Wednesday, 31 August 2011


Yesterday we went to our allotment after a week of unsettled rainy weather.
We thought the weeds would be knee high, but no. They hadn't really started after the near drought.


The beans however had started to take off, both  Borlotti and runner, so we had a nice picking from them. The beans are so pretty. white flowers on the Borlotti and red on the runners. I believe they were originally used as ornamental garden plants as were tomatoes or 'love apples'.

 The carrots had cheered up from their limp distressed state and were getting fat and juicy. We have done a lot better with carrots this year. The last two years they have not done well at all.         


The cabbages had also grown quite a bit. We took home a bag of main crop potatoes, 3 cabbages, sweet corn, beans, spinach, lettuce, mange tout peas and a load of weeds for the rabbits and chickens, very little wasted on our plot.

The sweet corn, although the plants are small has actually produced some nice cobs. This was the last year of growing sweet corn unless it actually produced something. The last three years it has been a waste of growing space. So a reprieve for another year.

We have noticed that after three years of rotavating, the docks and dandelions are very much fewer, mostly growing where the paths are by the compost bins. The weeds this year are annual grasses, Chickweed, Fat Hen, Sun Spurge and Shepherd's Purse. The only perennial weed still a nuisance is Couch Grass, but even that we are getting under control. Couch Grass is not useless, it is a good herb for urinary infections and soothes inflammation.

Most weeds have medicinal propeties, Dock is a purgative and the root can be used to obtain a yellow dye. Dandelion is a diuretic, hence it's common name of wet-the-bed, it is also useful in spring as a tonic and blanched leaves can be used as a salad leaf. Chickweed is full of iron and is often given to budgies, it also is a cooling and soothing herb that relieves itching, promotes healing and has anti-rheumatic properties. Fat Hen can be used as a vegetable as can Nettles. Shepherd's Purse can be used to stop bleeding. Sun Spurge however is toxic although the milky sap is said to be a wound healer.

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