Sunday, August 26, 2007


I've discovered some new things about docks in my winter reading. Before this year, I knew merely that they have long roots and thus it is very difficult to completely remove a plant. In the UK I learnt that they are often found near stinging nettle and the dock leaf can take the sting out of a brush with nettle.

Recently I've upped my dock knowledge game. It is called a tap root, not just an ordinary undifferentiated root. And apparently docks can be good things in the garden. Because their roots go so deep, they bring minerals from deep in the soil to the surface and make them available to other plants. I haven't worked out exactly how this happens but I believe it to be perfectly possible.

Somewhere in my dock reading I got advised that dock leaves make good garden mulch. Maybe the minerals are in the leaves then? Anyway, when the children and I were having an edifying walk round the block yesterday, we wandered through what was once a community reserve project by the sand dunes and is now somewhat neglected. Amongst the native plants were lots of healthy big docks, not in seed so safe on the spread front. I gathered a few bunches and found a use for those nasty nappy bags you can buy at the supermarket for disposable nappy using holidays. Good size for bunches of dock leaves. So we'll be back down there sometime soon I hope.

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