It's not nice to play favorites, but if we had to choose one plant which can pretty much do it all, it's Stinging Nettle! Nettle is delicious and nutritious. It mines for vitamins and minerals and makes them available for us and also releases them to your plants when used as a homemade fertilizer. It's also one of the most potent and versatile herbal medicines available to the home gardener. Can you tell we like it a little bit? :)
Why We Love It
Here are some of the reasons why we love Nettle...
1) NUTRIENT DENSE - Stinging nettle is loaded with vitamins A, K, C, iron, calcium, potassium, and protein. It helps build blood and many think of it as nature's multivitamin.
2) AMAZING FERTILIZER - All of the nutrients that are in nettle that are so good for our bodies are also amazing for our gardens. You can use nettle to make homemade fertilizer. It combines really well with comfrey and horsetail.
3) HOME FOR BUTTERFLIES, LADY BEETLES AND APHIDS - Nettle is an insectary plant, which means that it is home for many beneficial insects in your garden. These beneficial insects will help your garden by competing with pests.
4) POTENT MEDICINE - Nettle is famous for alleviating anemia, stimulating hair growth, promoting circulation, treating allergies, and alleviation arthritis and inflammation. The seeds are extremely nourishing to the adrenals and help you adapt more effectively to stress.
How to Grow It
Here's how to grow Nettles:
|SUN||SUN to PART SHADE
|MOISTURE||DROUGHT TOLERANT BUT PREFERS MOIST ZONES
|GROWING ZONES||USDA ZONES 3-10 (Not sure? Find your growing zone here)|
|SIZE||3-7 FEET TALL & WIDE|
|PRO TIP||Spreads via rhizomes in the ground, so plant at the edges of your garden where they have room to expand. Make sure to use thick gloves when you harvest. The stinging nature of nettles is eliminated by just a few minutes of cooking.|
How to Harvest & Use It
Make sure to wear thick gloves when you harvest nettles. The leaves are best harvested in the Spring and can be harvested repeatedly until the seeds start to develop in the Summer. The seeds are best harvested in the Fall when they start to drop into their leaves. The roots can be dug in the Fall. You can use nettles to make fertilizer any time of year. The stinging nature of nettles is eliminated by just a few minutes of cooking.
Here's a video on how to use nettles to make homemade fertilizer: