Nettles week 18-24 May 2009

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nettle-weekI’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?

Nettle week

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.

Gardener’s friend

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?

6 Comments

  1. Neil on May 22, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I heartily agree about Nettles, we can’t wait for the new growth in the year so that we can pick fresh nettles for steaming, delicious. We have masses around the garden.

    There are some really nice unusual varieties that can be grown that would still give all the benefits to wildlife. Have a look here:- http://www.alternativeplants.co.uk/

    Look under U for Urtica.



  2. Mrs Green on May 23, 2009 at 6:34 am

    I love this site you linked to Neil, thank you! Our nettles are already up to my thighs, so well established and a little too robust to eat any more!
    You know what is fascinating about the site link you sent me? The person running it lives about 15 miles from me! How about that?!



  3. Neil on May 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    @Mrs Green: We lived in the Forest our selves quite some years back, and Jo has still got relatives living in Lydney.



  4. Mrs Green on June 4, 2009 at 8:06 am

    @Neil: Well what a small world! I had a friend who lived in Lydney, so know it well and spent a happy childhood picnicing with my great Aunt in the park there 🙂



  5. Gene Blanc on July 17, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Nettles have amazing benefits related to pain management. I discovered a US company taking nettle extract and making patches that can be used for back pain, shoulder pain and many other type aches. You can read about the neticle patch at neticalpatchsupplies.com



  6. Mrs Green on July 26, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    @Gene Blanc: Hi Gene, thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I’ll take a look at that link; thank you. I never knew such patches existed. I find it very exciting when I find new ways to utilise the power of herbs 🙂



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