Most people associate stinging nettles with a painful itch that is triggered 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 ideal as an organic fertilizer or for combating annoying pests such as aphids. We’ll tell you everything you need to make nettle manure in this article. We will also explain to you how to use the growth-promoting decoction correctly.

The shoots of the large nettle (Urtica dioica) are said to be best suited for the production of a natural organic fertilizer. However, before harvesting them, you must put on longĀ garden glovesĀ to minimize the risk of injury to your hands and arms. Stinging nettles are particularly easy to cut with ordinary secateurs. You will also need these ingredients: a large plastic bucket and stale tap water – rainwater low in minerals would be even better. The mixing ratio should be 1:10, i.e. for every kilogram of fresh nettles (alternatively you can also use 200 grams of dried nettles) there are ten liters of liquid. The nutrients are completely decomposed in the 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 manure starts to stink. To absorb the smell of putrefaction – or more precisely the strong-smelling ingredients in it – simply add some primary rock powder to the bucket.

Before you use the nettle manure as a nitrogen-containing fertilizer or for pest control, you should remove any plant residue that remains in it. You can easily sieve these out and dispose of them in the compost – or you can distribute them like a kind of mulch on your vegetable or ornamental plant beds. The finished manure, on the other hand, must first be diluted before you fertilize your plants with it, in a ratio of 1:10 with water. You can then pour the manure over the beds once a week.

But be careful: The natural fertilizer is not suitable for peas and carrots, garlic and onions or even beans.

However, if the nettles are to be used to combat aphids, the mixture only needs to steep for 12 to 24 hours. Then sift out the plant residues and filter the brew again through a tea towel to filter out even the smallest plant residues – otherwise they would clog the spray bottle. You can then spread the undiluted manure over the affected leaves (which don’t want to eat!). Important to know: Use the finished brew immediately as it will last for a maximum of three days.

Sources: My beautiful garden, NABU

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