Top leaves picked from the Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) early in the season are my absolute favorite cooked green. I use around four ounces of dried leaves to 16 ounces of vodka or vinegar. This method has been used to reduce joint pain, such as what is experienced by those with arthritis. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Choose a sunny, warm location that is well drained and fertile. Squeeze to drain as much moisture as possible, chop, and place in freezer bags or containers. Nettles can be grown in containers. Perhaps this is why they were given the Latin name dioica, which means “two houses.”. It is safe for almost everyone, has a plethora of uses, and is actually quite delicious. Once established, it will come back in the spring. There are quite a number of claims about the healing properties of some root and leaf extracts, but many of these are inconclusive and largely anecdotal. Stinging Nettle (Urtica Dioica) - Stinging Nettle is found growing all across North America and especially in moist, forested soil. Yum, that soup sounds delicious, Onwuka, and I would love to try it! They prefer a a slightly acid, rich soil but will grow on any soil type – wet or dry, rich or poor. The leaves can be preserved and consumed in a number of ways. I am now a complete convert. Nettles grow 2 to 5 feet tall and have opposite leaves. Throw them in soups, pasta, stir fries, stews, or omelets. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. "Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way", by Susun S. Weed, 1992. Some people purposely sting themselves to encourage the release of an anti-inflammatory response. It's considered an aggressive invasive and has become established and common in certain areas. Water, as necessary, to keep the soil moist. It spreads by vigorous creeping rhizomes, and often forms dense clusters. Harvest the leaves of the plants at anytime during the growing season. Plant in full sun or partial shade. Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. Keep the soil moist throughout the spring until you are done harvesting, after which time the plants will usually take care of themselves. Growing flowers in an existing nettle bed is a simple way to create a butterfly border." Copyright Leaf Group Ltd. // Leaf Group Lifestyle. There’s one way to find out! Once your nettle seedlings are several inches tall and look strong and healthy, cut the bottoms off the compostable pots, transplanting the seedlings pot and all into an area where the nettles won't be a nuisance. This versatile edible and medicinal herb is not often cultivated, but foraging it from the wild is certainly not your only option. If you are concerned about spreading, consider confining it to containers. Stinging nettle is a multifaceted companion plant and has a very special place within a cannabis garden. Nettle fabric was used by Europeans and Native Americans for linens and sailcloth as early as the 16th and 17th century. Nettle is easy to grow and can easily be started by seed indoors, or divided from existing patches. She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible! You can also cut off the flowering seed heads when they form, which will encourage a better crop next year, as less energy will be diverted to seed production. Nettle, Urtica dioica, is an herbaceous perennial in the Urticaceae family that is often found growing wild in the understory of riparian zones, on the edges of meadows, in open forests, or in disturbed soils near pasture. Nettles prefers rich soil with good moisture content and especially favors the edges of streams or nutrient-dense pastures. Dead nettles are hardy perennials in USDA growing zones 4 to 10. Nettles have a fine, web-like root system. Grow dead nettles by providing a great deal of moisture with … If you are unsure if the seed has been stratified, place the seed in the refrigerator or freezer for 30 days before planting. Seeds are very tiny and require light for germination. Never mind worrying about pests and disease. They can be used to make a fresh nettle soup, added to stews, used in baking, or simply sauteed in a little butter and garlic as a side dish. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. Place the mixture in a tightly lidded jar in a dark location, and shake it daily. One of my favorite recipes is this iced fennel and nettle tea from our sister site, Foodal. It can grow from two to four feet tall at maturity. Upon contact, the tiny needles pierce the skin and release chemicals including acetylcholine, formic acid, histamine, and serotonin, which trigger inflammation and pain that can unfortunately last for up to several hours. And so I started learning. Though seen by many as an irritating weed, nettles have been appreciated by foragers for a long time, and they are so much more than just a menace to be wary of. A stinging nettle is mature at the end of the first season of growth. Nettles can also be foraged easily, and they grow as a weedy perennial all over the place. Frozen nettles are a great addition to any food that would be good with added greens. No care is needed to keep the plant alive during the winter months. Just bundle up six or seven stems, and hang them in a dry, dark place with good air circulation. Another benefit of growing stinging nettle is that it actually can reduce the risk of pest infestation for surrounding crops. I highly recommend Groves’s book, which is available from Amazon, if you want to learn more about how to use common plants as herbal remedies. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Stinging nettle (Urtica genus) is a European native plant that has become naturalized throughout the United States. If you have a friend with a thriving patch, ask if you can dig up a couple of plants in late fall and replant them in your yard. Plant or sow in early spring and summer. Keep in a dark place, such as a pantry. Before puttingt them in the garden, harden them off for a week. After removing stalks, leave them to decompose on the ground around plants. It has toothed opposite leaves along the stems, which are almost heart shaped, and very small flowers. Peat pots work great for nettles. You may quickly be convinced, as I was, that this plant is well worth the hassle of cultivation – and perhaps the very occasional sting. Drinking it reminds me of sitting in a peaceful forest. Once planted, stinging nettles need to be cultivated to keep the plants under control, as they may become invasive if not managed in the garden. Managing Pests and Disease. I just could not understand why anyone wanted this plant around. The needles are generally pointed downward, so work from the top of the plant downwards. Stinging nettle is mentioned in the Nine herbs charm. Bring a basket, bucket, or paper bag, and a clean and sharp pair of scissors. Gardener’s Path and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Cooking, drying, crushing, or blending will remove the stings, making leaves safe to handle and eat. Just be sure to wear gloves, long sleeves and pants, and closed-toe shoes. In a study by David James, associate professor of entomology at Washington State University, from 2011 to 2013 researchers monitored beneficial insect populations in U. dioica patches at three locations in the Yakima Valley. Garden centers generally don't sell stinging nettle plants, so if you want seedlings, you will have to start the plants from seeds first. Just shake out a seed head into a jar or bag. Frequently, I would be out peacefully weeding my beds and daydreaming – until I was jolted back to earth by an unexpected sting, the effects of which could last for hours. Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map! A cold tolerant perennial herb, native to North America and Eurasia, is so named for the burning sensation one gets from brushing up against its coarsely toothed oval leaves, armed with stinging hairs. I think I will domesticate it in the nearest future. I remember my mum using it to treat wounds on people. Nettle is an herbaceous, quick-growing plant whose leaves and stems are covered with tiny, hollow, silica-tipped hairs which can cause irritation. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using plant-based remedies or supplements for health and wellness. You can leave the nettle soup for up to an hour and dilute at a ratio of 1:10. Nettle was once widely … Stinging nettles need nutrient-rich soil and should be cut back in June or July, to stimulate new shoots to grow, providing more food for caterpillars. Or, why not find them in the woods? The flavor is sweet and salty, with a pleasant, earthy taste. You’ll need about one cup of liquid nettle rennet per gallon of milk. In some parts of the US, stinging nettle is considered an invasive weed due to its ability to self-seed and spread through its root mass. Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →, Kansas State University: Stinging Nettle (PDF). Here’s how – and why – you should grow it at home. Stinging nettles will benefit from organic compost added as a soil addendum or applied as a mulch around the plants. Fill peat pots or other growing containers with potting soil and plant one to three seeds per container. Once you’ve harvested the greens, you can use them as you would any leafy green. Nettle leaf tea can have diuretic properties and is often used to relieve the symptoms of urinary tract infections. If you’re using fresh leaves, it’s best to chop them and use about eight ounces of leaves to 16 ounces of liquid. Hippocrates recorded 61 medicinal uses of the plant in the fourth and fifth centuries BCE. Plant cuttings in a prepared bed in full sun. Over the winter the foliage will die back and the plants will go dormant, reemerging in spring. The dead nettle, or lamium, is a plant that can handle cold and warm temperatures almost equally. Nettles Help Heating Up The Compost Pile By Supplying Nitrogen. In fact, it might just be my favorite herb yet! It doesn’t mind cooler weather. Just remember not to put a fresh nettle leaf on the side of the plate to garnish your dish, or you may end up with a prickly surprise. Water, as necessary, to keep the soil moist. Sow seeds in flats in late winter. The finished product can range from fine and soft to thick and rough. Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) likes full sun or partial shade in any well-drained soil. Plant one to three seeds in peat pots filled with potting soil. You know your way around the Nettle plant. Seeds should germinate in approximately 14 days. Though it stings the hands, it does not sting the gut. Keep your gloves on when you wash them, carefully removing any dirt or insects. To harvest, cut back the top third of the plant, just above a node where leaves branch off, which will encourage new growth. The staff at Gardener’s Path are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice intended to assess, diagnose, prescribe, or promise cure. Contact dermatitis from stinging nettle?, Garden, 11 replies Barnegat Bay infested with Jellyfish..(Stinging Sea Nettle's), New Jersey, 6 replies News Video, UK hosts nettle eating contest., Food and Drink, 3 replies Plastic Plant Pot or Clay Plant Pot?, Phoenix area, 6 replies Insects found included predatory bugs, predaceous flies, parasitic wasps, and native bees. They will spread quickly, once they become established. U. dioica has been used to address a range of ailments over the centuries. I have never tasted a cooked green – either wild or domestic – that I like better. Dried leaves can also be ground into a powder for use in cooking, to make tea, or as a nutritional supplement. Stinging nettles can also be grown from root cuttings. These are actually tiny hollow tubes known as trichomes. Be conscious about what you are doing. To blanch, place in boiling water for a minute or two, and then quickly douse in ice water. Nostalgic! In my various articles, I have talked about several fertilisers both inorganic and organic from growmore, fish, blood and bone, Seaweed extract, Q4 Fertiliser, Phostrogen and many more. You can store the fresh leaves in the refrigerator for two to five days, just make sure they are kept in a closed container to prevent them from inadvertently stinging anyone! Grow the quick-growing ground cover in moist but well-drained soil in partial or full shade. Let it sit for about a month and then strain. You can also try blending the infused vinegar with honey to make an oxymel, which is perhaps even tastier! Plants can later be thinned to an inch apart. Space seedlings about 8 inches apart. Dried nettles are 25.2% protein, 2.3% fat, and have only 0.6 calories per gram. To use, dilute a few drops of the tincture in half a cup of water and drink as a general health tonic. Keep the growing stinging nettle seeds moist. If this article hasn’t quite won you over yet, I encourage you to taste some nettle tea for yourself. Stinging nettles are a common weed, tough weed to control. The nutritious leaves of the nettle plant attract ladybugs. Plant 1-3 seeds in a pot that is filled with a good quality potting soil. Stinging Nettle, or Nettle, has been well regarded throughout the ages for both its culinary and medicinal uses. Use this to your advantage by planting it in a thick perimeter around your grow. Click here to get yours! As long as you use one of these methods, nettle leaves can be a part of practically any dish, used in a similar way to spinach or other leafy greens. If you can learn to properly identify them – which isn’t difficult if you touch them, but relying on visual cues is preferred!
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