Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Nettle Fertiliser

You may have read the recent post about my Nettle Soap Experiment. I have found a few patches of stinging nettles in the garden since the CEO hasn't been well enough to do any gardening which includes weeding and knowing that nettles have outstanding features like being a rich store of minerals and vitamins, are one of the richest plant sources of chlorophyll and iron and have other benefits such as the ability to make more oxygen available to the vital organs, major blood vessels and cells, I thought I would read more about the plant in Isabell Shipard's How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life?

 Does the font on that photo look prickly? LOL! Well, you really don't want to get stung by the nettles as they make your fingers tingle for ages afterwards and it is not a pleasant sensation. So I donned my really thick gloves and headed out to the front garden which is basically just a jungle at the moment having missed the annual winter weeding event by the CEO.


I started weeding last week by just doing a small section at a time and when I came across this patch of needles I put some wire around them to remind myself not to brush against them. Here they are growing in amongst some of the hundreds of bulbs which we must have in the front garden. I have no idea how I am going to make this into a succulent garden when so many bulbs come up at this time of the year.

Anyway, with Isabell's instructions in my head I pulled out all the stinging nettles I could find as I needed to loosely fill a bucket with stems.

As it turned out I didn't have quite a bucket full but I couldn't find any more as I had used so many when making the soap recently.


Then the stems just had to be covered with water. 

It took a while to find a lid to fit but when you are married to a hoarder you just know that there is going to be one somewhere...and there was ;-)

Then all that was left to do was put the lid on and mark the date as the fertiliser has to be left to stand for 1-3 weeks to ferment and breakdown and that depends on the weather conditions. It will get quite smelly and, according to Isabell, a bit like a pigsty. It becomes a liquid plant manure and a nitrogen-rich fertiliser.

Using the nettle liquid will promote plant growth and vigour and protect plants from disease and pests as it strengthens the plant cell strucure. Nettle's high silica content becomes a boost to plant health. The liquid can be sloshed around plants or used diluted as a foliar fertiliser on young seedlings (it may burn if applied too strong). Strained and diluted this mixture is sprayed on plants for powdery mildew, and is suitable for cucumbers and zucchinis. In fact, it is advisable to spray weekly as a preventative measure ( 'How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life?').

So there you are, an easy to make fertiliser for the garden. In Isabell's book there are also instructions on how to make Nettle Plant Tonic and Nettle Spray as well as heaps of other information on the benefits of this plant. Her book is really worth having as a reference book and I highly recommend it. 

While I was pulling out the nettle I turned around and noticed that the Cliveas are starting to look lovely after the recent rain. Normally they put on a stunning show but aren't looking too wonderful this year in certain areas...


...but these particular ones which are the darker orange ones are looking quite beautiful. That reminds me...we bought a cream one at the Carnival of Flowers last year...where on earth has it gone to? I just asked the CEO and the answer was 'I have no idea...must be in a pot somewhere'. LOL!


  1. I was glad I read this post Nanna Chel.

    I have nettles soaking and they have been putting out a pungent smell, I am relieved to know that is normal lol! I think I will definitely need to water mine down as the liquid is like syrup.

    Thank you for this post. Your Cliveas look beautiful.


    1. Tania, glad this helped. If you get a chance to read Isabell's book it is full of great ideas.

  2. Wow Nanna Chel! That's really interesting...I once made a Nettle Quiche. It wasn't bad at all! Your Clivea flower is gorgeous. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Nettle quiche...now that would be interesting, Mimi. A lot of people seem to use nettle in their kitchens as well as in the garden.

  3. I did this green liquid manure in a wheelie bin full of grass clipping once - it smelt horrendous but gosh it worked well as a fertilizer - all of a sudden weeds have a new meaning and use. Also I can remember a field being full of these nettles and the chooks loved it - very orange eggs when let out on the nettles.

    1. Phil, I think it was Jerry on Gardening Australia who showed how he made liquid manure out of weeds on a recent episode. He also said it stank but was so good for the plants.

  4. Hi chel, Aldi have their gardening gloves on special this week, they are $3 and the best gloves I have used, good protection without loosing good feel, I bought a few pairs as they won't be available for a while again.

    1. Thanks Margaret. I will check them out when I am near ALDI. Hubby bought me a raised garden frame from there on Saturday. Now all I have to do is put soil etc. in it ;-)

  5. Goodness, with all these uses for nettles, im thinking you should be devoting a bed for growing them. I like the idea of the spray for mildew. Cheers.

  6. great post, might have to see about growing them also, just too many things on the growing list
    your clivias look beautiful, i have the common orange one & it was very late flowering this year, didn't expect it to at all as hadn't been that cold
    thanx for sharing


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