Gardening > Nettles

Buy Nettle Seeds

Nettles can be annoying in the garden and the gardener’s first reaction is to try to get rid of them. However a patch of nettles is really a very useful thing to have in the corner of the garden.

There are two types of nettle, Urtica urens, the small nettle, which is an annual plant and Urtica dioica, which is a bigger plant and a perennial.

Both of these can be used to make a liquid manure. Gather the nettles in the spring and pack into a bucket or other suitable container. To 2lb of nettles add about 1 gallon of water. Leave for 2 to 3 weeks. Stir occasionally. After the 2 to 3 week period strain the liquid from the nettles (which can now be put on the compost heap). Before using, dilute the nettle fertiliser to the strength of 1 cupful of fertiliser to 10 cups of water.

Freshly cut nettles can be added to the compost heap and make an excellent activator because of their readily available nitrogen content.

Urtica dioica (the perennial nettle) will allow many pest-killing insects to overwinter in the garden and provide food and shelter for them all year round. Ladybirds, hoverflies and lacewings all benefit form a patch of nettles and will then deal with aphids all summer.