Swill made from plants acts as a natural tonic in the ornamental and vegetable garden and is very popular among hobby gardeners, as it is very easy to make yourself. One of the best-known is stinging nettle liquid manure: it is considered pest-repellent and provides the plants with nitrogen, potassium and other important minerals such as silicic acid. The latter is said to improve the taste of vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers, among other things. The ingredients used are fresh shoots of the stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) and water, ideally rainwater low in minerals.
If you frequently prepare nettle liquid manure, you should think about planting the wild plant in the garden, for example in a hidden spot behind the compost. This will also increase the biodiversity in the garden, because the common nettle is one of the most important plants for feeding insects.
Step by step: How to prepare a nettle liquid manure
Chop fresh nettles
For the preparation, you first need about a kilo / 2 lbs of fresh nettles. If dried material is already available, about 200 grams / 7 oz of it will do. Cut the nettles into small pieces with scissors and put them in a large container.
Pour water on the nettles
Further, you will need about ten liters / 2.5 gal of water. Pour the required amount on the nettles, stir vigorously and make sure that all parts of the plant are covered with water.
Add rock flour (optional)
The addition of rock flour binds the strong-smelling ingredients, because the odor of fermenting liquid manure can become very intense. A handful of compost or loam also reduces odor during fermentation.
Cover the container
Cover the container so that it is permeable to air, for example, with a jute bag, and let the mixture steep for 10 to 14 days.
Stir the nettle liquid manure daily
It is important that you stir the liquid manure daily with a stick. The nettle liquid manure is ready when no more rising bubbles can be seen.
Sieve nettle liquid manure (optional)
Before use, sieve the fermented plant residues. You can then compost them or use them as mulch.
Dilute nettle liquid manure with water before use
Nettle liquid manure is applied diluted with water in a ratio of one to ten. It can be poured as a natural fertilizer and tonic or, for pest control, sprayed directly on all plants whose leaves are not consumed, as this would otherwise be a somewhat unappetizing affair. Important: Before spraying, strain the liquid again through a cloth so that the nozzle is not clogged.
As with so many things in the garden, it is best to try yourself. Maybe a dilution of one to five is better for some plant. Some gardeners even use 1:2. Generally, you can not really harm the plants, as the fertilizing effects does not last very long.
What is the difference between a liquid manure and a broth?
Plant slurries are made by fermenting plant parts in water. Broths, on the other hand, are made by letting fresh plant parts steep in water for a maximum of 24 hours, but usually only overnight, and finally simmering them again for about half an hour. The broth is then diluted and applied immediately. Plant broths have hardly any fertilizing effect and are therefore mainly used as plant strengtheners. In contrast to plant yeasts, they should be used as fresh as possible and do not keep for long.
Prepare nettle liquid manure: The most important facts in brief
A nettle liquid manure is easy to prepare yourself. Cut about one kilogram of fresh nettles into small pieces, put them in a large container and pour about ten liters of water, so that all parts of the plant are covered. A little rock flour prevents the liquid manure from starting to stink. Then the nettle liquid manure must steep covered for 10 to 14 days. Stir it daily, however. As soon as no more bubbles rise, the liquid manure is ready.