The weather was fine, enough even to doff my hoodie and sit in a sleeveless top while the sun was still shining. Yes, sit in the dirt, with my pronged fork and trowel, pulling out the weeds one by one. It's the only way.
Until I got to this bad boy. Then I had to change my gloves for the impermeable leather ones.
This is a nettle. Or, Stinging Nettle. "Stinging" is an understatement. Try, intense burning sensation where it touches your skin which eventually subsides. Eventually. Memorise this picture, and do not touch.
If I did ever have the misfortune to touch Poison Ivy back in the States (which I don't think exists here - this is our equivalent), I don't remember. I do remember this. I don't know where this came from, as it hasn't been there the last three years. Probably from next door which is horribly overgrown (no one cares about gardening over there). Ouch. Yowza.
So I was ready to tackle it, with gloves and diggers, ready to put it into the trug and bag it up to be taken away (with the numerous other weeds) by the council.
Silly kitty. I eventually shifted him, and the nettle. I shall be keeping a close eye on that spot in the hope that it doesn't reappear.
Just for the record, apparently if you can find a dock leaf (whatever that is) and apply to the affected area, it takes away the sting. Apparently, also, you can make nettle tea. For why? I don't know. It's also an ingredient in my hair conditioner. Nettle, Burdock and Avocado. "Nettle: to soothe and calm the scalp" (are they kidding?). The Burdock must be that dock leaf that is the antidote.
So, patch cleared. Time to apply the manure.
I ripped into the 80 litre bag, dumped it, and spread with a rake. This of course is the well-rotted manure you get from the garden centre, so it wasn't overly fragrant. Just a faint whiff, vaguely reminiscent of childhood summers spent on my grandparent's farm.
I've decided not to do the newspaper/bark chip deterrent, as it said on the bag that the manure itself can be used as a mulch, i.e. weed deterrent in itself. As planting is only 6 weeks away at most, I shall hoe, as necessary. Good exercise.
I could have dug it in properly but I'm from the Jamie Oliver school of thought: "let the worms do their work and take it down into the soil."
I'm hoping next weekend (Saturday only - working Sunday) I will actually be able to give the lawn it's first cut. It's looking healthy, fingers crossed (remember I laid that baby myself) - a little trim and a rake will do wonders!