‘Nnoying Nettles

So this morning, wrapped up warmly, I headed out to the allotment. It’s been a busy week and I wanted to make inroads on weeding the raised beds that Geoff kindly has let us use the past couple of years. As I arrived, I ran into Ken. It was lovely to see him looking so well and we chatted about the weather as we waited for Cliff to park up.

I love sitting down with the guys at the allotment. You never know what the topic of conversation will be, but you can bet that within a few minutes of the debate or story starting that everyone would be involved. Cliff had an exciting story to tell me today – he has adopted a beautiful little ginger cat who he found malnourished and in a dreadful state in his workshop. His description of walking through the workshop and seeing a pair of green eyes watching him out of a coffin is enough to freak out most people. But Cliff is made of sterner stuff and pulled back the lid to find this bedraggled feline. It must be a stray, but it’s a lucky one as Cliff has been regularly putting out food and water for it and even has set up a warm snuggly bed for it in his workshop. It’s clearly a stray as it doesn’t let Cliff too close but we are confident he can tame it in time. I asked about a name and upon finding out it has ginger fur, I wondered whether Marmalade would do? It’s a relatively gender neutral name as Cliff wasn’t sure whether it’s a boy or girl. But I’ll suggest it tomorrow when I go down.

Once the world was set to rights, I headed down to feed the chickens. With everyone present and correct I rummaged for eggs and discovered one in the Nest House. The slow increase of daylight seems to be encouraging the girls to lay again. Although it will be quite some time before Rey and Polly start laying.

I decided to start on the biggest raised bed first. A quick glance sent me back to the shed to get my gloves as there were loads of nettles. Honestly, I don’t know how nettles grow so prolifically, but they are difficult to get out as the branches snap easily, making it difficult to get the root out. Tugging didn’t make much difference to begin with. Wriggling my fingers around the base helped to loosen it which enabled me to get the root out. What surprised me was quite how long and extensive the nettle’s root system is – it seemed to extend for miles!

The grass in the strawberry bed has been frustrating me for ages. With time running short, I did a quick job on the second bed, removing as much of the grass and the roots as possible. However, there’s still work to do to get rid of the roots fully. My final job was to pull out the remains of the chard in the bottom bed. Clearing the last two beds is my job for tomorrow, assuming the weather stays dry.


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