Stinging nettles are growing very well around my garden. They seem to grow together in patches. They have also appeared singly in my upper flowerbeds, which are near the nettle patches so I assume they seeded from them. I don’t mind them being around as they are useful and provide splashes of luscious green colour.
As I had been reading about how good stinging nettles are for the soil I decided to leave them in the flower beds and just let them grow alongside my flowers and just see how they all get along. As it happened they all got along very well. The nettles provided a rich green contrast to the bright flowers and let’s face it, if you pull a nettle they soon bring in reinforcements to cover the bare patch.
When some of the stinging nettles looked as though they were likely to take up too much space I simply chopped and dropped. That is, I cut them low, chopped them into bits, and scattered them around the flowerbeds. So I ended up with the nettles multitasking as a mulch and a soil nutrient.
The bed where I scattered the stinging nettles is a riot of colour and scent and the flowers are still blooming away now in October. Okay, I know this is not a scientific experiment but since I am not a scientist it will do for me and I am so happy with the results I will repeat this method in other areas around the garden.
NETTLES IN THE COMPOST HEAP
I also decided to harvest some of the nettles for my compost heap and so yesterday I went nettle picking and then got to work chopping up a whole heap of them. I will add them to the beds I am preparing for next year.
NETTLE TEA FOR PLANTS
Stinging nettles have many uses both in the garden and out. You could try making some nettle tea to help keep your plants and soil healthy although it seemed to me that scattering them around the beds worked well with less effort. Still, if you want to try there’s some information on making nettle tea here.
NETTLES AND MEDICINAL/HEALTH/HARMFUL EFFECTS
This site here has got lots of interesting information about the various medicinal uses of stinging nettles as well the harmful effects. It makes very interesting reading but be careful – if you are ill, the only thing I would recommend is to go and get advice from a health professional. I am just a woman who likes to garden and really there’s enough people around the Internet throwing medical advice around despite having no qualifications whatsoever – without me joining in.
Now, they’re not called stinging nettles for nothing and although I did wear gloves when I was picking, they were loose around the wrists and I did manage to get stung.
I now have a nice little crop of nettle rash spots on my arm but I have had them before and they don’t do any lasting harm. Since I don’t have a career as an arm model to worry about I just rub them with a dock leaf and move on.
Why do I rub them with a dock leaf? Well it was what my Granny used to do and even though I’d love to say it works, it doesn’t. Not for me anyway. However, I must admit wandering round the garden searching for a dock leaf does distract me from the stings so maybe that’s what Granny was on about! Unless you know better????
Happy nettling and be careful out there.