Rigorously banned from private ornamental and kitchen gardens, chemical pesticides have long since lost their importance for hobby gardeners. Nobody wants to expose themselves or their family to unnecessary health risks. Despite this, cultivated plants are regularly attacked by viruses, fungal spores and pests or require additional nutrients for healthy growth. This is where nettle manure comes into play, a completely natural pesticide that is so effective that even the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety lists the ingredients. Garden lovers see the fact that they can produce nettle manure themselves as a particular advantage. In order for the mixture to be fully effective, a few aspects should be considered, as the following instructions show.

Manure, broth, tea, extract – the differences

They all contain herbs and water. Nevertheless, there are sometimes considerable discrepancies in terms of production and effect. A condensed overview creates transparency:

  • Liquid manure: Put the herbs in cold water and let them ferment in a warm place for 14 days.
  • Broth: soak ingredients for 24 hours, boil for 20 minutes, cool and squeeze.
  • Tea: Pour boiling water over herbs, soak for 1 day and strain.
  • Extract: Soak the leaves in water in a dark, cool room for 12 hours, but do not allow them to ferment.

The comparatively long time it takes to prepare manure already indicates that this is probably the most nutritious mixture. In general usage, liquid manure and liquid manure are often mentioned in the same breath. This may be the case for some regions in Germany. However, liquid manure mostly refers to a mix of animal excrement, water and straw in livestock farming and is used here as farm-based fertilizer on the field.

instructions for the production

Since the preparation of nettle manure takes over 2 weeks, experienced hobby gardeners prefer to use larger containers, especially since the finished mixture can then be stored for some time. As long as the vessel is not made of metal or has metal components, almost any material is suitable, such as wood, clay, earthenware or plastic.

Ingredients and working material:

  • tub or bucket
  • wooden stick for stirring
  • rain or pond water
  • bentonite or powdered clay
  • wire mesh or grating
  • gloves
  • nettle
  • possibly small aquarium pump

Both the large nettle (Urtica dioica) and the small nettle (Urtica urens) are suitable as ingredients, with the latter being considered the more aggressive species. The nettle used can be processed fresh or dried into liquid manure. Knowledgeable hobby gardeners who prefer fresh plants always harvest them with gloves, because the stinging hairs can cause a painful rash. The best time to harvest is in May, on a warm, sunny day. It is important to note that you should only pick nettles that are not in bloom because they have a higher concentration of valuable ingredients.

Tip: Rainwater and pond water have the decisive advantage over tap water that fermentation takes place more quickly due to the lower lime content. At the same time, excessive foam and bubble formation is counteracted.

Step by step to the finished liquid manure

If the working material and ingredients are ready, it is advisable to place the empty container in a suitable location. Depending on the intended amount of nettle manure that you want to produce, it can be quite tedious later on to transport the full vat.

  • Place the septic tank in a sunny, warm spot in the back garden.
  • Layer the crushed nettle up to half and fill with water.
  • Dosage: 1 kg fresh or 200 g dried plants to 10 liters of water.
  • Leave a space of 8 cm to 10 cm up to the edge of the container.
  • Cover with chicken wire or a wire rack, but do not seal airtight.

The fermentation process begins in the next 2 to 3 days. Then the liquid manure is stirred at least once a day with a wooden stick. After about 14 days, the liquid turns dark and no longer foams. The nettle manure is now ripe and ready for use in the garden. If you didn’t put the parts of the plant in a sack in the water, strain the mixture and keep it in a shady, cool place until ready to use.

Proper Stirring

In order for the dead nettle biomass to decompose in the water, a gigantic army of microorganisms is busy keeping the conversion process going. A not inconsiderable proportion of these invisible helpers need oxygen to survive and accordingly cavort on the surface of the liquid. Knowledgeable gardeners who are aware of this stir the manure as follows:

  • The stir bar moves along the inner rim of the container.
  • If a funnel forms in the middle, the rod is pulled out.

The rotating nettle liquid manure must not be slowed down by the stick. The microorganisms would be washed downwards and in the worst case die. This circumstance not only slows down the fermentation process, but also promotes the development of the typical liquid manure stench.

Prevent bad smells

With the help of an adequate stirring technique, the knowledgeable gardener can effectively influence the odor formation of nettle manure. However, the unpleasant evaporation of the fermenting mixture cannot be completely prevented. Placing the tub at the back of the garden also helps keep family and neighbors from feeling inconvenienced. A careful hobby gardener can do even more to suppress odors:

  • Add bentonite or rock flour before each stirring for the first week.
  • Valerian, oak leaves or chamomile increase the effect.
  • Install a small aquarium pump at the bottom of the vessel.

The more oxygen that is added to the mixture, the less the undesirable odor develops. Resourceful hobby gardeners therefore developed the idea of ​​the aquarium pump in the liquid manure tank. So that the device does not become clogged with plant parts floating around, fill the stinging nettle in a sack or an old curtain before you fill in the water.


Understandably, the very dynamic stinging nettle manure can only be kept for a short time. However, at least for the current vegetation period, it should still fulfill its tasks satisfactorily. After sieving off the parts of the plant, you should move the bin to a shady place in the garden, if it is not too heavy, to avoid unwanted secondary fermentation. There is nothing wrong with always replacing the amount removed with fresh water, which makes dilution unnecessary in the long run. At the end of the season, the natural remedy does one last good deed by spreading it on the now empty beds to prepare the soil for the coming year.
Experienced experts rate stockpiling in canisters or bottles as having little prospect of success, although the addition of preservatives would be counterproductive anyway.

Wide range of possible applications

Thanks to the high nitrogen and potassium content, nettle manure is one of the most popular natural fertilizers in the home garden. In addition, the blend has been proven to address a variety of plant health issues and tackle pesky pests.


If possible, use nettle manure in a diluted concentration, in a ratio of 1:10 for the watering can and 1:50 for the spray bottle. Only apply directly to the root area of ​​the plants in the early morning hours and not in direct sunlight. Dried soil is moistened beforehand so that the intensive liquid manure does not burn the roots. The dosage depends on whether it is a heavy, medium or weak consumer.

  • Ornamental plants of all kinds welcome a shower of nettle liquid manure.
  • Fertilization stops on flowers as soon as the buds have formed.
  • All vegetables not grown for raw consumption.
  • Lettuce, beans, peas, cabbage, onions and garlic are not suitable.

Fruit formation is promoted on fruit trees by post-flowering spraying with stinging nettle manure. The natural remedy achieves a similar effect on berry bushes of all kinds.

pest control

In the fight against aphids, thrips , spider mites and other pests, nettle manure has already developed the appropriate defenses after 12 to 36 hours. During this short phase, the liquid contains a high concentration of dissolved nettle toxins, which sucking and stinging plant pests do not like at all. Experienced hobby gardeners add 0.5 liters of horsetail broth to 1 liter of manure, dilute the whole thing to 1:10 and spray it on the affected plants for 3 days in a row. Only the cabbage white is attracted to nettle manure.


Deficiency symptoms or other problems in plants do not have to occur before nettle manure can be used. For example, if young plants are given a lukewarm root bath diluted 1:20 before they are planted in the bed, this measure increases the chances of rapid, healthy growth. Potted plants that droop their leaves will quickly recover in such a foot bath.

Healing foliar fertilization for chlorosis

If the leaves turn yellow and brown, while the entire plant becomes steadily paler, the diagnosis is usually chlorosis, caused by iron deficiency. As an immediate measure, foliar fertilization with nettle manure has proven itself.

  • Spray on the leaves in a highly diluted concentration of 1:50 using a spray bottle.
  • Ideally early in the morning under an overcast sky to avoid burns.
  • Wet all the leaves on the top and bottom for several days in a row.

Parallel to this emergency measure, it is advisable to investigate the actual cause of the nutrient deficiency. The soil is often too calcareous, so that iron is bound and no longer released to the plants.

Acceleration of the Rotte

Nettle manure also does a good job on the compost heap. Occasionally showered with the natural agent, rotting is much faster. This is especially true for birch, chestnut, poplar, beech or oak leaves, which otherwise take 2 years or more to compost.

It is impossible to imagine biological plant protection without nettle manure. This applies in particular to the domestic ornamental and kitchen garden, in which chemical preparations have long been frowned upon. Thus, the status of stinging nettles quickly changed from being a hated weed to a medicinal natural product for fertilization, plant strengthening and pest control. It is extremely advantageous that nettle manure can be produced by following practical instructions. Fresh nettles, low-lime rainwater and a large tub are enough to produce the natural pesticide. Even the strict Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety is so convinced of its effectiveness that nettle manure was included in the register.

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