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Nettle, Urtica dioica, Organic

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Nettle, Urtica dioica, Organic


Availability: In stock

Packet Size:500mg
Average Seed Count:1,000 Seeds


To the wild food and herb forager who has learned to respect its sting and recognise its attributes, Urtica dioica, commonly known as the Stinging Nettle is a true delight. Most notably recognised, as its name suggests, for inflicting its painful sting when brushed by one’s bare skin, this wild herb is one of the most useful plants we have.

Urtica dioica is a very valuable plant on account of its rich nutritional content, it has been used for food and medicine, for fibre and as a dye by many traditional cultures for hundreds of years.
Medicinally, it is used to treat and exhaustive list of aliments from allergies to arthritis, muscle and joint pain. Many herbalists are of the opinion that eating nettles daily is more strengthening than many green supplements that we buy in pills and packets and not naturally found in our local outdoor herbal larder. Juicing the leaves is a popular form of tonic and may even be applied to cuts to reduce bleeding. In spring, the nettle is one of the first green plants to grow in abundance during the barren months from January to April. It is always the herb which provides the first cup of truly fresh herb tea.

The young leaves of Stinging nettle are very nutritious and easily digestible with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Cooked or thoroughly dried leaves are safe to eat as these processes neutralises the sting. Treated as a vegetable, they can be steamed and eaten like spinach or cooked in soups, stews, pesto or gnocchi. They are a great addition to omelettes, and even a topping to pizza. The leaves can be dried for winter use and the seeds can be utilised as a crunchy topping or mixed with yoghurt.

Nettles are most useful to the organic gardener, the leaves and stems can be used to make nitrogen-rich liquid feed for your plants. They are also useful when added to compost heaps, acting as a natural compost activator to speed up the decomposition process.

This seed has been organically produced. The seed has been harvested from plants that have themselves been raised organically, without the use of chemicals.

The nettle plant is an herbaceous perennial dying down to ground level in winter. It is easy to grow in any moist fertile soil, in full sun to semi-shade. They especially favour the edges of streams or nutrient-dense pastures and grow to a height of 60 to 120cm (24 to 48in).
Select your location carefully as nettles are very hardy and can spread with the right conditions. The plants spread by a bright yellow rhizomatous root system and may need to be controlled with a root barrier. It recommended to find a permanent spot with rich, moist conditions a little away from (or on the periphery of) your other herbs. The roots can be dug up at the end of each season to prevent the plants spreading out of control.

Nettle seeds are tiny, light dependent germinators that can be started indoors or out. Sow in autumn or very early spring for germination in spring.
To start, tamp the small seeds lightly into the soil or cover with a thin layer of soil, 2mm (¼in). If starting indoors, sow in pots in late winter and transplant in early spring. Space plants approximately 20cm (8in) apart. If direct sowing, seed in spring and thin as desired and plant rows 2cm (1in) apart. Water as needed during dry periods.

Young leaves and shoots for infusions, drying or cooking are best harvested in spring through to autumn. Wait until the little Nettles are 20cm (4in) high or so, and snip them off. Be sure to wear gloves when harvesting to avoid the sting delivered by tiny hairs on the leaves and stem.
If the nettles are very young only harvest the top bud and first leaf set. Harvesting the terminal (top) bud will stimulate lateral bud growth causing the plant to become bushier and allowing you to harvest continually from the same plant.
To dry, place on well-ventilated screen, and place in a dark, warm and dry place.
Do not harvest when flowering and avoid harvesting old leaves after flowering as these become unpalatable. Once the plant flowers, leave them until the seeds ripen to a dark green before picking. Gather the dried seeds into a bowl and push through a metal sieve to remove any debris. Store seeds in a dry, glass jar with a screw top in a cool, dry, dark place. When kept cool and dry they can be used for re-sowing or for culinary use for several months.

Nettle Liquid Feed:
One of the major practical uses for the average gardener is growing nettles as a green manure as it provides a nitrogen-rich feed for your plants and garden.
To make a liquid feed, simply cut or crush the nettles into small pieces and cram into a large container. Weigh the nettles down with bricks, and submerge with water. Store away from the house, to avoid the smell. After around three or four weeks the liquid should be ready for use. The mixture should be diluted until it is tea coloured - usually around 1 part liquid to 10 parts water.
Continue to top up your container with more leaves and water through the year. As autumn sets in put the remainder of the feed and the sludge in your compost heap.
Chopped nettles act as a natural compost activator and speed up the decomposition process in compost heaps. For the best results, make sure the nettles are thoroughly mixed with lots of different materials - dry, wet, soft and woody - otherwise they become slimy. Don't add nettle roots, unless your heap is very hot.

Culinary Uses:
The young leaves of Stinging nettle are very nutritious and easily digestible with high levels of vitamins and minerals. Cooked or thoroughly dried leaves are safe to eat as these processes neutralises the sting. Treated as a vegetable, they can be steamed and eaten like spinach or cooked in soups, stews, pesto or gnocchi. They are a great addition to omelettes, and even a topping to pizza. The leaves can be dried for winter use and the seeds can be utilised as a crunchy topping or mixed with yoghurt.

Medicinal Uses:
The nettle has been used for hundreds of years to treat painful muscles and joints, eczema, arthritis, gout, and anaemia. In medieval Europe Stinging nettle was used as a diuretic (to rid the body of excess water) and to treat joint pain. Today, many people use it to treat urinary problems during the early stages of an enlarged prostate, for urinary tract infections, for hay fever, or in compresses or creams for treating joint pain, sprains and strains, tendinitis, and insect bites.
Studies suggest that the consumption of leaf teas aid the formation of blood cell hemoglobin and coagulation. It has also been found to be highly beneficial to women during pregnancy.
Nettles makes a highly nutritive slow-acting tonic useful in the treatment of many chronic ailments requiring long term treatment. It is also used in salt-reduced diets.

Nettles constitute some 30 species widely distributed around the word. Some even native to Australia and New Zealand, but the Stinging nettle is the most prominent member of the genus. Urtica dioica is native to Europe, Asian, northern Africa and North America.

The genus name Urtica comes from the Latin verb urere, meaning 'to burn,' (or uro, meaning ‘I burn,’) alluding to the nettle's sting.
The species name dioica derives from dioecious, having male and female flowers on separate plants. The word derives from the Greek word dioecy meaning ‘two households’.
The common name of Nettle may be derived from Netel (Anglo saxon) coming from Noedl meaning needle,
It has a number of other interesting colloquial names: European Nettle, Common nettle, Stinging nettle, Devil’s Apron, Scaddie, Naughty Man’s Plaything, Hoky-poky, Tanging Nettle, Jenny-nettle, Devil’s Leaf, Sting-leaf, Heg-beg.

How Nettles Sting:
It is much more interesting to grow and harvest nettles when you understand how the stinging process works and learn how to handle (and even eat!) them sans gloves without getting stung. When looking at a stinging nettle, you can see little hairs on the stem and leaves. These hairs are hollow and when they get under your skin, the tips break off and allow the formic acid (among other things) under your skin. I don’t know if every hair is hollow or if every hollow hair has acid associated with it. I do know that sometimes the lightest touch will get you stung and sometimes it takes effort to get stung.
The key is that the hairs on the leaves all aim from the cleft or top of the leaf to the point or bottom of the leaf. If you run your finger from cleft to point, you will not get stung and you will impress your friends. If you run your finger from the pointy end up toward the cleft and central stem, chances are excellent you will get stung. It’s as simple as that.
Imagine you wish to harvest some nettles, and you have your scissors but forgot your gloves. No problem, you say, because you know the secret (or you pull your sleeves down over your fingers). All you to do is cut the portion you need, hover your fingers above and below the leaf, then pinch it. Voila, no sting, because you know the hairs don’t point straight out, they angle down the leaf. All you’ve done is press them flat against the leaf where they cannot poke you. Now you can place the nettle in your collecting bag and continue harvesting. If you’ve forgotten your scissors, you can harvest leaf by leaf (but that takes a long time). If you choose to go this route, be extra careful. When you select your leaf and pinch it, look at the location of the nearby leaves before you pull it from the stem. Beware the smaller upper leaves that dangle down and zap the top of your hand. And be mindful of the larger lower leaves that sneak out and get you on the wrist as you’re watching out for the wily upper leaves. Stinging nettle is a plant that demands respect.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Packet Size 500mg
Average Seed Count 1,000 Seeds
Family Urticaceae
Genus Urtica
Species dioica
Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Hardiness Hardy Perennial
Height 60 to 90cm (24 to 36in).
Spread 60 to 90cm (24 to 36in).
Position Full sun or part shade preferred.
Soil Will grow in any soil but prefers moist rich soil.

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