After dinner chats a fortnight ago, I got the general gist from Jess and Kel that the weeds were starting to spread and celebrate their own existence. The ladies had each been out for a look and it seemed a proliferation of nettles had popped up along the sides of my row only.
Of course it’s particularly blasphemous to permies to criticise this little weed, being a plant that’s just so nutrient-rich. And in some circles, people actually like to grow it as a crop. Being high in iron, nitrogen and magnesium, they make a great compost tea. Or even human tea once you’ve boiled the little stingers away. And I myself have lapped up a bowl of nettle soup after first scoffing about the hot green water not being enough to fill my belly (it was).
After a search online, I discovered that one particularly enthusiastic farmer credits the nettle as medicine for urinary tract and prostate problems among loads of other ailments. All hail the nettle!
In our garlic patch what makes the nettle so notable is that it usually indicates high levels of nutrients in the soil. In that case then, I’ve somehow managed to procure a whole load of nutrients along the sides of my garlic bed. Where there is no garlic actually growing…. All I can assume is that in the last liquid spray fertiliser I was a bit too generous on the outside edges of the row instead of in the middle. That, or the hay mulch is doing it’s business keeping the nettles only on the outskirts of the crop.
Either way, the little nettle is surprisingly easy to pull out (assuming the soil is not dry, you’re wearing a solid pair of elbow length gloves and you’ve got a penchant for swearing at weeds).
All in all, a lovely day was had, a quick chat with Cam and some good hours put in. The path to enlightenment (and a glorious garlic crop) continues. I’m a happy farmer.