Thursday, 7 June 2012

How to Make FREE Fertiliser for Your Garden

Growing lots of tasty vegetables can use a LOT of fertiliser, especially for high nutrient requirement plants like tomatoes. It can be quite expensive to feed your plants weekly with shop-bought fertiliser over the summer, but good news! There's a completely free alternative!

You can make fertiliser from stinging nettles and water!

I first heard about this technique from my Nana, who has a wealth of frugal tips for gardening! It's great because you're helping your plants AND getting rid of weeds at the same time!

Here's how to do it:
  1. Find a particularly vicious-looking stinging nettle patch!
  2. Grab a large bucket or tub, preferably with a lid because this is going to get stinky!
  3. Pull up the stinging nettle plants (not the roots, those things go down sooooo far) and chop them up into your bucket. Make sure you're protecting yourself from their triffid-like stings with gloves. You want to damage them as much as possible to release the nutrient-rich juices.
  4. Once you have mostly filled the bucket with chopped stingers (this takes a fair while to achieve!), then grab a handy brick or rock and go to town on them even more, crushing them into oblivion. If you've been stung as many times as me in the past, you'll really enjoy this part. Yelling “DIE, DIE, DIE!” is optional, but enjoyable.

  5. Fill your bucket of mushy nettles with water, and please do cover it with a lid or something. You need to leave it for at least 3-4 weeks and it's a very smelly process!

  6. After a month or more of decomposing, your nettle-based fertiliser is now ready to use. Just skim out the plant material and use the tea-coloured liquid as fertiliser. PLEASE NOTE that this is potent stuff. If you apply the neat liquid directly to your plants it will scorch the leaves. You should dilute it one part to ten and apply no more than weekly to your plants.

I hope you enjoy the resulting vegetables, if not the smelly process in between! Just remember, it's free! :D

Got any top tips for growing your own? How are your plants doing?


skipandscatter said...

Neat! Despite being nasty little stingers, nettles are surprisingly useful. I remember my grandfather making a similar kind of fertiliser as well as feeding fresh chopped up nettles to chickens. I even heard of nettle soup! Unfortunately (or fortunately, given my luck) nettles don't seem to be as abundant in Canada as they are in Europe. Go figure.

Wean said...

Yes they do make excellent fertiliser, but I would never shout 'die' ! because there are so many culinary uses for them, they are a rich source of iron, I have a whole recipe book dedicated to nettle recipes, they're not just for soup or wine.
Coincidentally, as the nettle season is upon us, I am at the moment compiling a blog post of the use of nettles. It should be up in a couple of days, hope you pop over and have a look.

Erika said...

Well that's a neat idea! I've only ever heard of a using when my Nana talked about using them in soup.

y yilmaz said...

I had nettle soup today
─░ts seriosly good