This morning I finally made it to the allotment to do something other than gaze happily and show it off to friends and family. I think I probably need a skip to dispose of all the assorted trash that has built up there. I wanted to trim the hedge back but there were areas where the footing definitely wasn't safe. I need to find out what is rotting below the undergrowth before venturing up to the hedge line. It took me 40 minutes to walk there but there are buses (81 and 88A) which I will catch from now on. I spent an hour and a half clipping and digging and have 7/8th cleared one tiny bed, as you can see. The bed was mainly supporting docks, dandelions, buttercups, wild strawberry and more couch grass than seems at all reasonable. I stopped at 7/8th cleared because I was concerned I wouldn't be able to walk home if I didn't.
In the areas further in there were a fair number of young stinging nettles. This is a good thing because it tells me the land is fertile. The buttercups indicate wet ground. The soil seems quite reasonable; a tendency to clay but not too heavy. There is also, to judge by the tubs strewn around, a slug problem, but that just seems to be the case anywhere is Sheffield.
Eventually, having spent some time on back-breaking work and coming to the end of my available time window (it was due to rain but, more importantly, I'd drunk enough tea to need to be looking for a loo), I spent a few minutes picking my first harvest. Early spring nettles, before they get all dry and stringy, make wonderful soup.
So here it is. Yummy nettle soup made with onions, garlic, leeks (from the garden), potatoes and a little bit of nutmeg. And a dollop of greek style yogurt. I suspect it'll be quite a while and a lot of hard work before I get anything else worth eating from the allotment.