Make a nutritious nettle tea for your plants
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.