertilized Squash, Compost

2nd September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – For the human it was a very warm day, in an exterior context, such as the garden, but not if placed in an interior, where it seemed much cooler and autumnal. Ella Montt crouched next to the Plot. Her body moved slowly around the edge, redefining and removing plant material, then the plant residue was gathered and deposited in to the Brick Composter. The watering can was needed and fetched from the Shed. There had been no rain since sometime last weekend, when there had been a fair amount that was an assistant in mud making for the Festival.

Ella Montt dug up the rest of the Potatoes. EB examined them carefully. The Potatoes were with out disease or skin blemish aside from a few marks of damage received from the garden fork. EB was satisfied with the result. Beans were harvested. Unfortunately, most of the Squash plants were dissolving and composting themselves in to the soil as a result of cold weather. The Tomatoes looked without blight, but were mainly still green. A profusion of Pot Marigold flowers were suddenly lit up by sunshine that fell to Earth and illuminated the Plot, but this illumination did not last for long and the vibrant orange flower objects were darkened as the sun disappeared behind a grey cloud, shading the Plot. Ella Montt scattered a mix of Chard, Lettuce and Wintergreen Cabbage seeds that are suited to September planting, in the place that the Potatoes had been extracted from. Companion Planting seeds heads were gathered to be saved for future Guerilla Gardening broadcasting (at a later date).

Harvest: Seeds from Companion Planting, Calendula Pot Marigold, Cosmos Cosmea, Borage, Chamomile = 3oz = 80g; Tomatoes = 0.5oz = 10g; Potato Eve Balfour = 6lb 3oz = 2.8Kg; Bean (French Climbing) = Blauhide = 8oz = 220g; Neckarqueen and Blue Lake – 1.5oz = 30g; Barlotta Di Fuoco = 4.5oz = 130g; Beans (Runner) Enamor = 14oz = 400g.

5th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – The last of the blighted Tomato plants were removed, some Tomatoes were saved from the deadly disease. A blighted Tomato appears to transform its flesh rapidly in to that of a Zombie, an un-dead Tomato, the fruit becomes ugly and rotten with decay putrefying other Tomatoes it comes in contact with. Blight is a deathly, airborne fugal disease from which there is no cure apart from fire, burial or very high temperature composting that will nullify the toxicity and eradicate the spores. The Potato crop remained perfect, untouched by the blight, as the final tubers were removed from the soil.

Harvest: Potato Charlotte and Sante = 10lb 5.5oz = 4.72Kg; 2 x Beetroot Bolivar = 5oz = 140g; Spinach Perpetual Leaf Beat = 7oz = 200g; Oriental Greens Tai Sai = 3.5oz = 90g; mix of Chard = 4oz = 110g; Beans (French Dwarf) Royalty = 6oz = 160g; mix of Beans (French Climbing) Blue Lake, Neckarqueen, Barlotta Di Fuoco, Blauhide and (Runner) Enorma = 11.5oz = 360g; Kale Red Russian Curled = 2oz = 50g; Tomatoes = 6oz = 180g.

8th September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Ella Montt drew sketches of the Allotment Plot with pencil on a length of recycled paper (30cm x 400cm). An observation was made of the drawing as it wrapped itself over the Bamboo frame the surrounds the Plot. The drawing or the paper was then folded in to the Brick Composter to brake down in to the soil. If art is part of all objects that inhabit the surface of the Planet, all objects being part of nature, whether or not they are shaped or unshaped by humans, then returning the drawing to the soil will speed up the process that art can be made by perpetuating new resources for human animation. The human world is overloaded with commodities; green businesses produce more commodities, which strive to be more centered on the best use of planet resources yet remain commodities. There is no escape (as yet) from the perpetual thinking that business has to thrive and economies must boom, as human breeding approaches the figure of seven billion occupying the planet. The humans forget sometimes that they are all animated pieces of soil and will return to the soil and compost when their animated time has run out. Meanwhile the process of humans desire for objects, (which is basically material borrowed from the Planet, then rearranged in to assemblages that become other material/ objects/ commodities), can extinguish other human and non-human life forms. William Morris lent over muttering words from his utopian novel explaining that humans realized eventually that the obsession with commodity and market growth would eventually dissolve. It was a dark and cloudy day, it became darker and darker.

Harvesting commenced: mix of Beans (French Climbing and Runner) = 14oz = 400g; Wild Rocket, Coriander Santos and Chives = 2.5oz = 70g; seeds from Companion Planting Calendula Pot Marigold and Cosmos Cosmea = 1.5oz = 35g; Tomatoes = 6.5oz = 180g. The Tomatoes at Allotment Plot at MERL were not afflicted with blight.

14th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – The night was extremely cold for the time of year. The fear of frost started again. Harvest: Courgette Patriot F1 x 2 = 8.5oz = 240g; Courgette Cocozelle x 2 = 2lb 14.5oz = 1.32Kg; Oriental Greens Tai Sai = 5.5oz = 150g; Beetroot Bolivar = 2lb 12oz = 1.22Kg; Beans (French Dwarf) Royalty 4oz = 120g; a mix of Spinach and Chard = 8oz = 230g; Beans (French Climbing) = Barlotta Di Fuoco = 2oz = 50, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake 4oz = 110g; Beans (Runner) Enamor = 5oz = 140g.

15th September 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Ella Montt had experienced fear, during the darkness of the previous two nights. A sense of doom had accompanied the contemplation of the recently waning gibbous moon that hung first low as a golden ball close to the planet just above the human rooftops and trees, and then high, piercingly white in its intensity in the upper hemisphere with stars reflecting the white light in their pinpointed geometries. The nighttime temperatures had plummeted and there had been weather reports the there could be ground frost in rural areas. Both MERL and Allotment Plot 326 were in rural areas. MERL is in itself a place of rural areas, because it is a Museum of English Rural Life, yet the garden has some shelter, because the buildings on two and a half sides surround it. Allotment Plot 326 is on higher exposed ground that is wide open to the elements; there is no defense from the sky. The clarity of the cloudless atmosphere welcomed the onslaught of freezing temperatures that drop through infinity to hit the planets surface, but this time the vegetables plants were saved and the temperature remained above zero, for now. Parsnips would welcome the frost, because it increases the sweetness of their root, but for other plants frost would mean annihilation, a sudden death, deconstruction of their vibrant matter would become inevitable and a signal to return to the soil from whence they came. Ella Montt was aware that tragedy would need to be avoided, monitoring of temperatures resumed.

The early summer in April 2011 seemed long ago. At Allotment Plot at MERL, the one Squash plant that looked like it might support a fruit had yet to be successfully fertilized. A female flower rotted on the vine, whilst another was unsure if a bee would pollinate it. Ella Montt searched for a male flower to assist in the operation, finding one she transported pollen to the waiting female flower. Some of the other Squash plants at Allotment Plot 326 had successfully produced fruit, although not as many as anticipated, and also inside the fixed up green house at another location, both Squashes and Cucumbers were in the process of successfully production.

The Brick Composter had started to take on a plant life of its own. The bricks were accumulating a green covering.

The colours of green were beginning to fade, but were still punctuated with the pulsating colours of the Companion Planting. The Cosmos Orange Cosmea was flowering, its flower is different to the pink and white Cosmos Cosmea. Across the garden the established perennials were vivid in their autumn shades. Ella Montt thinned out some of the Pot Marigolds so that light could penetrate the Tomatoes ad ripen their fruits. Water was applied to the Plot and plant residue gathered in to the Brick Composter. Harvesting commenced.

Harvest: a mix of Companion Planting seeds heads, Calendula Pot Marigold, Cosmos Cosmea and Chamomile = 1oz = 20g; Tomaotes = 1lb 7oz = 650g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 1.5oz, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake 2.5oz = 70g, Barlotta Di Fuoco = 3oz = 80g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 9oz =250g.

16th September 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt had recently uncovered a large mound of compost that had been covered for a year by a tarpaulin. The Compost had broken down in to new soil. The soil had been dispersed, but not removed from the area. Ella Montt was in the process of adding more material to the compost that included grass, nettles, comfrey and other excessive plant residue that was growing on the Plot. Over the next few months Ella Montt desires to organize composting strategies at Plot 326 and digging will commence in areas of the Plot that have so far remained uncultivated. Cardboard Compost Lasagna will aid in the break down of the soil to assist in its workability. The next growing year from October, when Garlic and Onions will be planted, shall seek to optimize the Plot. This last year two areas of the Plot remained un-planted, 20011-12 will re-engage with the performance of productivity in order to off-set the lack economic growth in the public sector of commodity, the human obsession of which remains futile in the history of the universe.

Harvest: Squash 1 x Buttercup = 3lb = 1.37Kg, 1 x Green Hokkaido = 1lb 14oz = 850g.

Blight and Harvest

18th August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Torrential rain delayed and limited Plot interaction. Ella Montt assessed the cultivation field considering the Plot, and then searched in her bag for packets of seeds. Ella Montt broadcasted seeds on to the soil in the place that had been emptied of Potatoes the week before. These seeds were Rainbow Chard and Wild Rocket. No Potatoes could be removed that day, because the tools were locked in the Shed and there was no access to the key. The Plot was saturated with water.

Harvest: a mix of Herbs (to be dried) 2.5oz = 70g; Bean (French Climbing) Barlotta Di Fuoco = 2.50z = 70g, Blauhide = 5oz = 140g, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 2oz = 30g.

22nd August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326, the fence suddenly surrounded the Plot with the collaborative assistance of R&P. A second gate was made and installed. Rabbits will now need to use stealth mode to approach the growing vegetation, hungry birds on the other hand are free to come and go, but not particularly welcome if they destroy vegetables. The original apple tree received an extreme pruning.

Harvest: Beetroot Bolivar = 1lb 15oz = 880g; a mix of beans = 5oz = 140g, Perpetual Spinach and Chard Mix = 4oz = 98g; Potatoes Charlotte = 4lb 6oz = 2Kg; 4 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 4lb 6oz = 2Kg; Tomato Gardeners’ Delight = 4oz = 100g.

25th August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – You (the Reader) may not be aware of the fact that this particular year, 2011, has up until now been most erratic and strange for growing vegetables. It was very dry and warm from March thru April, then there was frost and rain. More recently the nights have been very cold for the time of year. Some growers proclaimed much of the Garlic although successfully harvested had since rotted (an amount, but not all of Ella Montt’s Garlic remained unblemished, an unfortunate amount had been composted). Some growers proclaimed their Onions had rotted (most of Ella Montt’s Onions were unblemished). Some seeds just did not grow. Blight is in the process of destroying the Tomatoes at Plot 326, but so far is not affecting the Tomatoes at Allotment Plot at MERL. Blight is not affecting the Potatoes at either Plot. The Quality of the Potatoes is excellent. Ella Montt was striving for vegetable sustainability, as part of what brook & black call practical planting practice, which Ella Montt includes in the expanded Cultivation Field methodology.

Harvest: Potato Eve Balfour = 5lb 9oz = 2.53 Kg; Beans (Runner) Enorma 9oz = 240g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 6oz = 170g, Barlotta = 5oz = 130g, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 2oz = 60g, (the last two Bean plant harvest rates seem particularly low at both MERL and 326, where as in other parts of the country the harvest rate was high, the reason for this is unknown, but can be credited to the affects of the weather and climate conditions). There has been an extraordinary number of cold nights this summer, where the temperature has dropped below 10C.

28th August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Most of the Tomatoes were harvested green, because of the rapid deterioration of the plants through Blight. Unfortunately the crop failure could not be stopped. A few days later the Tomatoes were composted because they were affected with Blight. The Plants will be burnt. What a waste, but external forces could not be stopped.

Harvest: Tomato, mix of Gardeners’ Delight, Koralik, Brandy Wine, Marmande and Chadwick = 6lb 14.5oz = 3.11Kg; 1 x Apple Cevaal = 5oz = 140g; 1 x Pumpkin Cinderella = 3lb 2oz = 1.41Kg; 1 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 70z = 190g, 1 x Beetroot Bolivar 7.5oz = 200g; Kale Red Russian Curled = 3oz = 90g; Beans (French Climbing) Blauhide = 3oz = 80g, Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 4oz = 100g; Beans (Runner) Enorma = 7oz = 190g; Potatoes Charlotte and Sante = 22lb 9.5oz = 10.26Kg.

Wild and Self-Seeded

3rd August 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt almost randomly broadcasted a mix of seeds in the cleared area where the Peas had previously been. The area was still surrounded by shading netting. The mix of seeds consisted of Carrot Amsterdam Forcing, Calabrese Baumont F1, Cabbage Wintergreen, and Oriental Tai sai. It was hard to know if any of theses seeds would germinate and grow. Ella Montt’s success as a grower seemed to vary. Through the combination of both Allotment Plots, a level in vegetable self-sufficiency had currently been met and stabilized. The soil at Allotment Plot 326 is more fertile than Allotment Plot at MERL, yet vegetables such as Peas and Beans seemed to be just as successful at either Plot. What has become noticeable at Plot 326 is the ability of the Plot to produce substantial amounts of Courgettes and Squashes (which are also forming). Allotment Plot 326 has prolific self-seeded wild plant growth that is not yet tamed. Allotment Plot at MERL’s plant growth looks wild. Its cultivation although tamed by the edges of the Plot, has no regimented construction or uniformity. The plants do not exist in straight lines, (as archival ‘how to grow’ gardening material suggests), or if the lines are apparent, they dissolve in to wild often self-seeded, Companion Planting.

Harvest: a mix of Peas = 5oz = 140g; a mix of Perpetual Spinach and Chard = 6oz and 160g; 1 x Courgette Cocozelle = 1lb 10oz; 5 x Courgette Patriot F1 = 2lb 9oz = 1.18kg, Potatoes Madeleine = 1lb 14oz = 870g.

4th August 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – It had rained all morning giving relief after a few hot, dry days. Ella Montt redefined the Plot, removing plant residue to the Brick Composter. The greens of the vegetable plant material and Companion Planting blended with each other to produce a mass of interdependent organisms. It was hard to see where one plant ended and another began within the confinement of the Plot and the density of planting contributed to the survival of the fittest. Ella Montt followed the paths of each Squash plant to their roots and then encouraged the vines to grow up the bamboo canes to seek more sunlight. A few of the Squash and Tomato plants that had been transplanted earlier in the season looked like they will not survive. The effects of too many cold nights have taken their toll. Plants that had taken longer to grow and that had been transplanted at a later date were pulsating with life on their way to maturity.

Harvest: Runner Beans Enorma = 8oz = 210g; French Bean (Climbing) Neckarqueen and Blue Lake = 3.5oz = 40g, Blauhide = 1oz = 20g; Rainbow Chard = 1.5oz = 40g; Wild Rocket = 2oz = 50g.

Raindrops fell to Earth

20th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: 4 x Courgettes = 1lb 13oz = 640g; Shallots Red Sun = 1lb 7oz = 640g; Peas = Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 10.5oz = 290g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 2oz = 40g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder, Ambassador and Meteor = 3oz = 80g.

21st July 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – As Ella Montt arrived at the Plot, menacing black clouds over-head, opened and vertical raindrops fell to Earth in profusion. Ella Montt went to the Library Reading Room to ponder rock phosphate, which is used as plant fertilizer, and is also a “non-renewable” resource that is in danger of running out (like oil), because of human consumption. Earth as a planet is a living thing, and it is possible that it can regenerate its self and produce more oil and rock phosphate, but how many thousands or millions of years is needed to break down and compress enough vibrant matter to renew these resources that have been depleted so recently?

Ella Montt looked out of the window across the garden towards the Plot. It was still raining. The pollen on the plants flowers was wet. The Bees were hiding trying to keep their wings dry. Humans who use non organic methods of cultivation can contribute to the decline in Bee populations by using common household insecticides that contain ingredients that are toxic to Bees. The rain continued to fall.

Harvest: mix of the first Climbing Beans = 40z = 120g.

24th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: 1 x Courgette = 7oz = 200g; Potatoes Madeleine = 2lb 14oz = 1.31kg; 2 x Plum Victoria = 3oz = 80g.

28th July 2011 – At Allotment Plot at MERL, it was pleasantly warm. The Companion Planting, particularly the orange Pot Marigolds were flowering vibrantly. Sunflowers co-existed next to Cosmos. Mint and Strawberry runners were making their way across the Plot, establishing new plants at punctuated points of root construction. The Plot was in need of water, so Ella Montt fetched the watering can. Tomato, Squash and Climbing Bean plants were also opening their petals to receive winged visitors interested in taking part in their sexual reproduction process that will lead to the Plants becoming bearers of fruit. Although it was summer, the nights were still sometimes very cold for the time of year. Cold temperatures at night can be a plant growth inhibitor. Ella Montt scattered Rocket and Wild Rocket seeds near the Celery. Two Jays and a Magpie attempted to visit the Mulberry tree. Ella Montt made a signal to EB, (who was leaning out of the window), that the Potatoes would soon be ready for harvesting. EB nodded in return.

Harvest: a mixture of Climbing Beans = 7oz = 200g; Rainbow Chard = 2oz 50g, Mint and Sage.

29th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt pulled up most of the Pea plants and placed them in the compost. On the soil, where the Peas had been growing, was empty Pea pod shells, left by other Beings that liked to eat Peas.

Harvest: a mix of Peas = Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 1oz = 40g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 3oz = 80g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder,  Ambassador and Meteor = 3.5oz – 290g; Dwarf Beans Royalty = 1oz = 40g; 5 x Courgette = 4lb 6oz = 2kg.

31st July 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – Harvest: French Bean (Climbing) Blue Lake = 0.5oz = 10g, Blauhide = 0.5oz = 10g, Neckarqueen 1oz = 20g; Runner Bean Enorma = 1.5oz = 35g.

31st July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: 4 x Courgette = 2lb 2oz = 900g.

Peas, Fence, Frame, Destruction

10th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 5oz = 150g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 5.5oz = 160g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder, Ambassador and Meteor = 1lb 3oz = 550g.

12th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – R&P helped to erect some of the fence around the Plot. The first gate was placed in position. The fence that was being erected around Plot 326 might suspend the rabbits from eating any plant they desired, but it would not deter the growth of unwanted plants.

A new allotment holder had moved in to the plot next to 326 and placed carpet off-cuts on the soil to try to hinder the growth of unwanted plants, such as the brambles. Some seeds can live in the soil for many years before they germinate. It is a slow process to eradicate perennials and is better to calm their growth by not allowing the seeds to spread over the Plot. However many plants that are considered weeds can be beneficial in all kinds of ways, by attracting biodiversity, acting as green manure, fixing nitrogen, activating compost or acting as food for the vegetable plants.

14th July 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – It is two weeks since Ella Montt had visited this part of the Plot. The garden had been involved in graduation activity. Ella Montt brought black bamboo canes to the Plot, in order to construct a frame that would connect the six smaller bamboo assemblages together. The day was warm, day and there was no chance of rain. The soil was parched. Ella Montt attached the black bamboo canes with stripes of plant material connecting the upper part of the series of six bamboo assemblages. The larger Bamboo Wigwam remained central to the Plot within the frame of the other bamboo. the Climbing Beans at the base of the Wigwam had not yet started to ascend the frame.

The plant residue in the Brick Composter had dried out. Ella Montt harvested the Comfrey and Nettle leaves that were growing there and scattered them over the compost as an activator. The other companion plants were flowering, but there was no sign of the orange Cosmos yet, only the pink and white. A Bee visited the Cosmos. Nigella (Love-in-the-Mist) was flowering within the Plot although it had not been planted there.

The first few Climbing Beans were harvested and a good handful of Wild Rocket. Harvest: an assortment of 10 x Climbing Beans = 2oz = 40g; Wild Rocket = 4oz = 100g.

15th July 2011 – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Peas Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 1lb 1oz = 480g, Oregon Sugar Pod II = 2.5oz = 60g, a mix of Kelvedon Wonder, Ambassador and Meteor = 8oz = 220g.

Unknown beings continued to eat the Pea leaves in a destructive manner. The destruction was viewed by from Ella Montt, but not by the unknown beings, who consumed the Pea leaves as their vital food source, and left the Pea pods undamaged.

Mid Summer

23rd June 2011 – Allotment Plot at MERL – One of the Comfrey plants in the Brick Composter was starting to grow out of the Composter. Comfrey can be harvested regularly through the growing season to be used as a plant food and as a compost activator.

Ella Montt adjusted some of the Climbing Beans to encourage them to grow up the Bamboo. The Beans that had been planted by the Bamboo looked healthier than the plants grown to seedlings and then planted out. Ella Montt harvested a mixture of Peas and also the onions, because their foliage had collapsed. Some of the Carrots had failed; they were removed to the Brick Composter. It is a very unpredictable growing year. Seeds were harvested from the herb plants Chive and Sage. The Borage, Cosmos and Pot Marigolds plants were coming out, a number had self-seeded from last years planting, others Ella Montt had placed on the Plot. Ella Montt planted six Tomato plants where she had removed the Carrots, these were; 2 x Chadwick, 2 x Koralik, and 2 x Brandywine, .

It was Midsummer, across the garden was a braying Donkey, and a Wall appeared with a chink through which Pyramus and Thisbe attempted to kiss.

23rd June – Allotment Plot at MERL – Harvest: Onions Swift = 2lb 10oz = 1.2kg; Peas, Ezeta’s Krombek Blauwschokker = 2oz = 60g, a mix of the green Peas = 13oz = 380g.

26th June – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Kale Red Russian Curled = 4oz = 100g; Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II = 2oz = 60g.

29th June – Allotment Plot 326 – Ella Montt planted more Climbing and Dwarf Bean seeds. Birds or other wildlife seemed to be eating and flattening the leaves of the Peas. The Pea plants looked chaotic, but luckily were producing produce. Ella Montt made a mental note for next year that it was not enough to put a net fence around the Peas with sticks for supports. The Peas needed to be able to climb up strong supports, be fenced in and have anti bird CDs hanging as a defense mechanism. So far Ella Montt had not deployed any Heavy Metal CDs at Allotment Plot 326, this was perhaps a mistake on her part that needs to be rectified. If it is one-thing birds do not seem to sing a long to, it is heavy metal music. The Perpetual Spinach that was already growing on the Plot when Ella Montt acquired it, is developing seeds, which will be allowed to continue to form until ready for harvesting and seed saving.

Harvest: Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II = 7oz = 180g.

30th June – There had been Wood Imps that came through a wormhole portal by the woods next to the Allotments. The Imps had caused havoc by breaking things. Captain Swing was unimpressed. Ella Montt and Captain Swing had seen some of the Imps watching them while they were working. The Imps were hiding behind piles of compost and then a shed. Ella Montt had spoken to the Wood Imps that she found in a hollow under a pile of large oak trees that had experienced deforestation. The Imps were not yet mature. A whisper passed around that the Allotment that the Wood Imps were seized and taken to a Panopticon.

At Allotment Plot at MERL, William Morris was waiting by the doorway wearing an elaborate print in shades of black and gold. The morning started off bright and sunny, but by midday dark clouds started to assemble over head.

Ella Montt planted out the last of Celery and Celeriac seedlings, (the seedlings that were planted at Plot 326 were not doing very well). Ella Montt started to remove the rest of the Pea plants, because they had stopped flowering and were descending to the ground. The Peas were harvested and the Pea plant residue was placed in to the Brick Composter. Slugs and snails that had been hiding under the Pea foliage were moved to different locations in the garden. In the place where Ella Montt had removed the Peas, she planted out four more Tomato plants, these were; 2 x Koralik and 2 x Brandywine.

Ella Montt inspected the Climbing Beans at each Bamboo station, then the remaining Bean seeds were taken from the packets and planted next to the Bamboo. At both Allotment Plots, although it was still early in the season, Ella Montt remained unconvinced that the Climbing Beans were going to grow successfully this year.

The sun came out and there was no rain, so Ella Montt fetched the watering can from the shed. Borage, Pot Marigold, Cosmos and a Dwarf Sunflower had opened their petals to flower, as had male Squash flowers, but not yet female Squash Flowers. Ella Montt broadcasted a mixture of seeds around the Plot, they consisted of Fenugreek (to act as green manure), Leaf Beat Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard, Perpetual Spinach, Rhubarb Chard, Dill, Onion Ramrod, Coriander Santos, and Florence Fennel Romanesco.

Harvest: Peas (a mixture) = 1lb3oz = 540g.

4th July – Allotment Plot 326 – Harvest: Peas Oregon Sugar Pod II = 7oz = 200g.

Comfrey Soup

June 20 2011 – At Allotment Plot 326, Ella Montt placed the netting (that she had removed from around the Peas at Allotment Plot at MERL), around the Climbing Beans. A fence around Plot 326 had still not been constructed. A crack had appeared in the Utopian dream. Ella Montt did not have the time to manage every aspect of Plot 326, wildlife was free to roam and eat whatever it liked. The weeds were growing relentlessly. It will take several years to stop their onslaught. Time, that at this current moment, Ella Montt did not have, so the Plot thickened of its own accord and was barely controllable. Seeds that had been planted with good intent to grow in to vegetables barely made it to seedling stage before they were consumed by an invisible force field that was Nature.

Ella Montt made Comfrey soup in buckets to act as plant food. Left for several days the liquid becomes more than pungent!

June 15th and 16th

The previous evening (June 15th), Ella Montt had travelled with William Morris up the river to visit a group of humans who wished to hear Morris speak at a social space. The place was where it is oval down by the gasworks, a short walk from the river. Whilst Morris spoke, they had left his rowing boat tied up by a bridge in Vauxhall. The humans at the social were a mixed group of individuals who sort alternatives to the labour machines that they were reliant upon. William Morris explained the folly of over production or mass production of the commodity as opposed to the process of hand-printing wall paper and fabric in complicated 32 colour block designs. It was not just the aesthetic; the process of which although exacting was nevertheless purposeful and time consuming, but in terms of employment in time hours it allowed an hour or two left over in the day for cultivation of plant matter at the allotment. After the social event, Morris was sleepy and Ella Montt had to row back down the river, so she switched the boat to fast forward mode and they returned in no time. William Morris rolled himself in his carpet and slumbered peacefully under the Mulberry Tree. Ella Montt left him there and tuned into an electronic headset and processor.

June 16th – At Allotment Plot at MERL, Ella Montt removed the net that had been surrounding the Peas, then harvested Broad Beans and Peas. It was no accident that the words “botany” and “starch”, kept repeating themselves over and over again in Ella Montt’s head, she was under the influence of prescheduled programming and imagining the starch molecules moving inside the living plants. If she stared hard enough, perhaps she would see them. It is the plant starch that is part of photosynthesis that is keeping us all alive. The ability of plants to convert light, oxygen and water and to absorb carbon dioxide never ceased to amaze Ella Montt as she worked in the garden.

Eve Balfour strolled across the garden to check on her Potatoes and ask about the Oak Trees seedlings that Ella Montt was collecting from sprouting acorns at Plot 326. Beuys was interested in Ella Montt planting them in the field at the Farm to replace the collapsed 1000 year old tree. More plant residue was removed from one area of the Plot and placed in the Brick Composter to become another part of the Plot, an evolving ecotope. Ella Montt planted out Celery Tall Utah and Celeriac Ibis seedlings echoing the action that had taken place at Allotment Plot 326 on the 11th June. 1 x Koralik Tomato plant was planted within the row of Tomato plants beneath the large Bamboo Tripod.

John Ray, Carl Linnaeus, Philip Miller were standing across the garden discussing loudly their theories and evidence that constructed the science of plants. The Three had recently watched a BBC television program on Botany that presented their work to a 21st century audience and they were somewhat excited about re-comparing their findings even though they were several hundred years old. Tansley (also a Botanist), appeared at MERL’s reading library window. He climbed out and crossed the lawn so that he could converse with The Three on Ecosystems and the plant as a machine.

Meanwhile, Ella Montt had shifted 6 x 9ft dark Bamboo canes to MERL’s garden to become part of the Plot. One 9ft cane was added to each of the six smaller Bamboo cane arrangements so that they individually now contained four sticks of Bamboo. Ella Montt tied each Bamboo cane arrangement together with stripes of strong plant material that had been taken from a tropical plant near the fixed-up-greenhouse at another location. The Bamboo constructions became stronger and connected to the energy levels above the Plot.

Ella Montt removed slugs and snails from the Peas and placed them in a different area of the garden. Pot Marigold and Borage flower buds were starting to open. The visitors to the garden drifted off to their resting places. Then a vent in the sky opened and it rained.

Harvest: Broad Beans = 4oz = 100g; Peas (various mix) = 1lb = 450g.