A post all about how to make stinging nettle fertilizer and which plants will thank you for it!
Stinging nettles may be considered a weed but they are incredibly beneficial plants.
Stinging Nettles are not only a habitat for wildlife but this nitrogen rich plant also makes an amazing fertilizer and compost activator (It’s good to eat too!)
Stinging nettle is a “dynamic accumulator”, as are comfrey, yarrow, borage, dandelion and chickweed. Dynamic accumulators take up nutrients and minerals from the earth and store them in more bioavailable forms in high concentration in their leaves.
This is why dynamic accumulators make amazing homemade fertilizers and mulch and are brilliant additions to your compost heap.
I wrote a post last week about a lovely stinging nettle syrup we make and I wanted to share another use for stinging nettles.
Stinging Nettles can be used to make an easy natural fertilizer that will help your plants to thrive.
Stinging nettle tea is really useful this time of year with so many plants being hungry for nutrients so we usually have a bucket of it on the go all summer.
So, first things first, depending on how much time you have there are 2 methods to make this fertilizer with Stinging Nettles:
Stinging Nettle Manure will be more potent and will smell more as it ferments and bubbles but it will be more nutrient rich.
Stinging Nettles are as good for us humans as they are for plants!
Stinging Nettle’s are rich in nitrogen, chlorophyll, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc and calcium. They contain essential amino acids, proteins, flavinoids and vitamins A, B1, B5, C, D, E, and K.
Many garden plants will benefit from Stinging Nettle Tea, particularly leafy vegetables because they require nitrogen to fuel leaf growth.
Tomatoes and roses aren’t quite so keen due to the high iron levels this natural fertilizer contains. Try a banana peel natural fertilizer instead.
Make sure you wear boots, trousers, long sleeves and gloves to pick your nettles.
It’s best to avoid picking near a road or any areas that might have been sprayed as weedkiller residues will be bad news for your crops.
Snap the plant or if you prefer you can skip the stem with scissors.
Place your collected nettles in a bucket.
Nettles are a great habitat for many insects including butterflies so make sure you leave plenty and if possible have a designated “wild area” in your plot.
Once you’ve collected your nettles then you can use them as they are or snip them into shorter pieces and place in a cotton bag or old pillow case (this will make straining easier).
Stinging Nettle ‘Manure’ probably gets its name from the aroma it creates while fermenting so be prepared to cover it and make it away from the house.
Nettle fertiliser is useful for many heavy feeding plants, particularly leafy brassicas.
Dilute the stinging nettle fertilizer and use to water plants every 1 to 3 weeks. If you fertilize too often you’ll risk scorching the leaves.
It’s best to start with low concentrations and to increase from there is necessary.
Stinging Nettle fertilizer will last around 6 months. Plenty of time to get you through the main growing season from Spring to early Autumn.
If you need a large amount then you can make it in a water butt and use and top up ad required.
It’s easier to store undiluted and water-down as required.
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