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Nettle water – How to

05 May 2022

If you have loads of nettles and are tired of using them to make nettle soup, use them to do something good for your plants instead. Nettle water may smell terrible but it’s worth its weight in gold and your plants will love you for it. 

Nettle water is easy to make and loved by your plants. All you need to make nettle water is nettles, water and a container with a lid, such as a bucket or bin, depending on how much nettle water you want to make.

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What do nettles contain that is good for your garden?

Nettles contain lots of nitrogen and other important vitamins and minerals that our plants need to grow. Nitrogen is particularly important during the plant growth phase as it promotes leaf growth. In appropriate amounts, nettle water is good for all your plants, but too much nitrogen on flowering plants can delay flowering.

How can you tell if plants are suffering from nitrogen deficiency?

Plants suffering from nitrogen deficiency turn lighter in colour and growth slows down. The first sign that your plants are suffering from nitrogen deficiency is when the old leaves on the plant turn yellow.

How to make nettle water:

  1. Pick nettles and put them in a bucket.
  2. Add water to cover the nettles and put a lid over the top.
  3. The nettles will start decomposing – stir your mixture with a stick from time to time. 
  4. After about two weeks it is ready and only the coarse nettle stems remain. You can add these to the compost.
  5. The nettle water has now become very concentrated and is far too strong for your plants. This means you need to mix one part nettle water to nine parts water. This will provide the right amount of nutrition for your plants. 

If you place the container of nettle water in the sun, the decomposition process will be faster.

Nettles can be picked throughout the season. Although the thinner nettles in spring contain more nutrients, large nettles are also beneficial. It is therefore possible to make new nettle water throughout the growing season.

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When should you water your plants with fertiliser?

After a rainstorm is a good time to water your plants with nettle water, as the water will have no problem at all draining into the soil. Remember to water around the plants and not the plants themselves.