We also dry leaves for winter tea and make Nettle leaf tincture to take every day to reduce our seasonal allergies.
Biodynamic gardeners use Nettle to increase the potency of neighboring herbs and stimulate humus formation. Nettle is also used as a liquid fertilizer supplying a broad spectrum of micronutrients including magnesium, sulfur and iron.
Any way you use Nettle, be sure to harvest it before flower for optimum flavor, nutrition and medicinal qualities.
340 days to first harvest
Planting: Direct sow in fall or very early spring, pressing in or barely covering with soil. Chill the seeds in your freezer for 2 weeks to maximize germination. Alternatively, start transplants 6-8 weeks before last frost and set out after frost. Thin or transplant to 1 foot apart. Nettle prefers rich soil that is perpetually moist in full sun or partial shade. Choose your spot carefully: the spreading rhizomes sting as well as the leaves. Nettle prefers damp, rich soil with high Nitrogen content; sunny streambeds and the leaky side of your lushest compost bin are perfect places for your Nettle patch. Nettle is an indicator of very fertile soil and potentially disturbance where it volunteers.
Seed Saving: Nettle is dioecious with both male and female plants. Be sure to plant enough to have plenty of both! The females have a hanging 2-3 inch series of flowers at the base of each upper petiole; look for dry seed in August, just be sure to use gloves.