Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 

Turning a common and productive weed into nutritious liquid feed for your plants

I’ve never before made nettle liquid feed, but after seeing a large hedgerow bursting with opportunity, I couldn’t resist. The field margins around the allotment are ripe with possibilities when it comes to sourcing nutrients for my plants. One major concern with using weeds is introducing the weed seeds or roots into the plot so liquid feed is ideal. The steeping process kills any seeds and roots so you get all the good stuff without the risks.

Why nettles?

Nettles are able to grab lots of nutrients from the ground and a plant feed made from them captures nitrogen and other essential minerals which can be given to more useful crops. The liquid feed is good as an all-rounder when it comes to feeding plants. Those looking for more specific fruiting or flowering boosters should try some like a comfrey feed.

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
Nettles

What you’ll need

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
The tools you’ll need

I went armed with some good gardening gloves, a 5-litre bucket, and some good gardening gloves. The Golden Retriever came along to help but I’m pretty sure it can be completed without her. The gloves were an obvious choice. I bought large buckets with a good lid to keep the contents, and associated smell contained.

The process of nettle liquid feed production

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
Fill the bucket well with nettles

Completely fill a bucket with cuttings of nettles. I wasn’t sure where in the plant the most nutrition was hiding so I put a mixture of leaves and stems, young and old. Press the leaves in tight to maximise the nutrients. Fill the bucket with water until the nettles are covered and put the lid on.

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
The stinky product after a couple of weeks

After two weeks you’ll have a stinky stew of your very own. The smell is bad! The neighbours even stuck their head over the fence to enquire about the health of my newborn!

Bottling nettle liquid feed

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
Tools for the bottling process

I gathered a funnel and sieve (purchased for garden use only) and some empty bottles.

Nettle debris

After straining the mixture I ended up with some very stinky stalks that I threw up the top of the garden, and a stinky brown liquid.

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
Dark smelly gold

The final product

Home made plant feed: How to turn nettles into liquid feed 
A little of the final product

Here’s two of the bottles I found to fill with nettle liquid feed. I pour in a couple of glugs of liquid and dilute with 9 litres of water in my watering can. The smell does linger for a while after feeding the plants but not forever. The water is slightly coloured only. I don’t want to overdose the plants because this can scorch the roots and doesn’t mean better results. Less is more.

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