Nettle harvest

I decided to grow my nettles high and try processing them for fibre again this year. I have left this a little later than ideal, but so much about my knowledge of processing nettle fibre is imperfect I decided to just give it a try and worry about fine detail at some future point when I have more understanding and more experience!  Here we have my harvest, with leaves:

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And after the leaves have been stripped.  The leaves went to friends who were enthusiastic about nettle soup.  I am sorry to say I don’t like the flavour of nettles.  I wish I did, they are full of minerals and I have plenty of them!  I love the idea of eating them but not the reality.  I will just have to stick to eating dandelion, prickly lettuce and milk thistle to keep my weeds down.

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While I was pulling the nettles and weeding out the soursobs and burr medic and grass, the chickens kept me company and enjoyed the fruits (and earwigs) of my labours.  If this was a podcast, I would have been only too delighted to record their excited voices.  And when I found these, I had some excitement of my own!  In fact, I went in and made a potato and silverbeet (and endive, milk thistle, chicory, parsley) soup to share with my friends the nettle lovers.

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The nettles are much bigger than the previous harvest.  So much so there was no chance I could rett them in a bucket, even my biggest one.  In the end, they went into the wheelbarrow, the biggest receptacle I could find other than my bathtub!  To be continued…

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19 Comments

Filed under Fibre preparation

19 responses to “Nettle harvest

  1. Deb

    This is interesting. Are these the stinging type nettles that you are using?

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  2. I would’ve gladly taken the nettle leaves off of your hands too! They are such a wonderful green for fighting allergies!
    I can’t wait to see your posts about processing the nettles into fiber…. !

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  3. Pia

    I’m surprised you didn’t dye with the leaves! I thought about making nettle fibers, briefly, then decided I’ve got enough on my plate already. 😉 How long do you have to do without your wheelbarrow?

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    • I should have thought of that 🙂 The wheelbarrow was out of action for 5 or 6 days but we managed ok!

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      • Pia

        Ah, I thought they had to sit there for weeks or even months actually.

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      • One year a long while back I tied a bundle and left them in the local creek tied to a couple of bricks. The whole lot rotted away when I wasn’t paying enough attention–like you, I thought it was a lengthy process. So it is possible to rett for too long! as I understand it, this stage is about releasing (rotting away) the outer layer covering the fibres themselves. The inner core of the plant stays intact and has to be separated from the fibres by a different process. Whether I have left the stems too long or not long enough–only time and experimentation will show, Pia!

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      • Pia

        Well, I’¨ll be sure to follow your progress when you post! Who knows if we’ll have an apocralypse where such knowledge is useful barter, LOL.

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      • There is a running joke about me being the person to stick with in the post apocalyptic period at our house, but I sure hope I’ll never need to make my own pants from nettles!!! I am still quite a few skills short of those needed and can’t picture the nettle harvest that would be required to make that much fibre either…

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      • Pia

        And your last point is kinda why I gave up on it in advance. 😉

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      • Understandable… apparently I am in the ‘curious minds want to know’ camp, even without brothers whose lives I need to save by spinning and weaving (surely)? knitting (wikipedia doesn’t fit with my recollection)? nettles into garments for them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wild_Swans… or an apocalypse!

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      • Pia

        Oh, count me in that camp as well – unfortunately I do have to sleep now and again.

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  4. I learn the most interesting things here…hopefully I can retain some of this knowledge for aforementioned apocalypse!
    : )

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  5. Pingback: So much for nettle fibre processing! | Local & Bespoke

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