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Nettles (Urtica dioica) – Wonder Weed

Stinging nettles, a wonder weed. A Liquid Fertiliser. A complete Plant Food. It is as nourishing a green vegetable as any in the Kitchen Garden, it contains vitamin C and Iron in even greater quantities than Spinach! It makes a pleasant Wine and Beer both to my taste although perhaps a little ‘rustic’ to our readers with a more refined palate. The fibre yields a yarn used by fishermen in bygone times to make cordage, nets and a handsome cloth, and this was used by German forces in World War 1.

It’s flowers are inconspicuous but it has what might, a little fancifully, be called ‘flying blooms’, the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies rely exclusively on the Nettle as the food plant for their caterpillars. The Comma and Painted Lady are also keen on them. The Comma lays on Hop, Sallow and Cherry. The Painted Lady lays on thistles.

It is the home for many insects amongst them an aphid which is so happy on this aristocrat of nutrition that it can’t be bothered to attack any other plant in the garden it attracts predators especially the Ladybird Larva which will then move on and consume other Aphids which are garden pests.

Barry

The Nettle is a Dynamic Accumulator, bringing nutrients up from the deeper soil levels. Cropped in early spring or late autumn, nettle can be added to compost bins, used to make Nettle Tea for plant food, or as a herbal tea.

Gary

And look online for nettle wine, nettle beer and nettle soup recipies. Not tried any myself yet, so let us all know if you do,or find any better ones.

http://www.nettlesoup.info/nettlesoup.htm

http://www.nettlesoup.info/nettlerecipes.htm

Andy