8th May 2013 – Nettle Fertilizer

As anyone who has come on a foraging course will know I’m fond of saying that nettles have a sting because they are worth protecting. Course members also have to endure me extolling their extraordinary eating qualities, but yesterday that’s not what interested me.  Young  stingers contain phenomenal amounts of protien (up to 25% in dry samples) and if the plants are allowed to break down in water this converts to nitrogen and the stinking liquid can be used to feed plants. I usually combine nettle fertilizer with a little wood ash to introduce  some potash to the mix and the stuff works miracles on tomatoes and other  crops.

The council kindly provided us with a brown wheely bin for compostable rubbish, but to send organic waste away instead of converting it ourselves would be a self sufficiency sin of the highest order, so it has become my fertilizer barrel.

Pea sticks are up and I am transported back to those winter days, trimming stakes and binders for hedge laying. Warm days and germinating peas seemed an impossible dream then, but still the hazel tops went on the pile to be bound into bundles and stored until spring.

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