I’ve been feeling really ill over the last few weekends and so not got to my allotment – which has 🐞 me a bit!
Today feeling a bit stronger I decided to have a go at
Making Nettle Liquid Manure
Gather the nettles – young nettles are better because they break down quicker and have less plant fibre than older plants – but older nettles will do although they will take longer to break down and give more fibrous waste.
If you can collect the nettles by mowing, this will help to begin to breakdown the plant structure and speed the process – don’t worry about any grass also collected. Otherwise, before putting the nettles in the container, bruise/crush them – this can be done by twisting them in your hand whilst wearing tough gardening gloves, or spread the nettles on the ground and run a lawn mower (with a collecting box) over them.
1. Fill the container with the cut, bruised or crushed nettles.
2. Add water – with the nettles lightly pressed down, add water just to cover them – adding too much water will reduce the strength of the manure produced.
3. Cover the container to prevent rainwater causing it to overflow.
As the nettles breakdown, the plant fibres will rise to the top, so after a few days, place a weight on the ‘mush’ to hold it under the water. Using a stiff piece of mesh, just narrower than the container, under the weight is a good idea to help hold all the fibres down.
Nettle Manure takes about three to four weeks to ‘mature’ – and it does ‘mature’ to give a fairly earthy smell, so you may want to place the container somewhere out of the way.
If you add more nettles without water, the ‘brew’ will tend to strengthen, and when you add water the ‘brew’ will be diluted so you may want to leave the ‘brew’ to mature a bit before you take any more to use. At the end of the season for nettles, carry on using the ‘brew’ and once the last has been used, the container should be cleaned out, the nettle fibres put on the compost heap and stored for use the following year.
Using Nettle Manure
Nettle Manure does have a bit of a earthy smell, so using it to feed houseplants may not be ideal although the smell does tend to fade once it has been applied.
Nettle manure can be used as a soil or foliage feed, however when made with the right proportion of water to nettles, the brew needs to be diluted before use – the ideal strength is about the colour of tea – with a full strength ‘brew’ this can be around 1 part manure to 10 parts water.
The mature can be used in a spray but it needs to be strained before use to remove the small fibres which will inevitably be floating in the solution and could bloke the spray.
An addition benefit of using nettle manure is that it acts as an insect repellent – just put it on the soil or foliage and the insects will go away. 🐌🐜🐾🐌
Also use as a Compost booster – Chopped nettles make a useful addition to the compost heap because they act as a natural activator and speed up the decomposition process. For best results, make sure the nettles are thoroughly mixed with lots of different materials – dry, wet, soft and woody – because they can become a bit slimy on their own. Unless your heap is very hot don’t add nettle roots, just leaves – otherwise you run the risk of them forming new plants in your heap.