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Nettle fertiliser, How to Brew your own.


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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Nettle fertiliser, How to Brew your own. Reply with quote

Nettle fertiliser, How to Brew your own.
by GPI

Was there ever a time when you were growing up, possibly in school, where you met an individual you instantly disliked, but eventually became firm friends with? It may have been in work where you met this person, although initially sarcastic and prickly with their comments, they eventually won you around by helping you out when you were stuck. Well there is an individual such as this growing in most Irish gardens; the much maligned but extremely helpful stinging nettle.

Our native nettle Urtica dioica (as Gaeilge Neantóg) is covered in spiny hairs, which act as needles, introducing poisons to any uncovered skin unfortunate enough to brush up against them. Along with the sting, another reason that many people despise this weed is its unfortunate ability to pop up in the middle of existing shrub plantings, making removal extremely difficult.

. Our native nettle Urtica dioica, photo / picture / image.

But these are just the initial irritations associated with the nettle; believe me they also have a lot going for them as well. For example, nettles growing on-site usually indicate rich soil, good for flowering shrubs or fruit growing once the weeds are grubbed out. The nettle is also an important link in the wildlife chain as it provides food for the caterpillars of Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies.

In old Ireland, nettles were thought to protect a person from sorcery as they were where the elves lived, and if cows were fed wilted nettles, they could not be affected by evil sorcery which was thought to stop them producing milk. True or not, I don't know, but it was an upside to nettles in olden days.

Top of the heap for reasons to love nettles though is that a good crop of nettles will allow you to make an ecologically sound and free liquid plant food. This feed is not only renowned as a good pick me up for plants, it is also known to boost happy feelings within you the gardener, as you watch you plants flourish from its nourishment.

Nettle brew.
You will require...
1. A strong pair of gloves and clothes that cover all skin within stinging distance of the nettles.

2. A sharp pair of garden clippers.

3. A canvas or hessian bag and a few bricks.

4. 20 litres of collected rainwater.

5. One kilogram (2 ¼ pounds) of nettles.

6. A watertight drum or barrel to accommodate 20 litres, complete with a tight-fitting lid.

Arrow Firstly, harvest your nettles by cutting young stems, which have not flowered yet. Cut before June, these are full of sap ideal for fertiliser production.
Chop them up with the clippers and crush them with your gloved hands as you place them into the canvas or hessian bag. This will speed up the release of nettles fertiliser elements.

Arrow Tie off the top of the sack once it is filled with approx one kilogram of nettles, and then place it in the base of the drum. Before pouring in your water, you should place a brick or two on top of the sack to prevent it floating to the top.

Arrow Don't forget to place the tight-fitting lid on to the barrel, as nettle brew tends to get rather smelly. In fact, if you have an issue with nasty niffs, then I suggest the barrel is located way down the garden.

Arrow Leave the mix to brew for about three or four weeks before you consider applying it. When the time comes, mix it in your watering can at a rate of ten parts water to one part nettle brew, then water liberally around your plants.

As the resulting feed is high in Nitrogen, I recommend watering it especially onto those plants which require leafy or upright growth, e.g. lettuce, cabbage, lawns, sunflowers etc., but virtually all plants will receive a welcome boost.

Try this use for your nettles, you may find that they are a friend you never knew, until the day they made your plants grow. Smile

Any queries or comments on Nettle fertiliser, how to brew your own, please post below.

Associated content.....
Make your own Nettle soup.

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:54 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Joaney
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2008 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rolling Eyes That sounds very interesting . I will give it a try this year it sounts like a large tea bag. So I will wrap up well and hopefully avoid the pain. Idea
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inishindie
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 6:28 pm    Post subject: more of the same Reply with quote

Great stuff!!

There are other plants you can make good feed from

You can make your own liquid plant feed for free using a range of materials such as grass, various manures and comfrey. This not only saves money but it is environmentally friendly too. Although the resulting feed cannot be targeted to produce particular types of growth like the specifically formulated manufactured liquid feeds and fertilisers, they will promote plant growth and increase flowering and crop yields. They are ideal for giving a boost to hungry crops such as tomatoes and to pep-up flowering displays of summer bedding in containers and borders during mid-summer.

GPI'S methods are perfect but I did mine this way...

You don't need a lot of fancy equipment to make your own feed - a couple of large buckets and a sieve would be sufficient for small amounts. You could invest in a bucket with a tight fitting lid. I made comfrey juice last year in an open drum and you could smell the rotting leaves a mile away! For small amounts of feed an old brewing bucket is ideal, but for larger volumes use a water butt. Always wear waterproof gloves when handling manures and concentrates, as the liquid can be a bit hard on your skin.

Nettle and grass liquid feed
Lay nettles on the lawn and run over them with a lawnmower fitted with a grass collector to chop them up. There is no need to measure the quantities really accurately but as a guide add about 1kg of finely chopped leaf/grass clippings to a large 10-litre (2 gallons) bucket filled with water. Leave to soak for about a fortnight, then strain and dilute one-part feed to five parts water. For large amounts, add approximately 18kg of chopped leaf/grass clippings to a 37-litre waterbutt, or 25kg to a 50-litre waterbutt. Dilute to make the feed by adding one-part concentrate to five-parts water before use.

Steeped farmyard manure.

Fill a sack or pair of old tights with dried manure from the field or use well-rotted farmyard manure. Use half a bucket of manure (5 litres/1 gallon) for a 50-litre waterbutt. Tie the sack to a bamboo cane and suspend in the water. Steep the manure for a few days until the water is a light brown colour. Use without diluting on mature plants but add an equal amount of water for younger specimens

Comfrey liquid feed
Fill a brewing bucket with comfrey leaves and let them decompose. You will need several kg of leaves to produce a meaningful amount of feed concentrate. This should be no problem as comfrey growth is prolific. When a dark brown liquid collects at the bottom of the bucket, draw off into a separate container. Dilute to make the feed by adding one-part concentrate to ten-parts water before use.

Worm compost bin feed
If you have a wormery then drain off the liquid at the bottom and use as an effective plant food. I have found this particularly effective on houseplants. (There is very little odour from it!)

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great stuff yourself inishindie.
Nettles, worms, an old pair of tights, and farmyard manure, sure where else would you get it but in the garden. Razz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 11:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thread. I also read recently on Irish Seedsavers that making a horsetail (the plant that is) tea is an effective potato blight preventative.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rebecca wrote:
Great thread.


Thanks. Smile


Rebecca wrote:
I also read recently on Irish Seedsavers that making a horsetail (the plant that is) tea is an effective potato blight preventative.


Herbal horsetail tea dealt with here as well....... Potato blight, how to treat Phytophthora infestans.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The aroma from this nettle brew is something else...
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2008 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anchoress wrote:
The aroma from this nettle brew is something else...


You can say that again. The bang off it is enough to knock a horse. Great stuff though to perk up my leafy shrubs. It even greened up an area of lawn that I spilt it on by accident. May consider giving the whole lawn a dose of it next season. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:13 pm    Post subject: seaweed feed Reply with quote

seaweed feed is also used to make a good liquid feed
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've had my nettle brew steeping for 20 days so far and I really want to give my veggies a boost!
i've read that if you use it before it stops fermenting that you should dilute at 1:50 ratio. How do I know when it's stopped fermenting? I havent really kept an eye on it, just put the lid on and left it.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Homegrown wrote:
I've had my nettle brew steeping for 20 days so far and I really want to give my veggies a boost!


You're about at the 3 week mark, only one more to go.
As the piece above says... "Leave the mix to brew for about three or four weeks before you consider applying it.".


Homegrown wrote:
i've read that if you use it before it stops fermenting that you should dilute at 1:50 ratio.


Never heard that before, but I presume at that rate it would have little effect on the growth of your plants.
It's also 1:50 for what initial quantity of nettles to water?
That can vary greatly from recipe to recipe.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 1:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the response. I'm jsut eager to give them a boost and would rather it be my natural recipe than a store bought one. I'm going away in a week for a month so I'll give them a feed right before i go.
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PostPosted: Sat May 02, 2009 8:06 am    Post subject: Nettle brew Reply with quote

Great to hear that people are willing to have and use nettle brew. Can recall the first time I suggested this to a customer got a look like I had lost the plot.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:57 am    Post subject: seaweed for many reasons Reply with quote

I'm using dried seaweed as tea which I got from an Oriental market as a spritzer for my indoor winter seed starts. Here are the benefits:

It aids in seed germination, assists in nutrient uptake, helps plants resists insects, disease and frost; it aids in root development, conditions soil and acts as a fertilizer.

studies have shown that adding seaweed to livestock feed improves fertility rates, aids in gestation and birthing and reduces lameness.

Company which markets it
http://www.arramara.ie/arramara/Main/Home.htm



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 04, 2010 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is there a reason for using nettles? Just wondering if grass or weeds or any other garden waste can be used.

Luckily (or possibly unluckily now I see their usage) I don't have many nettles in the garden, but lots of waste from grass and weeds...usually go in the composter but would be great if it could be used as nettles described above.
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