Saturday, March 5, 2011

Herbal Ally Challenge #8 Completed

Urtica dioica seeds

This week I started my nettle seeds. I could not find my packet of seeds I purchased last year so I harvested seeds off of the dead plants from last year's growth.

I love to use paper egg cartons to start my seeds. I filled the entire 18 holes with seed, broadcast across the moistened compost mix I used. I spread them thickly as I have no idea how viable these seeds are.

I placed the carton in a ziploc bag to help keep the air humid and the soil moist until they germinate. According to this research article from Portugal, seeds began germinating at 6 days when receiving 12 hours of light. Since we are almost to the Spring Equinox, we are getting about 11 1/2 hours of daylight and I use a full spectrum bulb in the evening so hopefully they will start germinating in about 6-7 days.

Urtica dioica

In my research of nettles, I discovered that although Urtica dioica is a perennial, U. urens is an annual. I am not sure if my wild nettles are U. dioica but I do know they are perennial based on their emergence. I hope to be able to positively identify the species by the end of the growing season this year.

Urtica dioica seed head

In my observations of the wild nettles, I've noticed the sprouts are very purply. I remember reading about a species being purple and I need to consult my notes to refresh my memory on that.

Urtica  - wild grown nettles sprouting from last year's growth

I have been using my nettles oil in cooking and hope to get some use on aches and pains as well or perhaps a rash. Just waiting for the right moment (let this be notice to all my family!). The vinegar is looking great and I plan to start using it soon. My tincture has 1 more week to go but I don't have any use for it yet although I'd like to play around with taking dosages to help increase energy levels, I'm not sure if it will work that way or not as it does for infusions. I'm thinking not but one never knows until they try.

1 comment:

karisma said...

Oh wow! The first half of your post could be mine. I did the exact same thing except I did not think of a zip lock bag! Great idea!

It was actually quite warm here the morning we planted our seeds (I had the boys planting too ;-) ). But then we ended up with a big wind so its cold now not sure how they will go.

My tincture is really really strong looking, I am thinking about straining it a little early.

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