Nettles week 18-24 May 2009
I’m sure we’ve all been stung by a nettle at least once. I remember Little Miss green walking barefoot through a patch when she was 18 months old.
The weird thing was, I’d never told her that nettles sting (it hadn’t occurred in her life yet). She walked through them, her feet and ankles were covered in red and white hives, but she didn’t even wince. She didn’t feel it. It was like it didn’t hurt her.
The power of the mind? An interesting idea about how our beliefs effect us?
Anyway, this post isn’t about the power of the mind, it’s about the wonders of the nettle and the celebration of nettle week between 13-24 May 2009.
Our neighbour has just eradicated hers with Roundup, but that’s like killing off a valuable free food source!
Throughout history, the nettle has been used for food, medicine, a compost activator, for beautifying the hair and even clothing fibres.
Food as medicine
Nettles provide a great source of free food. They are high in trace elements and a wonderful source of iron and calcium. They are great for a spring detox or if you are anaemic. If you’re a breastfeeding Mum, nettles are a great way to boost milk supply.
Use nettles to make soup, use instead of spinach or make into tea. Why not try this recipe for nettle pesto?
Nettles and wildlife
Before you kill off your nuisance weed, stop and think about the environmental implications of that. The nettle is an important native plant for wildlife in the UK.
The nettle supports over 40 species of insect including some of our most colourful butterflies. Ladybirds love them and birds will eat the seeds later in the year.
No gardener should be without nettles. Thanks to ‘makeover’ tv programmes, many of us are intent on competing with nature rather than co-operating and we rip up nettles from our land.
One of the finest gifts for gardeners is a patch of nettles. Not only will you get ladybirds to eat the aphids, but you’ll get a nitrogen-rich plant for your compost heap.
You can even make nettle tea – a free plant food which your crops will love.
Take part and celebrate!
There are various nettle events taking place throughout the uk; find out what is happening near you with the Be Nice to Nettles week ‘events finder‘.
What about you? Do you have nettles in your garden? Do you use them or wish they weren’t there?
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