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We have just cleared an area at the end of our garden which had been left to run wild for about 15 years, the plan being to make a new veg garden with raised beds on the area we have cleared. However, patches of nettles are alreadygrowing through which I would like to leave as they make great liquid fertilizer & are good for the ladybirds. My husband, however, wants to use weedkiller to kill them off before we put the beds on top as he says they will come up through the raised beds and take over. I am releuctant because of the insects & wanting to grow food crops organically. Anybody any advice?
Could you "Negotiate", for a patch somewhere , to pls you both ?
Roots being pale orange/yellow in colour & surface running can be lifted (not all @ once though ).. natural where possible ! Good luck
I think your husband is correct and they will come up through the raised beds - but I would dig them up rather than using weedkiller. I keep one clump of nettles, tucked away behind the greenhouse. They are out of sight, and no one accidentally gets stung by them. I harvest them quite frequently and put them in the compost bins, where they are a good organic accelerator.
What about putting weed suppressant fabric ontop of the nettles and/ or using a liner in your raised beds.
Your husband is right that they will come through the raised beds. If he wants to kill them, a glyphosate-based weedkiller is the simplest option. Glyphosate is inactivated on contact with the ground, so there is no risk to anything grown there afterwards. It will take about a fortnight for the nettles to die after being sprayed - they will grow very strongly at first - and it is possible that you will need a second treatment if they are very established.
If you want to use them for other purposes, save yourself some in an out of the way spot so you will both be happy.
In my experience nettles come back even when they've been glyphosated as their roots run easily and there's always a bit that comes back from somewhere. However, as Alina says it does become inert on contact with the soil and may be worth doing as a preparation to making your raised beds and dumping soil on topf of their remains. On the positive side, nettles are a sign of fertile soil that's fairly easy to work.
They are easy to pull up when spotted and do make great compost as well as a liquid feed if you can cope with the smell of them rotting in a bucket of water. As you are making veggie beds I assume you'll be out there regularly hoeing and tending and they'll be easy enough to keep cleared - easier than groundsel and bittercress and creeping buttercups and thistles and couch grass which are also a constant feature in my garden no matter how often I weed and hoe.
I too try to be as organic as possible and use no chemicals except for glyphosate every year on the paths between our veggie beds and the cobbled area at the front of the house. My garden is heaving with insects and birds and we have hedgehogs and voles and frogs and toads and newts too.