Make a nu­tri­tious net­tle tea for your plants

Herbs & Superfoods - - Grow Your Own Herb Garden -

Ur­tica dioica, or sting­ing net­tle, is an herba­ceous peren­nial that’s val­ued for its medic­i­nal prop­er­ties. But it’s a pest plant in some ar­eas of New Zealand and banned from sale or prop­a­ga­tion. Check with your local coun­cil for more de­tails. The an­nual net­tle, Ur­tica urens, can also be used as a plant tonic.

To make a net­tle tea, har­vest the leaves (make sure you wear gloves and long trousers) and fill a 10-litre bucket, pack­ing the net­tles in. Fill the bucket with water, cover and steep for 2-3 weeks un­til they de­com­pose (the hot­ter the weather, the less time they need), stir­ring oc­ca­sion­ally. Stir­ring mixes oxy­gen – which is es­sen­tial to the sur­vival of bac­te­ria break­ing down the plants – into the liq­uid. The mix will bub­ble as it fer­ments. When it stops bub­bling, strain and use at a ra­tio of 1 part net­tles, 10 parts water.

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