Sunday, 28 December 2008

Making Nettle Tea for Plant food

Nettle Leaf Plant Food
Nettle leaves can be used to make an easy to use, if somewhat smelly, plant food. Best of all it's free!
To make your nettle fertiliser you will need only four things:
1. Nettles! - Obviously.
2. A watertight container - a large bucket or plastic trug is adequate.
3. Water,
4. A weight. Not essential but it holds the leaves under the water.

First take your nettles. These are best as young stems but can be picked at any time. Then it's best to crush them. This can be done by scrunching the stems in gloved hands - essential to wear gloves !
or I have read that by placing the stems on a freshly mown lawn and using your mower to chop and collect the nettles at the same time. The addition of a few grass clippings that results from using this method does not affect the quality of the finished product. I personally didn't do this, but I may try it next time I make some.

Immerse in water, Stuff the crushed stems into your bucket. Place your weight on top of the stems and leaves. - A brick and a piece of wire mesh cut to suit the container serves well. Fill the container with water sufficient to cover the nettles and... Leave to brew, stir daily or whenever you get the time. In around 3-4 weeks the nettle tea should be ready to use. You may also consider placing the bucket away from the areas in the garden that you use most as the brew tends to get rather smelly.

The mixture should be diluted until it is tea coloured - usually around 1 part liquid to 10 parts water. Water liberally around or on the plants and see the benefits. Repeat until winter.

Continue to top up your container with more leaves and water through the year. As autumn sets in put the remainder of the feed and the sludge in your compost heap, it makes a good activator. Give your container a rinse and store for next year!

I hope you find this useful. Happy Growing !


Leigh said...

Hi Maureen, What an interesting blog. I knew nothing about the allotment stuff until I perused your posts, but I LOVE to garden, so it's very interesting to me. I'll be using some of your tips and checking back often! Glad we stumbled upon each other . . . Leigh

Maureen said...

Hi Leigh, thanks for your comment and for dropping by. I haven't been to the Allotment for over a week now, so haven't any new posts but hope to get up there in the next few days and check how much my garlic has grown.
I love your grandson's name, my roots are Irish, my father was from Co Down and I have lots of family there. have a good New Year - maureen