Most people buy fertilizer at the garden store but you can make it yourself, using Stinging Nettle, a plant that grows wild everywhere in Israel at this time of year.
“Nettle tea” gives your plants nitrogen, chlorophyll, magnesium, sulfur, iron, potassium, copper, zinc and calcium.
Nettle Tea Fertilizer Recipe
Step 1: Find some Stinging Nettle. It is most likely growing now in your yard, parking lot, nearby abandoned lot, or roadside. Use the pictures in this album to identify it, or look at other images online if you’re not sure.
Step 2: Pick enough to fill your container, which can be any size or shape, as long as it has a lid.Warning: Stinging nettle stings, but is not dangerous. Wear gloves or a bag over your hand while picking. A few hours after picking, it looses its sting.
Step 3: Fill the container with water. On a rainy day, you can just leave it outside and let Hashem fill it up for you. When it’s full, cover it and set it aside.
Step 4: Stir the liquid every day or two for 1-2 weeks. It will ferment fast, especially in warm weather. There are two signs it’s brewing: it will bubble when you stir it and it will start to smell rank. After a few weeks, the fermentation process will be complete.
How to use Nettle Tea as Liquid Fertilizer
Strain out the solids. Then dilute the liquid 1:10 and pour it on the roots of fruit trees, summer vegetables and flowers.
Don’t overdo it. It’s strong stuff! Use a bit now, and store the rest for boosting your plants all summer long.
That’s it! Like with all fermentation, the microbes are doing all the hard work. We just create the conditions and watch.
I recommend you go through the photo album to better understand the process.
Got any questions? Just ask in the comments!
My name is Naomi and this is my tiny little farm in the heart of the rapidly growing city of Beit Shemesh, Israel. I enjoy growing, making and processing as much of my family's food and household essentials as possible, while nurturing a biodiverse ecosystem filled with beauty and life.