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Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:03 pm
by Weedo
Hi all
In autumn I planted a small plot of baby cabbage and baby broccoli - I had never grown these before so put in only 6 of each to try. Both suffered from serious whiptail (never had this before either) so I dosed them with Moly and gypsum and they sort of recovered. Basically abandoned the attempt and neglected the little things to their fate, apart from water sometimes. Naturally the ubiquitous nettle took over and smothered the brassicas; even covering the lullaboo cage.

Yesterday I took the cage off to use elsewhere found 6 perfect baby cabbages and 6 perfect heads of broccoli deep the nettle. these have no sign of disease, no insects or aphid and no evidence of "grazing" by anything.

I will post a pic if I get to the plot in enough daylight

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:53 am
by Flo
Be fun weeding out the nettles when you want to clear the patch to replant. However I believe that certain butterflies and caterpillars like nettles as well as cabbages so you may have discovered a diversionary tactic.

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:34 am
by Green Aura
Well nettles grow where there's lots of nitrogen and brassicas are greedy for it too, so although their roots will be feeding at different depths they both like the conditions.

You may just have hit on a novel way of protecting your brassicas, nettles don't seem to have any predators (not sure that's the word I want, but you know what I mean). I'm not sure it's one I'd recommend though. Having to dress in full battle armour, to harvest some broccoli for dinner, seems a bit excessive. :lol:

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:10 pm
by ina
I can tell you one companion plant that doesn't work - chickweed killed off all my beetroot...

But maybe the nettles keep the cabbage whites off? That would be useful.

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:46 pm
by Weedo
I guess its just one of those things that worked this time - I might try it again, perhaps with some lettuce? Too early here for most moths etc. although aphids, mites etc. should be there.

Flo - GA, I have never had a real issue with nettles, they sting at first, itch for a few minutes and then OK (no brain - no pain?)

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:24 am
by Green Aura
Weedo wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:46 pm
I have never had a real issue with nettles, they sting at first, itch for a few minutes and then OK
Lucky you. They sting at first and then leave patches of strange numb/prickly sensations, sometimes lasting for days!

However, they're great for making plant food and a human spring tonic so I battle them bravely - but only about once a year. :wink:

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:19 pm
by Weedo
If you can get fresh bracken croziers, rub on the juice
Here are pics of the carefully designed and nutured companion planting process. I picked the cabbage and ate it last night - sound, solid and sweet.

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:43 am
by ina
I just wonder - are Australian nettles the same as Scottish? Maybe ours are fiercer?

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 7:12 am
by Flo
:lol: What are you going to do with the nettles? They look to be good ones.

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:56 pm
by Weedo
Ina
Your question prompted a quick check of Herbarium records here; I always thought our nettles were "ferals" from Europe but it seems they (this particular common species) are actually native to Oz and NZ (Urtica incisa). Very similar to the common European species (U. dioica & U. urens - which have been rarely recorded here) but tend to be larger and self fertile (yay). So it is more than probable that there is a difference in their attack systems. Folklaw could explain people excessive fear of them here.

Apparently the Oz species has very similar uses to the european species so happy to get some guidance on this.

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:36 am
by Flo
Take the roots off and they make excellent compost. Flaming things don't rot down with the roots on so well in my experience.

Nettle Fertiliser

Medical uses

Recipes and general information

Personally I'm a composter of nettles.

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:25 pm
by ina
Weedo wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:56 pm
I always thought our nettles were "ferals" from Europe but it seems they (this particular common species) are actually native to Oz and NZ (Urtica incisa).
They do look somehow different from what grows in my garden - but I couldn't tell you in which way...

Re: Nettles as Companion Plants?

Posted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:55 pm
by Weedo
Yes, looking at the pics in the links Flo posted they are definitely a different species; apart from the general leaf shape etc. mine seem to be much woody-er and more upright. I might sneak a sample into the National Herbarium and see what comes back.