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Nettles ferment used in SFG?

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Nettles ferment used in SFG?

Post  Nain de Jardin on 2/20/2013, 8:49 am

Hi everyone!
During the coaching phone call I had for my SFG teaching certification, I discussed this with Belinda from SFG Foundation and she kindly asked me to share with the forum.

For about two years – before I heard about SFG – I have been prospecting techniques used in organic gardening. One of these is the fermentation of nettle leaves into a fertiliser. This technique was very popular before the coming of chemical fertilisers on the market. I'll share the recipe of nettles ferment in a following post.

Obviously SFG is all about using a soil that already contains all the nutrients the plants need thus eliminating the need for fertilizers. Anyway nettles ferment has many others applications that can be useful in SFG as well.

- diluted at 30% it enhances composting process in your compost pile.
- diluted 5 times it helps puny plantlets recovering from transplantation and stimulates grow.
- It has a preventive action: by spraying 1:20 diluted solution on the leaves it protects plants from aphids and mites.

Nettles ferment have a high level of nitrogen but contains also valuable trace minerals like iron, silica, calcium, potassium, phosphorus. Nettles have the ability to accumulate those elements in their biomass that could be difficult for other plants to access in the soil.

Did I test this in practice on a SFG? Not yet. I'm a newbie in SFG. I'll share with you the results of my tests.

Doing some research on the net makes me think that nettles ferment is a technique that is less popular in English speaking countries than in French speaking countries but there may be a bias due to my non being a native English speaker.

I'm curious to hear from you. Did you know about nettles ferment or have you ever used it?

Some links and documentation I found online
Nain de Jardin

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Nettles ferment tutorial

Post  Nain de Jardin on 2/20/2013, 8:57 am

This post refers to my previous post where I explained why I share this with you.
Here is a good How To I found online that explains very well how to make nettles fermentation.

Very important:
Harvest nettles before they have any flowers or seeds. If you use nettles that have flowered you will have nettles sewn everywhere in your garden!
So the best time to harvest nettles is spring. We use the stinging type so put on gloves! To harvest them you can cut the stem or pull up the plant to snap it off.

Step by step
Use a plastic or wooden bucket (metal container is absolutely to be avoided). You can put a lid on to contain the smell.
Mixture is 1:10 in water measured by weight. Better to make small amounts every fortnight as this liquid have to be used in days (don't store it).
Leave for 2 to 3 weeks (depends on ambient temperature), stirring occasionally. The fermentation is complete when no more bubbles come to the surface.

Filter through an old cloth and pour it into plastic bottles.
I'm warning you: it's stinks! You will have to put on gloves every time you handle the mixture to pour it into other containers to use it on your plants.

Where to find nettles?
There are many spots where nettles grow naturally, like at the edge of thickets, at the bottom of old walls, etc.
Where I live, dried nettles powder can be found in stores so the mixture can be made at any time of the year.

The tutorial explains also how to make ferment from comfrey.
Hope that can be useful for the discussion!
Nain de Jardin

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Re: Nettles ferment used in SFG?

Post  sfgteachers on 2/20/2013, 5:29 pm

Thanks so much for this information. I've never heard of this and I really want to try this!

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Re: Nettles ferment used in SFG?

Post  littlejo on 2/20/2013, 6:03 pm

I had not heard of the nettle ferment, for it is considered a weed, will spread rapidly, wild bird seed is heated so it will not sprout. We can buy seed if the state has no restriction on it.

I bought some comfrey plants so that I can try making some comfrey ferment to try and I already make worm tea, which works real good.

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Re: Nettles ferment used in SFG?

Post  camprn on 2/20/2013, 7:16 pm

Comfrey tea is very similar.


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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau



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