I made the decision to add a somewhat invasive weed into my garden about a year or 2 ago so that I could utilise its many purposes. So far I have not regretted this decision.
I have made basil and nettle pesto. Nettle, spinach, carrot tops and kale barley risotto. Yesterday I made nettle tea. More specifically I dehydrated nettle for Winter tea.
I picked a heap for the risotto and the next day I am almost certain that it had all grown back so I picked a heap more for dehydrating.
I rinsed it, pulled all the leaves off, and managed to turn enough stuff off in the house that the solar panels could run the dehydrator on a not particularly sunny day.
I filled the dehydrator, the nettle leave shrunk down so much that I ended up with a large jar full.
My dilemma is around the waste. I rarely wear gardening gloves. I like to feel what is going on in the soil, the plants, nature in general. I feel like I lose a lot of dexterity and I am somewhat disconnected from what I am doing. I also seem to crush a lot of plants unintentionally as I wield my cumbersome gloves. I am a nurse, I create unconscionable amounts of waste at work. Horrible, horrible amounts. Largely unavoidable due to single use items to prevent spread of infection.
I do try really hard at home not to create waste. When I was buying nettle tea it came in plastic. I thought growing my own may reduce one more bit of plastic in my life. But how does one comfortably pick nettle?
I dropped a pair of gloves on the floor at work about 18 months ago. They would usually then be thrown out due to hygiene. I kept them and have used them approximately 8 or 10 times picking nettle. I know they don’t have a long life ahead of them, I am sure they will become brittle and crack in time. Which is worse, annual plastic nettle tea or who knows what they are made from gloves?