Stinging Nettles & Raised Beds

stinging nettleWell I am in a fabulous mood right now as I have just charged up with a delicious fresh nettle infusion. I had forgotten how tasty stinging nettle is when fresh, it is nothing like the taste of a shop bought nettle tea bag I can assure you. It is really simple to make, for every mug full take a couple of fresh leaves, cover with hot water and leave for 10 minutes or so to brew and cool before drinking. Now is the time to start drinking regularly if you suffer from hayfever as stinging nettle helps allay the symptoms, the sooner you begin the more effective it is.

Really I wanted to make this post to announce that as of last week my weekly allotment column has returned to Stroud Life, and to share last weeks words with you:

The sun of the last few weeks has seen me and many others back at the allotments after a long, dreary and damp season of avoidance. With just a little weeding I am already sowing, and as I do so, have noticed all the activity of other plot holders, digging, and digging.

Many people are growing from raised beds, however looking at the size of most peoples beds I notice they Well proportioned raised bedsare not maximising the potential of this system. A bed that is never trodden upon and has generous layers of organic matter layered upon it to protect it and feed the soil over winter, does not need to be dug. Beds 1.2m (4ft) wide, any length, with a path between them that you can comfortably kneel on (for most people this will be around 60cm (2ft)) are optimal. The middle can be reached from either side, so plants can be packed tighter as you don’t need to leave space to tread, meaning, despite the wide paths, you can still grow just as much.

Each teaspoon of soil contains 10 million bacteria and 1 million fungi, digging damages this amazing microscopic ecosystem. Treading on soil before digging and during planting, and harvesting, compacts it. My patch has not been dug for 10 years and the soil is rich, crumbly and really productive.

If you are thinking of turning your growing space over to raised beds I highly recommend using the dimensions I have suggested, then you too can get ahead with your sowing while everyone else sweats and toils in the spring sun!

 

So those of you out there thinking of making raised beds now there is no excuse for not getting the dimensions correct 😉

For those of you who live in Stroud this weeks paper is out today in which I continue my ongoing aspaagus saga.

If you would like to know more about stinging nettle and its huge array of medicinal properties or hundreds of  other uses it features in both of my books The Medicine Garden and 20 Amazing Plants & Their Practical Uses.

 

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