Nettles – a spring tonic

Credit: Carolyn Herriot

The tender tips of nettles make incredible steamed greens, (the sting is taken out by steaming), green-rich soups and nettle quiche – all nutritious and delicious! Of course a pair of good gloves is recommended!

Nettle Tea
Plants also love a boost of nettle tea

Drill a 1/4 inch hole in the bottom of a 20-litre (5 gallon) container with a lid.
Place a piece of wire mesh over the hole to prevent blockage. Stand the container on bricks, so that a collection bottle fits under the hole. Pack in enough nettle leaves to fill the container. (Do not add water).

The leaves decompose into liquid, which can be stored in a stoppered bottle. If kept in a cool, dark place, it will store for up to a year. Always dilute the concentrate before use. If it is black and strong dilute it 20:1 (20 parts water to one part concentrate), if it is brown and thin dilute 10:1.

• A general liquid feed for outdoor planters. Feed once weekly.
• A good compost heap activator. Water onto the pile.
• A feed for fruit bushes. Water in before fruits appear.

Alternatively simply pack 11 lbs of nettles into a container and fill with 1 gallon of water. Cover and leave for 2 weeks, stirring occasionally. Strain. Dilute 10:1 to use as a liquid fertilizer.

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