…Don’t talk to me about dock plants!

Yes, they may be excellent against nettle stings, but they are utter swines to get out of the ground!  With root systems that seem to go on for ever, these beasts are evil!

Well, I’m sure they’re not evil per se, but trying to get them out without breaking the roots -and therefore having ‘Docks: The Next Generation’ to deal with is not for the fainthearted.

Diane was running a little late this morning -she had to go and pick a visitor up from Sheffield station, so I duly opened up and of course put the kettle on.Ex-strawberry bed.

As I waited for it to boil, I ‘had a little wander’ around the LEAF Plots, as I’m wont to do.  To the right here you can see that bed I nearly did myself a mischief over trying to get the stubborn ash sapling out.  I think it looks really good now Diane has ‘properly’ (…i.e. neatly..) finished it off, apart from a collection of sorry-looking strawberries that seem to have survived the onslaught of the other day.  If you look closely, you’ll see they are surrounded by sticks pointing up out of the ground.  Well, I don’t know who put them there (…but I can guess!..), but I’m sorry to say that merely putting sticks round them won’t stop them spreading, seemingly within days!  I tell you Dear Reader, if NASA took just a couple of these and had put them on the lander that’s on its ways to Mars as we speak, within a fortnight of it touching down, you’d have continent-sized strawberry beds.  On Mars.

Anyway, I digress.

Of course, the HVC (Honorary Vice-ChairCat) Mitzi arrived pretty soon after I’d arrived.  Of course, feeding her took absolute priority over everything else -even making the tea!Mitzi.

After she’d eaten, she kindly agreed to be my photographic model until Diane arrived.  If you click this image, you’ll get a larger one.  The full-sized one is available on request!  (She’s put a paw on the ‘Model Release Form’.)

Diane and her visitor arrived just as we’d finished our fun, so I quickly excused myself and went down to my plot.  Yes, it would have been great to sit for two or three hours chatting, but I didn’t want to get cold, and anyway, I had digging to do!The dock wilderness.

Now, I was going to repair the greenhouse door further while Ian (no relation) carried on with his digging, but as he couldn’t come today, I thought I’d keep properly warm and take some of these dock plants out.

To the right of this photo, you can see the area that Ian had started, but in the foreground, you can see ‘Dock City’.

I marked out a ‘box’ with the blue rope I found in the greenhouse, and you can see it here on the left.Lines marked out.

Again, the width was exactly the length of the old spade I rescued from the greenhouse.

Why did I mark it out? You shout.

Well, a bit of psychology here.  If I just started digging, with no end-marker in sight, it would very quickly overwhelm me, and I’d get very disheartened.  By marking out this ‘box’, I’d set myself today’s target, and at a glance, I could see how I was doing.  Maybe odd, but it certainly works for me!

I did this bed in three main stages.  The first stage was merely slicing off the top weed and grass with a sharp spade.  Of course, this also took the tops of the docks off, but I wasn’t worried.  I then went over the whole bed with a large fork, watching out for the mighty dock roots.Docks?  None here, sir!

The final stage was another forking, but this time, I paid much more attention to just what I was digging up.  Along with the dock roots, there was a fair amount of buttercup and the dreaded bindweed, and this all had to come out.

To the right here you can see this ‘bed’ just before I quit for the afternoon.

Diane had come down to help, and was busily ‘spot-weeding’ yet more docks from the right of this shot.

Tomorrow afternoon -after the ‘LEAF Morning’ and before the ‘LEAF Evening Fire’, I’ll carry on and hopefully get another ‘bed’ done where Diane has been today.

I also want to do some more planting.  Methinks onions and garlic on the other side of the path I cleared last week.

After all: You can never have too many onions or too much garlic.