This is a little softcover book, but its worth its weight in Gold (well maybe not with the cost of gold these days, but Silver for sure).
I started out using Stringing Nettles in the spring as one of the first greens as a young greens and greens in soup, then I started researching it more and was so pleased with the amount of protein in them, that I began growing large patches of them, and drying many jar’s worth of nettles for use though the winter in so many dishes, anything you would normally put basil in, you can use Dried crumbled Stringing Nettles in.
Then I learned about the fact that Stinging Nettle Tea was a wonderful tonic for a cleaning of your liver, who does not want that!
At which point, I was hooked and while looking for more info, found this little book that was for sale in England, and a few years ago, it made its way to my book shelf.
The different uses are so wide that its amazing, its not 101 uses for cooking, its how to use it to make cord, how to make paper with it, how to dye wool with it, how to use it to make use of it in your gardens, how to make use of it in your livestock.
Even if you have only a little land, I would make sure to have a Nettle Patch tucked away in the back or even better, grow it in your hedges, it grows well between rose’s which can create a nice looking natural barrier between the thorns and the strings, most critters four and two foot will choose to not go though them.
A fair number of folks comment on the fact that the seeds can be dried and ground to be used as a salt substitute, but I have one that I consider to be even more useful for small farmers..
The Juice of the Nettle or a decocotion formed by boiling leaves in a strong solution of salt will curdle milk, providing the local cheese-maker with a good substitute for rennet, in keeping with these, you can also add dried /crumbed nettles(not Fresh) to your milking animals rations to help increase their milk production, it makes sense, given the amount of protein available within the plant.
The amount of land needed to grow the same amount of Nettle Protein, vs Corn, Wheat or Barley is alot less, as is the amount of storage space required to keep a winters supply, this would be a very worth while way to “stretch” a poor hay crop for your barn critters and upping the daily protein given.
One of the best ones for use in the barn is that Nettle roots, boiled and cooled and drunk can be used as a natural de-wormer, I have also given dried nettle to the chickens to help their overall condition and had great results.
Its super easy to grow and it will go in marginal land or spots that you could not grow more delicate plants, I also love that it will grow on second year compost piles as a green cover, just collect and give the dried seeds a shake over the compost pile or dig a clump of roots, split them up and replant them, and let them go, they will multiply like crazy. This is a great wild forage food that should not be overlooked in your home pantry..
We have found that left to nature-Nettles will choose to grow in rich soil, so if you were looking for a spot to plant a little sqash or three sister, if you can find nettles growing, you know that this would be a good spot to cut down the nettles (chopping and turning them under for green manure) and then planting what you want to grow, go back once a week for the next six to eight weeks and cut and use for greens the inch to four inch babies that will pop right back up, till the plant has a good head start, then I would let the nettles go personally, letting them, they will be shorter but will go to seed, and provide some basic protection to your plant, and will come back the next year in a bigger thicker patch to be picked and use in many ways.