Gardening

Nettle, good girl


It’s pungent, invasive ... but it’s also one of the best medicinal plants available to us! Nettle, as useful in the kitchen as it is in the garden, deserves our respect.

Thriving in wasteland, on embankments and roadsides, many nettle with stinging hairs evokes "stinging" childhood memories of falling on a bicycle or of joking friends. Among the thirty species of the genus, the most common in France are the big nettle (urtica dioica) and the stinging nettle (urtica urens).

This herbaceous plant considered as a "weed" is actually full of virtues. Its stems and leaves are packed with nutrients and minerals (magnesium, sulfur, nitrogen, iron), useful for treatment in the garden, but also for cooking and infusion.

  • Health: health benefits and virtues of nettle

Nettle: Versatile liquid manure

In the form of manure, nettle is a excellent natural fertilizer, as well as a repellant and an antifungal to fight against mites, aphids, downy mildew and powdery mildew. It can also be incorporated into the compost to activate its fermentation.

To make nettle manure, mix 1 kg of chopped nettles (leaves and stems, do not forget your gloves for picking) with 10 liters of rainwater in a wooden or plastic container. Cover, place in the shade and stir occasionally. Maceration takes 5 to 10 days depending on the temperature. The liquid manure is ready when the bubbles have disappeared.

Filter it (using old pantyhose, for example) and pour it into plastic cans. Use it as a spray on the leaves of plants against attack by fungi and insects; in watering on the roots to strengthen them.

Nettle: Magic ingredient

Mineralizing, depurative and diuretic, nettle leaves can provide their nutritional qualities at a lower cost in the kitchen.

Picked tender or when chopped, they do not sting, so you can use them raw to replace the parsley in all your preparations: salads, raw vegetables, etc. Cooked, they are cooked like spinach, in soups, quiches, pies, pesto, puffs, omelets, etc. Fresh or dried, they can be taken as an infusion, as a remineralizing treatment before each new season (count three cups per day, for three weeks).

In all cases, harvest "organic" leaves by picking plants far from cultivated and treated fields.

Laure Hamann

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