Saturday, 6 April 2013

Field Study's Man in E17 is lost in the plots

Plot A

Field Study's Man in E17 is still lost in the allotment. His mission is to map the terrain to express a sense of place more creative and nurturing than the lamentable, inadequate and incomplete mapping effort above does. 'Your map has reduced the place to a barren waste', the field student declared before setting off. Some of the photographs below feature areas of the allotment site which are beyond the severe boundary of that map. I hope the field student will return with a more comprehensive and searching map of 'the farm' (as some of our peasant collective are now calling the site) for I fear the photographs I took (on 30th March), as a way of documenting our progress, are still somewhat arid. The tenacity of winter is a poor excuse. 

I have two impossible explanations for the field student's absence; the first, that he did meet with the spirits of Victor Grippo, Kurt Schwitters and Robert Rauschenberg and they decided to form an artist colony beneath one of the sites' many and secluded piles of raw 'merz' material. The eminent art critic, Brian Sewell, has explored the excremental connotations of Schwitters' 'merz' in a review of Schwitters in Britain. It may be there is a 'super Wagnerian total-shit-art-work' somewhere here and I am working on improving my connoisseur-ship to be able to tell the difference.
The second explanation arises out of the curious case of my missing copy of, Home Economics (Wendell Berry). I suspect the field student took it (without asking) to use as a guide to the complexities of the interdependence of domesticity and wilderness - culture and nature, if you like. I imagine the field student has curled up with the book under a prickly pile of bramble, gooseberry and worcesterberry 'prunings'. Field Study's Man in E17 may not be aware the book is not mine; it belongs to the library and I have to return it soon.

If you spot the field student in the photos please do tell me as I will see if he is still there and so get the book back.

Saturday 30th March 2013

Bed 1 - liquid feed bins
The compost bays have been moved and rebuilt and the liquid feed (nettles & comfrey) bins rearranged.

Bed 1 - new raised bed/compost bays
Having moved the compost bays along - that section of the bed is ready for cultivation 

Bed 1a - Bramble Hedge
The blackberries have been pruned, thinned and also retrained via another tier.

Bed 1a - Bramble Hedge - picking path.
The reorganization of the liquid feed bins and the retraining of the bramble hedge has created easier access to the entire length of the hedge.

Bed 2
Posts have been installed in readiness for the netting of the kale and purple sprouting broccoli. 

Bed 2 - swede/rocket
Some early sowing of swede and rocket has been tried at this end of the bed.

Bed 3 - garlic
Garlic (saved from last year) was planted in November. Spinach was sown 3rd March at the end of the bed.

Bed 3 - parsnips
3 rows of parsnips were sown at the beginning of March

Bed 4 - perennials
e.g. wild garlic
Wild garlic, pulmonera, primroses, nettles and chives....

Bed 4 - blackcurrants

Bed 4 - rhubarb
A new bed established for rhubarb

All the beds have been treated with rock dust during winter and early spring. The beds have been covered to act as a mulch and to encourage earth worms towards the soil surface to further 'work' the rock dust into the soil. 

Bed 5
(sub tropicals)

Bed 5
(sub tropicals)

Bed 6

Bed 6

Bed 7

Bed 7

Bed 8

Bed 8 

Bed 9
(sub tropicals)

Bed 9
(sub tropicals)

Bed 10 - peas 

Bed 10 - broad beans

Bed 11 - legumes

Bottom Orchard
Lots of nettles grow here and have, in previous years, been harvested for liquid feed.

Bottom Orchard - dead hedge
Prunings from the forest garden and plot B piled up.

Bottom Orchard - pond

The pond is about a foot deep.

Plum Tree & new compost storage area

Herb Baths.
To be restored as growing containers.

Path + north side

Raspberry Patch - mulched & trained

Leaf Mould & feed bins
Couch grass, bind weed, dock and dandelion roots removed from raised beds are soaked and rotted in the bins and then composted.

Apiary - forest garden.
It looks as if each colony has survived the winter, with the aid of fondant feeds

Forest garden - path - south side
The bramble patch was encroaching quite heavily into the forest garden making it difficult to access and, amongst other things, causing some of the fruit trees to grow back over themselves. The brambles growing into the forest garden tree layer were cut back. This created a path around the forest garden.

Forest garden - willow dome
Very slow to get growing this year.

Plot B - no dig potato patch
Plot B has been 'fallow' (unworked) for two years and this year we will attempt to reclaim the plot by growing potatoes in a compost/straw/paper/card mulch - in baskets, tyres and raised beds.

at home in the potted bean fields.

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