Sunday, 20 May 2012

Overrun with nettles

I have, as well as repotting the tomato plants, been clearing behind the shed where a lot of the blackberries grow. It is completely overrun with nettles, those plants that stick to you, and the horrible purple weeds (I really should learn their names)

This is where I have to clear next. The purple plants are liberally scattered throughout the nettles

This is what I have spent the last couple of days clearing back; completely filling my green bin in the process.

It is this last fact which is central to this blog post.  Thanks to @Dracunculus2010 for the tip which inspired this.

Apparently, if you soak nettles for a week or so in water (hopefully a water butt, but I don't have one of those so an old bin is sufficing) it will "make great plant food and it's free!"

So I have been collecting nettles into a bin (taking the roots off first; not sure if you have to but it made sense to me to not potentially pour nettle roots onto your flower beds)

Added water from the hose; as I say, it would be more efficient if I had a water butt. Never mind.

And left it to soak.

I can see myself having a challenge when it comes to decanting the liquid, but I will keep you all informed with how it goes and how I solve those challenges.


  1. Interesting to see that results - not heard that one before.

    1. I think that nettles have a lot of nitrogen in them? So maybe this is leaching that out into the water? I don't know :) I'll be interested to see it too :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I think it should work with almost any leafy interloper. I bought a plant food maker ( which works on that principle (you can use food waste, plant and grass cuttings, etc...). I reckon it'd be relatively easy to convert your bin, if you're willing to drill a hole into it (for a tap). The one I've got has a cage for the cuttings, which you plunge up and down to 'aerate' the 'brew'. Whether it needs aerating or not I do not know.

    Good to know that nettles are a good source of nutrients for plant food (they also make good tea and human food themselves - as long as they're blanched to neutralise the stingers). It's a shame that we cleared out our near permanent bed of nettles and 'sticky willy' years ago; they're a rare occurrence in our garden now.

    1. Cheers for the comments; do you think that the "sticky willy" could be added to this broth?

      The conversion sounds like a good idea; these are old bins that have been relegated to garden duty. If you want to send me some plans/photographs I'll be really happy to put it on here :)

      keep growing :)

    2. Nettles are a very good source of phosphorous (so I was told). Some gardeners deliberately grow stuff like buckwheat and fenugreek to make into fertilizer and you can grow things from the pea and bean family and harvest the roots for nitrogen.