Nettles
 

  Be Nice to Nettles Week
  a CONE initiative
Nettles
 
“Delicious nutritious nettles, bring to mind sunny childhood play days, excellent as an additive to compost and essential for some many caterpillars.

Thank you CONE for raising the profile and improving the reputation of this wild plant, and thanks alike to all who grow them in their garden for butterflies.”

Helen Firminger
Project Manager, London Wildlife Trust Centre for Wildlife Gardening

 

 
 
 

Nettle Leaf Plant Food

Nettle leaves can be used to make an easy to use, if somewhat smelly, plant food. Best of all it's free!

To make your nettle fertiliser you will need only four things:

  1. Nettles! - obviously.
  2. A watertight container - a large bucket is adequate.
  3. Water, and
  4. A wait, sorry a weight. Not essential but makes the process easier as I will explain.

First take your nettles. These are best as young stems but can be taken at any time. Quicker results are obtained if the nettle stems and leaves are bruised.

Then crush them. This can be done by scrunching the stems in gloved hands or by placing the stems on a freshly mown lawn and using your mower to chop and collect the nettles at the same time. The addition of a few grass clippings that results from using this method does not affect the quality of the finished product.

Immerse in water Stuff the crushed stems into your bucket. Place your weight on top of the stems. You may have to use a little ingenuity here - I have used a broken paving slab in the past. A brick and a piece of wire mesh cut to suit the cointainer serves equally well. Fill the container with water sufficient to cover the nettles and...

Leave to brew. This is where the original wait comes in. You may also consider placing the bucket away from the areas in the garden that you use most as the soup tends to get rather smelly.

Dilute to taste. After around three or four weeks the liquid should be ready for use. The mixture should be diluted until it is tea coloured - usually around 1 part liquid to 10 parts water. Water liberally around or on the plants and see the benefits.

Repeat until winter. Continue to top up your container with more leaves and water through the year. As autumn sets in put the remainder of the feed and the sludge in your compost heap. Give your container a rinse and store for next year!

Happy gardening.

 

 
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Did you know?
Horse breeders have often added nettle seeds to horse feeds to give the animals a sleek coat.
 
 
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