Nettle Tea plant feed
In the UK, the nettles are starting to grow, and in the midlands, have reached the right height to cut to make the first batch of nettle liquid plant feed. If you are a home or allotment gardening this provides an opportunity to obtain a plant food for free. If you manage a Community Allotment or Garden, it could provide an addition activity to provide interest to your members.
Cut young nettles to about 5cm above soil level. Crush the leaves by scrunching the stems in gloved hands or by placing them on a freshly mown lawn and using a mower to chop them.
Put the crushed nettles into a bucket, it does not matter if some grass is included with the nettles, weigh the nettles down with a brick and cover with water. Use about a half a standard bucket full (about one kilogram) of leaves to 10 litres of water.
Nitrogen-rich nettles are high in silica. As with comfrey tea it is better to use a bucket with a lid to contain the smell. Allow to soak for 2-4 weeks. Stirring occasionally. When ready the liquid should be diluted to the colour of weak tea before being watered onto the plants being fed.
There are two approaches to maintaining a supply of feed throughout the summer. Either keep replacing the water as it is used and top up the supply of nettles ever two or three months. Or, my preferred option, once the liquid is used add the sludge to the compost bin, to help keep it moist and as an activator, and start again using the fresh growth that has replaced that which you cut.