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Instructions on how to fertilize naturally with nettles

The stinging nettle is a useful and medicinal plant that can be harvested anywhere in the city or at the edge of the forest. The nutrient-rich plant is incredibly healthy. It contains more protein than peas and more iron than spinach, just a few of its many health-promoting attributes. It is therefore ideal for fertilizing and caring for your own pot and balcony plants and for fighting unwanted vermin such as aphids. Gardening expert Scarlet Allenspach (34) shows how stinging nettles can be harvested without pain and processed into manure.

Why the nettle burns

All parts of the plant of the stinging nettle are edible. In the current season, it is mainly the young shoots that are harvested, which are currently growing everywhere in the city and on the outskirts and can be cut off with secateurs. The gardening expert also recommends long pants and a long-sleeved top to avoid injuring yourself from the nettles. Why does the nettle actually burn? “The plant has many fine hairs that break when touched,” explains Allenspach. “This process releases silica that burns our skin.”

How the manure is made

One kilogram of stinging nettles is needed for the liquid manure, which roughly corresponds to a bulging shopping bag. The nettles are cut and then poured with ten liters of water. This infusion must be left for one to two weeks to ferment. As soon as the bubbles stop forming and the liquid manure begins to smell unpleasant, it can be processed further. In order to obtain the fertiliser, the liquid manure is passed through a sieve. The remaining nettle mass can be mixed into the compost or used as mulch to protect potting soil from solar radiation.

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The fertilizer concentrate obtained is very strong and must be diluted with water in a ratio of 1:2 before use. To regulate and neutralize the strong odor of the manure, you can add some rock flour, fennel or lavender.

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