Nettles
 

  Be Nice to Nettles Week
  a CONE initiative
Nettles
 
“I think it is important to recognise the value of nettles and the role that these and other weeds play in the wider environment. I hope National Be Nice to be Nettles Week goes some way towards improving the image of the nettle.”

Phil Castiaux
CONE Project Co-ordinator

 

 
 
 

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?
Nettles were often hung in bunches in larders because of their fly repellent properties.
 
 
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