The many benefits of nettle in your cannabis garden
Stinging nettle is a plant not to be underestimated. It is an ideal companion plant that attracts beneficial insects and even increases terpene production within your cannabis crop.
Stinging nettle, also known as Utica dioica, is often seen as an irritating weed by many gardeners. It is extremely prolific in its growth and can easily take over a patch of land that has been neglected for even a short period. It also gives a nasty sting upon contant, caused by trichomes that inject histamine into the skin.
But despite its perceived flaws, nettle is, in fact, a highly beneficially herb and ally for cannabis gardeners. Not only does nettle benefit the other plants in your garden, but as the plant has been used medicinally for hundreds of years and is home to a vast array of nutrients, can be beneficial to you too.
A FEISTY COMPANION PLANT
Companion planting is the act of cultivating other beneficial plant species in close proximity to your cannabis plants. Companion plants are often selected due to their abilities to attract beneficial insects, repel detrimental insects, and to enhance the biodiversity of a garden or small farm.
Stinging nettle is a multifaceted companion plant and has a very special place within a cannabis garden. This unique plant helps to draw in beneficial insects that will help to protect your plants against hungry, marauding invaders. The nutritious leaves of the nettle plant attract ladybugs. When these majestic creatures aren’t slurping on nettle nectar, they will patrol around your garden for another tasty snack: aphids.
Aphids are a soft-bodied insect that can appear in many different colours. These small critters are extremely common cannabis pests that pierce leaves with their sharp mouth-parts and proceed to drain the internal juices. Planting nettles nearby will almost guarantee the recruitment of a security team comprised of ladybugs.
NEARBY NETTLES WILL RAMP UP TERPENE PRODUCTION
Another huge advantage of using nettle as a companion plant is its rare ability to boost the resin production of cannabis plants. Male nettle plants will disperse their pollen when the time is right, an act that is known to boost the flavor of nearby edibles such as fruits and vegetables. But this tactic can also be used when it comes to cannabis cultivation.
Nettle pollen can increase the production of terpenes within the trichomes of your cannabis plants, resulting in a much richer and more pungent resin. This will lead to the production of much more appealing and better-tasting cannabis flowers.
A FINE ADDITION TO THE COMPOST PILE
Composting is an incredible, cheap, and effective way to boost the quality and biodiversity of soil. Healthy soil should be brimming with microorganisms that help to break down organic matter into available nutrients, and fungi that team up with plants and provide greater quantities of nutrients. Creating and maintaining a compost pile is a surefire way to provide your cannabis plants with a living and healthy rhizosphere.
Compost piles are formed from green matter which provides nitrogen, and brown matter which provides carbon. A green:brown ratio of 2:1 is required for optimal compost. Nettles are a fantastic and free source of green matter. Because they grow tall vertically, even a small patch of nettles can provide enough green matter to keep your compost pile stocked.
MAKE YOUR OWN NETTLE COMPOST TEA
Nettles can also be used as a fertilizer and make a fine addition to compost tea. Simply place the leaves in a container and soak them in fresh water for 1-3 weeks. Over this period the mixture will ferment. Once this period is over, strain the fertilizer.
Dilute the fertilizer into water at a fertilizer:water ratio of 1:10 for watering and 1:20 for foliar sprays. Nettle will provide your cannabis crop with nitrogen, potassium, iron, magnesium, calcium, sulfur, copper, and chlorophyll.
A POTENT MEDICINAL GARDEN
Nettles aren’t just beneficially for your cannabis crop; they can also be used to make a nutritious tea that is highly beneficial to humans. Nettles are nothing short of a superfood and are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They are a great source of iron, potassium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, B1, B5, C, D, E, and K.
NETTLES AS CAMOUFLAGE
Nettles and cannabis are genetically related, a fact that isn’t hard to believe. Due to their similar looks, nettles can provide excellent cover for outdoor cannabis crops and help to keep a low profile. Cultivating cannabis within a patch of nettles will boost discretion and could easily go unnoticed by nosey neighbors.
So as you can see, there are huge benefits to incorporated nettles into your cannabis garden. Just be to keep them in check, as they grow rampantly, and make sure you cover up and don't get stung!