Thursday, October 07, 2010

Unidentified crops and Martin Crane's chair

click photo to enlarge
It was all so much easier when I was growing up in the Yorkshire Dales: fields in that part of England were either rough grazing, improved pasture or meadows, and the only crop was grass. It's true that there were varieties of grass, but it was pretty easy to distinguish Nardus stricta from the fescues and bents, though separating the varieties of those two did usually defeat me. When I moved to eastern England it became harder - so many crops that look so different at different times of year. Being a vegetable gardener I had no trouble with the mainstream varieties - potatoes, sprouts, cauliflowers, cabbages, carrots, beans, peas, etc. Even the less common asparagus, kale and so on weren't a problem because they are quite unique in their shape and size. And wheat, barley and oats are certainly not difficult to identify once they've attained a certain maturity. No, it wasn't those that presented the problem, it was the leafy root crops and "green manure". Sugar beet, mangolds, turnips, and the like have, to the layman, big similarities, and differences that are not always apparent, or that can only be seen when they have been picked.

Today's photograph is a case in point. The field in the photograph looks like it was made from the ribbed, wool-like fabric that was the vogue for sofas and armchairs in the 1970s. It even has the same stripes and colours (think Martin's chair in "Frasier".) Just what is growing in that field? It will doubtless be obvious to someone because the colours and method of cultivation are very distinctive. But that knowledge hasn't been imparted to me yet. Is it green manure? Is it a root crop of the swede/turnip variety? Why are the lines different colours? Is it a consequence of chemical weeding? Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

I took this photograph over the hedge that surrounds a building that I'd gone to visit, one that will be the subject of a future post.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 150mm (300mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -0.7 EV
Image Stabilisation: On