Friday, 22 March 2013

Field Study's Man in E17 kisses the sky and digs compost

10th March 2013

The first of the sown seeds have germinated in the centrally heated interior of 'Lost and Found in E17'. Their serpent like forms quietly and mysteriously broke through the fibrous surfaces of tangled dark composts and it has all been very compelling for Field Study's Man in E17. He frequently found himself setting out to do something and then distracted by, and so lost in, the unfurling motions of the delicate seedlings. Today (11th March), further afield in the great outdoors, beyond the warmth of home, a biting easterly wind bore swarms of stinging snowflakes; every flurry of them swirled about the new town centre of Harlow and put pay to the field student's premature thoughts of spring. Why, sometimes the swarms were not just of ice but also of blossom, both strafing the shoppers hurrying in and about the chill-some arcades. We looked up briefly into the skies above the Essex town and all we saw were the behemoths of westerlies and easterlies colliding; ominous masses of water and air in fallout.

I hoped that all the despoiling wintry gusts had not found their way into the allotment to reap havoc with the new and delicate spring blossom that can, if it were warmer and drier, provide essential early nutrition for the honey bees in the apiary. I was disappointed not to see the bees out of the hive and foraging among early flowering fruit trees. 

9th March 2013

Still, Field Study's Man in E17 and his fellow peasants were not completely disheartened by the mysterious movements holding sway way above and about their heads. Our minds shifted from the sky to the soil and a new raised bed to restore and revive. Here 'Bed 1' has overgrown with couch grass, as can be seen in the photograph below. The end of the bed was occupied by three compost bays made of pallets. Some of the pallets had rotted and so rather than try and dig over the couch grassy bed - involving the very laborious task of removing the rhizomes - we decided to rebuild the compost bays further along the raised bed. The earth beneath the former site of the compost bays would, we hope, provide us with a fresh, fertile and relatively weed/couch grass free section in which to cultivate a crop this year - possibly runner beans. 

Bed 1 - overgrown with couch grass - 9th March

Dilapidated compost bays - 9th March

A new bed in the making - 9th March

A year or so of composting on the new section will, we hope, give us more of the soft dark crumbly soil we so enjoyed discovering beneath the heaps - a bed into which we might plant dreams of some mighty bean stalks. 

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