Q How do I make nettle tea?
A Nettles are easily found on roadside verges and in hedgerows. Many gardeners find room for nettles in their allotments and wild corners of their gardens as nettles provide a food source for many of our wonderful native butterflies, including the peacock, red admiral and small tortoiseshell.
Take any plastic container that has a lid, such as an old dustbin or bucket, and fill it to the top with freshly picked and shredded nettle leaves. Then press them down as hard as you can. Fill up the rest of the container with water to around one part leaves to two parts water and put on the lid.
After four weeks, strain the resulting liquid from the decomposing plant remains. Dilute this liquid to about one part to 10 parts with water, and use for feeding fruit and vegetable crops.
Remember that the concentration will vary, so don’t use homemade feed on small seedlings.
Q What nutrients does nettle tea contain?
A In the Which? Gardening magazine trial, both our spring and summer batches of nettle tea had high potassium (K) levels, although not as high as the comfrey tea, and good nitrogen (N) levels, but no phosphorus. Just like comfrey tea, this makes it ideal for encouraging a good crop of veg. It had higher levels of trace minerals, too, so if your veg does seem a bit lacklustre, this tea might be just the tonic.
WHICH? GARDENING MAGAZINE VERDICT Easy to make and you don’t have to give nettles room in your garden. Although it’s great for your vegetable plot, it can be very smelly.