Often it’s the simplest things in life that give us most pleasure, a stroll in the park, time spent with friends an hour spent in the garden. So it seems only naturally that when it comes to tending to your garden plants that natures way is most effective.
Thankfully gone are the days when applying masses of toxic chemicals and poisons are the norm, as we move toward a holistic approach to garden management and plant care. Home brews and remedies for plant ailments have in the past been labelled as dare I say old wives tales that neither cure or kill but as large chemical companies rush to rebrand their products incorporating some of the better known herbal plant and home based product remedies we are seeing an upturn in the use of natures and household cures.
I remember from years gone by old boy gardeners telling me a young whippersnapper at the time! To go pick nettles for green compost tea, I recall thinking this was an odd request but keen to learn off I’d trot armed with bin liners and shears to find the freshest non-flowering crop of nettles. Quickly realising that by regularly harvesting from the same locations on a rota system meant that I had an ample supply of fresh nettles right up until the first frosts.
These nettles would be crushed whilst still in the bin liners and carefully transferred to an old bulb net or a hessian sack tied with luminous baler twine. This precious crop was then lowered into a large tank or water butt to ferment allow the rich nitrogen-based nutrients to leach into the water, therefore creating a rich green tea or nettle soup full of life giving nutrients ideally for watering newly planted perennials and shrubs, containers and using as a foliar spray.
These days I’m not asking my trainees to gather nettles, some traditionas are best kept in the past, but that said for your own use a nettle patch in your garden is a good idea both for fresh green leaves to dig into your soil and overwinter as an instant green manure or as suggested a plant tonic for boosting garden plants.
However I have far from given up on the virtures of Compost tea in-fact progressing to a more productive method of producing 100’s of litres of Compost tea with minimum effort.
NB: If you thinking of buliding a compost heap remember to build in a drainage point as there will be leaching of nutrients into nearby soil! Now if you are able to store and collect this rich liquid humus that forms and leaches from an active compost heap, then you do indeed have yourself an unlimted supply of liquid gold.