Vegetables and Fruit forum: Vegetable growing tip from 1899

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Name: Jared Nicholes
Nampa, Idaho
Apr 20, 2017 10:54 AM CST
Hi Everyone.

I was on the internet doing family history research, and I found an article my ancestor posted in 1899 about gardening. I am posting it because I thought it was interesting and I wanted to see if it would still work.

According to the article, my ancestor from Austria had MASSIVE plants, grew cucumbers 40 cm long, and grew heads of cauliflower that you couldnt even fit a bag big enough to go around it. He even left his secret in the article. It goes like this:

"He had lots of big barrels and a little stream. He saw a plant called "Nettles," (Not sure what that is, all I know is that its a plant that burns your skin,) he pushed basketfulls of nettles into the barrels and brought 30-40 liters of stream water into the barrels to fill them up. he put a lid on and let the nettles ferment. when the fermenting was done, he took 2 1/2 pints of it and put it into a watering can. he diluted it with pure stream water. The ratio was one part nettle water to ten parts stream water. He poured it around the stem of the plant and was careful not to put it on the leaves, or it would burn the plant."

According to the article he fed a family of 12 every day just from his garden, and had plenty to spare.

Me and my mom, (Yes, my mom is interested in this,) just want some opinions on this tactic. Do you think it will still work?


Name: Dillard Haley
Augusta Georgia (Zone 8a)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Apr 20, 2017 12:23 PM CST
Same principal as alfalfa tea. Don't which plant he called nettle, but obviously one with a high nutrient content. some of the folks here may have experience with alfalfa tea. In my youth we used manure teas to jumpstart plants, much like Miracle Gro is used today.
Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
Charter ATP Member Native Plants and Wildflowers Region: Mid-Atlantic Composter Region: Maryland Birds
Cat Lover Dog Lover Region: United States of America
Apr 23, 2017 6:34 AM CST
Comfrey tea is something along this line. It's not hard to imagine that getting all the content of one plant dissolved, would supply another with a lot of nutrient. Thanks for posting this, interesting.
..come into the peace of wild things..-Wendell Berry
Life is a buffet (anon)
Name: Jared Nicholes
Nampa, Idaho
Apr 23, 2017 9:36 AM CST
Hi everyone.

Thanks for the replies, I think I am going to try this out as an experiment. On the internet I found a seller who sells the leaves of the nettle plant in bulk. I am going to order some soon and try what my ancestor did. My last frost is around May 10 - May 16, so I will start the experiment then. I will post results when I get vegetables.

Name: Cindy
Hobart, IN zone 5
aka CindyMzone5
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Apr 23, 2017 10:14 AM CST
Jared - you may want to consider starting a comfrey patch in your garden so that you don't have to buy bulk nettles in the future.
Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we can't eat money. Cree proverb
Name: Jared Nicholes
Nampa, Idaho
Apr 23, 2017 3:32 PM CST
Hi there.

@Shadegardener, thank you very much, I will certainly consider it.


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