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.