Another prickly one – Nettles (Urtica dioica) are rich in chlorophyll, nitrogen, iron, vitamins A, B1, B5, C, D, E and K, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium and more. I grow some each year for healing tea and occasionally blanch and blend them into soups. In the olden days nettles were used not only as hormone balance tonic, immune system booster but also to make wine, clothes and nutritious soup. They are also a good a “trap crop” – they attract caterpillars away from edibles.
Nettles can also be used to create potent and nourishing compost tea for the garden. I was lucky this year – staff from Yanchep National Park, where I occasionally volunteer, allowed me to weed a big patch of nettles. They pointed me to the most succulent specimens, untouched by poison and visibly bulging with nutrients. I managed to pick two huge garbage bags and proudly took them home. Making compost tea is easy – put your nettles into a container, cover with rain water, weight them down with a stone and wait for about 3 weeks. When it gets smelly, dilute about 1:10 for watering. Undiluted it works as a herbicide. Apparently it’s best for green leafy veg and heavy feeders.
A bunch of organically grown nettles is drying out now so in time I should be able to enjoy a nice cuppa while my garden soaks about 200L of “nettle tea”.