4/13/2011

On nettle *juice*

I realize I write too much about stinging nettle (Urtica dioica).  Nettle this, nettle that.  I really can't help the fact that nettle grows in abundance here--it's actually an invasive weed at Amy's Farm.  Most of the folks there, I think, take its existence for granted and see it much more as an invasive pest to be rid of than an herbal plant for healing or culinary purposes (but that's just from my observations... who knows what they may have used nettle for in the past).  I have yet to muster enough energy after farming to go out and harvest them (I'm usually exhausted after and just want to get my ass home so I forgo picking any medicinal/culinary herbs which I later regret).  Anyways, that was a long aside.


What this post was initially meant for was nettle liquid fertilizer which James gave me a couple of weeks ago. James, by the way, is a guy I met at the farm who is well informed on sustainability matters like integrated pest management, permaculture, organic farming methods, etc.  The list goes on.  I think I learn something new from him every time we talk.  He is an avid fermenter and so gave me the nettle liquid fertilizer as a product of his fermenting nettle -- for which he likes to use mainly on his citrus trees.  So, of course, likewise, I used the nettle fertilizer on my calamansi citrus tree as well (as I like to follow sound advice).  The fermented nettle enriches the soil by adding minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, nitrogen (as pictured above).  It's actually pretty simple to make too--fill a bucket half way with nettle bits then cover with water and some mesh (allowing oxygen to get to the mixture is key so that the bacteria can do its thing), stir the mixture everyday for two weeks and voila! After fermentation, it's diluted 1:10-1:20 with water to decrease the high concentration which can burn sensitive plants.

The result: A few weeks after I soaked the soil with it, fruit yield has increased... probably the biggest fruits I've harvested yet!  It makes me so happy to see my citrus tree, which as been producing weak fruit-lings year to year, finally being able to produce big, juicy mature fruits. Calamansi-ade?  I think yes.




P.S.  Comfrey herbal oil almost ready...

P.P.S. I just got the negatives back from the roll of film I used when I traveled to Nevada City last winter.  They all look pretty good... I realize I'm getting rusty with my photography - technicality wise.  I think I've completely forgotten about exposure reciprocity.  Anyways, will post 'em on my photo blog later or maybe here. 

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