Purple Sprouting Broccoli - Feb' 2013.
This is a slightly overdue report from the allotment as it has progressed into February. My excuse is that I have been buried in various seed catalogues and gardening books in order to devise and contribute a planting plan to the communal effort that is the or our allotment; an effort that aims to provide nourishment for some of the hearts, minds, bellies and souls of E17. The perennial wit of Field Study's Man in E17 perched on one of my studiously hunched shoulders and amused itself with 'plot plotting' comments. "You are a potty plot plotter for the pot, you are", he squawked, in ever increasing tongue tied up-iness. Fortunately he very nearly throttled himself with his tongue before I could throttle him with my hands. He fell off my shoulder and lay on the floor barely conscious and I was able to enjoy some respite from his tongue twisted twittery and get on with a plan. Just as the last raised bed presented itself for the delights of this year's seeds the revived and very irksome alter ego butted in with some distracting blather about something he had just finished reading. "For the sake of fecundity, will you please shut up and let me finish this plan!" I implored. I tried to explain the importance of what I was doing and resorted to a burst of fancy, even outright pretentiousness, when I told the field student that I regarded each raised bed as a form of musical notation; each bed a 5 line staff, every seed, plug and plant a note expressing harmonic progressions of exalting purity and plenty. Call me J S Beere or what!? "I can't hear myself plot!" I cried. "Who do you think you are, Beethoven?" was the field student's tasteless quip. I must have flushed red with embarrassment at this (self) expression of yet another ego. The field student obviously found the sibling ego hilarious and rolled around on the floor in fits of laughter. It is very difficult to finish any task such is the 'distractive' power of Field Study's Man in E17.
I stuck to my deadline and posted the interrupted plans to my fellow 'allotmenteers' in the hope of something of practical use in them. The first response was much more earthed or grounded than my elevated pretensions.
The 'blather' of the field student related to a letter he had read. The letter was written by Wendell Berry* and concerned rainfall, randomness and mystery in relation to soil. The field student banged my head against the wall in frustration at my inability to comprehend his account or understanding of the letter. I suggested he go away and come up with an explanation fit for a five year old. How can the mystery be explained?
While the field student is 'working' on his explanation I invite you to look at some pictures of the allotment as it was on the 3rd February.
Wesley is adding 'rockdust' to a raised bed planted with garlic.
Joe is making a new raised bed for rhubarb, with nifty use of some recently cut branches.
How the leaf mold basket has progressed since December.
A raised bed just treated with rockdust - a kilo' per sq metre.
The vestiges of the Great Forest of Kale.
Inside the polytunnel and our reestablished reconditioned raised beds.
The pond by the polytunnel continues to fill and has just been relieved of some overgrowth.
We washed the inside and outside of the polytunnel
Field Study's Man in E17, true to form, missed a bit because, he says,
it's a map of the inbetween where the earth meets the sky.
*Home Economics, Wendell Berry - Letter to Wes Jackson, 1982 (Counterpoint, USA: 1987)