Most people associate stinging nettles with a painful itch caused by contact with the skin. The medicinal and cultivated plant can do much more than just cause a rash: It is a real powerhouse and contains far more nutrients and vitamins (including silica, potassium and nitrogen) than many other plants. This makes it an ideal organic fertilizer or to combat annoying pests such as aphids. In this article we will tell you everything you need to make nettle manure. We will also explain how to use the growth-promoting brew correctly afterwards.
Stinging nettle shoots (Urtica dioica) are said to be best suited for the production of a natural organic fertilizer. However, before you harvest these, you must put on long gardening gloves to minimize the risk of injury to your hands and arms. Stinging nettles are particularly easy to cut off with ordinary pruning shears. You also need these ingredients: a large plastic bucket and stale tap water - low-mineral rainwater would be even better. The mixing ratio should be 1:10, i.e. there are ten liters of liquid for one kilogram of fresh nettles (alternatively, you can also use 200 grams of dried nettles). The nutrients are completely decomposed in the liquid manure.
Note: A metal bucket is not suitable for making nettle manure due to the fermentation process.
After you have harvested the nettles, do the following:
Tip: During the fermentation process, the liquid manure begins to stink. To bind the smell of rot – or more precisely the strong-smelling ingredients in it – simply put some rock dust in the bucket.
Before you use the nettle manure as a nitrogenous fertilizer or for pest control, you should remove the remaining plant remains. You can simply sieve them out and dispose of them in the compost – or spread them over your vegetable or ornamental plant beds like a kind of mulch. The finished manure, on the other hand, must first be diluted before you fertilize your plants with it, at a ratio of 1:10 with water. You can then pour the liquid manure over the beds once a week.
But beware: the natural fertilizer is not suitable for peas and carrots, garlic and onions or even beans.
If, on the other hand, the stinging nettles are to be used to combat aphids, the mixture only needs to steep for 12 to 24 hours. Then sift out the plant remains and filter the brew again through a tea towel to filter out even the smallest plant remains - otherwise they would clog the spray bottle. Then you can spread the undiluted manure over the affected leaves (which don't want to eat each other!). Important to know: Use the finished brew immediately, as it can be kept for a maximum of three days.
Sources: My beautiful garden, NABU
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