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|Nettle Garden Tea|
Whilst, nettles are weeds, they also have many uses and don’t just serve gardeners and composters, but can be used medically, herbally, and be harvested and eaten. Nettles can be cultivated and designated a part of The garden to be grown. Once ready, they can be cut and hung and allowed to dry out and shredded down or be used as they are and for whichever purpose they were initially grown to serve.
There are many benefits to nettles. They make significant foliage areas for butterflies and contain an abundance of food sources for caterpillars – so having a nettle presence means butterflies will head for those rather than perhaps one of your more prized plants. Aphids and ladybirds love nettles, and an army of ladybirds will devour some pests.
You can use nettles to enrich your soil, should you wish to grow them directly in your beds – remember at the end of each season to dig them and their ROOTS up, as they don’t need any encouragement to stay. Once dug up and fetched out, chop them up and add them to your compost heap as they are great activators as well as accelerators for the whole decomposition process.
Make sure to chop them up, dig them into your heap, and not just leave them in one massive clump because they are like grass and can become incredibly slimy and remarkably offensive to the smell!
Also, a word of warning – if you run a hot compost heap, you needn’t worry. However, if you don’t and place the nettles into your compost, de-root them. Otherwise, they will seed in your heap!
Now, if you don’t wish to add them to your heap, then l would further suggest steeping them for around a month or so and turning them into nettle tea.
Chop the nettles up, or pending the size of the bin/container you are using, stuff them in, cover with water and a brick or two, and leave for roughly a month and let them steep.
Like the ‘weed teas’, don’t sit too close to the house or neighbours as the smell is rich. If the neighbours overreact with you and your tea, offer them some potent nutrient endowed nettle fertiliser! That should bring them around.
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