Archive for March, 2012
Stinging Nettles (Urtica dioica) are amazing plants, rich in Vitamin C and Iron, they provide a very substansial food source. however they also produce very strong fibres running up the stalks which have been used in the past for clothing and of course string.
Mid September and October are the best months to harvest nettles for their fibres, as they have had all spring and summer to grow to a large size yet they should still be alive and un-wilted by the frost.when harvesting nettles i find that the side of rides and paths to be the best place, as the large quantity of available light allows the nettles to grow very large very quickly, larger plants mean longer fibres which makes cordage making a lot easier.
Rather than clearing out a large clump of nettles it is more economical to walk along the ride and pick only the best examples of nettles, these will be tall nettles with thick stalks. the ones to avoid are the thin soft nettles and the dry ones that have started to wilt and die.