Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Nettle Feed

Now that spring is in full flow everything is shooting up in the garden. To a lot of peoples disappointment this includes nettles, for me however they are a joy. I have been enjoying nettles for the past few weeks now, they must be the easiest plant in all the wild larder to identify with most people finding out at an early age just what a sting they possess. The young tops make a fantastic soup, perfect when topped off with one of our own poached eggs.

Alternatively they can be used as a substitute for spinach in any number of recipes. One I haven't tried yet but am looking forward to is nettle pasta the way it turns the pasta green looks fantastic and delicious too. Another I have had the pleasure of eating is nettle and spinach frittata.

While the tops are good for eating the rest of the plant isn't. Now that I have harvested most of the young tops I've cut down the rest of the plants to make a plant feed for the vegetable patch. Cutting down the plants will as ever encourage new growth and within a couple of weeks I'll have fresh new shoots to enjoy.

The nettles are extremely rich in nitrogen which most plants love, by chopping them up into small pieces they will break down quicker and in turn release the nitrogen quicker.

These are then submerged in water, preferably in a container with a lid or as far away from the house as you can get, the the smell after a week or so really is quite pungent.

After about four weeks the feed will be ready, hold your nose, take the lid off and scoop some of the nitrogen rich liquid out. This will need to be mixed with about ten parts water before using on the plants.

Once you have used all the liquid and harvested all the fresh young shoots that have re-emerged the nettles will probably have grown big enough to repeat the whole process. Any leftover bits in the bottom of the bin can be mixed in with the compost heap. They are excellent at speeding up the decomposition of some of the more harder materials.

What's not love about nettles?

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