• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Miles Flansburg
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Anne Miller
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Mike Jay
gardeners:
  • Bill Crim
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Greg Martin

nettles as a cash crop  RSS feed

 
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just uploaded a video featuring skeeter talking about how nettles could be his biggest cash crop: 

 
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
great video, i grow nettles in my garden too. they are one of my favorite plants.
 
Posts: 39
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lovely video indeed. I don't grow nettles, they grow themselves - in abundance!
I use a lot during the growing season for the chickens as there is so much of it and it's very nutrient-rich. Donning long rubber gloves I strip a pound or so of tops + leaves into a container, packing them tight, fill up with boiling water and after ten minutes or so blend the mix with a blender stick. The 'nettle spinach' is then mixed into the chickens' morning mash. Free nutritious chuck food.
 
Posts: 113
Location: Blue Island, Illinois - Zone 6a - (Lake Effect) - surrounded by zone 5b
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I worked at Frontera Grill / Topolobampo (Rick Bayless' restaurants) and they would buy nettles from a local farmer in the spring. Multiple Garbage bags of them at a time. Think they were paying 6 or 7 dollars a pound.

Cash crop indeed. Gotta find more like-minded restaurant chefs!
 
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joe O' wrote:Gotta find more like-minded restaurant chefs!



It's possible that just offering them something no one else sells will be enough, in some cases.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would think that there are some fancy pants restaurants that would make some serious coin selling dishes featuring nettles.  And, therefore, there would be some folks doing some harvesting that would make some serious coin growing it and selling it!



 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
theres also a pretty good market for organic nettle tea.
 
                              
Posts: 47
Location: Ohio zone 4-5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dried nettles could be mixed with other dried greens as a greens formula for super food supplementation. I see these offered for as much as $62.99 for a 30 0z canister. Not all list the contents, but with those that do I don't see nettles listed. 
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
In the video, I think skeeter makes and excellent point about the amount of money he could earn from nettles alone.
 
Posts: 111
Location: Midwest zone 6
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

If anybody has a market for these, I will harvest all you want and wholesale to you at a reasonable price.

I know a location along a flood bottom on public land where stinging nettle establish big monoculture patches over 1/4 acre and shoulder tall.
 
Posts: 631
Location: NW MO
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Mangudai wrote:
If anybody has a market for these, I will harvest all you want and wholesale to you at a reasonable price.

I know a location along a flood bottom on public land where stinging nettle establish big monoculture patches over 1/4 acre and shoulder tall.



Truthfully i would only use those flood nettles in dire emergency.  It is hard to say what settled on them from upstream.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
they would still make great rope material. i usually go for the tallest patch i can find for rope/string.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I suspect that if you make a sheet that talks a wee bit about recipes and the value of nettles and then packaged them (with a lot of air) in a regular produce plastic bag, then I would think you would be able to go to a farmer's market and sell them for $5 per bag.  I would think that at a lot of farmers markets, you would be able to sell 20 to 50 bags.

 
Wyatt Smith
Posts: 111
Location: Midwest zone 6
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

My nettle spot is below the spillway of a lake which contains a town water supply.  Not much crud gets down there.

I might have to give this a try.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Somebody was telling me that a pound of nettles would easily sell at a farmer's market for $8.

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
fresh? or dried?
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
fresh.

I think dried gets a lot more per pound.

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yea they sell dried nettles at the natural food store here for around 12-15$ a lb. never seen anyone selling it fresh, most people are turned off when you mention stinging nettle.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think about half the people would be keen on the idea of "what?  you can eat it?" and then wanna tell their friends "I ate stinging nettle!"
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Michael "Skeeter" Pilarski is a popular permaculture instructor well known as a first class wildcrafter.  Skeeter shows off a patch of stinging nettle he is growing intentionally.  This is in the fall.  He talks about getting three crops out of this patch each year.  First, a crop of edible leaves; then a crop of seeds (urinary tract medicine) and finally a crop of root cuttings (prostate medicine).  He says that he gets about ten bucks a pound for stinging nettle root cuttings and the small patch will produce about 35 pounds.

Skeeter says that stinging nettles are a dynamic accumulator, accumulating iron and other minerals. 



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2vXlEPhwBE

 
Posts: 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Going on my third growing season at my place and the nettle that showed up last year out of nowhere is popping up again.  As I am just now beginning permaculture practices I am starting over with the plot.  I already have a persimmon tree that provides yearly revenue for my family, but would like to take advantage of the possibilities of my new volunteers!

any resources on exactly how to prepare it?  Also, maybe you can ask skeeter if he knows of folks who need more nettle than he can provide!
 
Posts: 176
Location: Port Townsend, Washington
2
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi y'all,  message from the nettle wildcrafter hisself.

Great to see so many nettle fans.  I make more money from the root then I do the seed or the tops, but it all adds up. 

If you can sell it fresh to restaurants, CSAs, farmers markets, Then $6 to $8 a pound is the going rate.  but it has to be only the tops 2 to 5 inches of tops. 

For dry nettle tops for medicine (and for food)  I get $16 A pound.  And for this I can use the top 12 inches of nettle tops including the stem. It has to be dried nicely so it is good quality.  Still retaining a nice green color (does darken some).  hard to air dry in a humid climate.  I use a big dryer with electric heater. 

Most every herb store will sell nettles.  I tell people there is a relatively unlimited market fro dry nettles,  but you gotta find the market.  Retail, wholesale.  The bigger the market and the more wholesale it is the less the price per pound.  Just the way almost everything in commerce is. 

Eat lots of nettle, drink lots of nettle tea.  Good for whatever ails you - or helps keep you from getting ailments.

nettle love

Michael Pilarski

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
thanks for the info, your the best skeeter!
 
ronie dee
Posts: 631
Location: NW MO
5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The roots are also highly prized for allergy/upper respiratory relief. I get plenty of relief from the leaf tea, but others swear by the root.

I have asked this before (with no response) - has anyone found a stand of nettles with tubers growing along the underground runners/rhizomes?  I found golf ball sized tubers on the rhizomes once and spent time making certain that they were on the stinging nettle rhizomes. The tubers were attached to the rhizomes and small nettle plants were growing above the ground from the same runners.

The tubers were unknown to the botanist at the local university and it is quite a puzzle to me.

It would seem that, since the root seems to be the most valuable, propagating and reproducing the tuber could prove lucrative.

 
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
307
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I must add that stinging nettles are also an important companion plant.  Most mints, and Mediterranean herbs will have greatly enhanced aroma if grown with stinging nettle.  Most plants planted amongst SN will have better pest resistance.  It can help deter slugs and snails from the plot.  It has also been reported to increase egg production in laying flocks.  You do need to keep it under control, as it will spread quickly.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 26355
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More on nettles: http://www.richsoil.com/nettles.jsp
 
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is timely for me as I have several nettle patches springing up where the foul and goat wastes have been adding exess nitrogen, so I have a few questions

when is best to harvest for eating fresh and for drying? ( my plants seem to be in varying stages of maturity righ now)
can the exess be cut and stacked like hay to dry for animal fodder and how much can be cut this way without killing the patch out?
How much root can I harvest without hurting the viability of the patch?

I'd rather harvest from the patches that are occurring by themselves than to try and force them to grow elsewhere as they seem to like a couple deeply shaded corners that nothing else seems to want to grow in.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

when is best to harvest for eating fresh and for drying? ( my plants seem to be in varying stages of maturity righ now)



the best for eating is when they are young and fresh, the growth tips are the best of that. when you cut the tops, it produces more fresh growth. you can keep up with this for a few weeks to a few months depending on environment/season.

can the exess be cut and stacked like hay to dry for animal fodder and how much can be cut this way without killing the patch out?



don't cut more than 2/3 of the total plant. i usually harvest the top half for uses other than eating. leaving the bottom half to regrow.

How much root can I harvest without hurting the viability of the patch?



i harvest the root once a season in the fall. i pretty much harvest it good and get a lot of it. while doing so i scatter nettle seed and leave some roots for next year. i never have the problem of running out of nettles either from my patches here at home, or my wildcrafted nettle patches.

 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
cool

thank you so much I'll get out with clippers and begin this weekend
 
                                        
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
i read u guys feed nettles to chickens. wow!!! thats like shooting bison for the pelt and throwing away all the meat.

nettles with rice pilaf is probably one of the best dishes one can try in this life. as a kid i ate many times my bodyweight of nettles. it's amazing.  30 years later driving thrugh oregon i realized the US also has a super abundance of nettle. i now have a small patch of nettles in oakland california.

the people with the big brains claim its super good for you. has a bunch of iron. my todler is low on iron. put nettle tea in his sippy cup. he loves it and his iron is going up. he pukes if we give him the standard iron suppliments. i nearly puked myself. my god have you tried a drop of that stuff?
 
                          
Posts: 3
Location: BC Canada
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nettles have fiber in the stem and can be used to spin, and weave with -- similar to linen, or hemp.  Nettles are perennial so you can cut the whole top down and they will send up new baby nettles.  In fact, if you are harvesting nettles for tea, you can get a second harvest in late August and into the fall.  You harvest the stem for fiber just as you see the fall nettles coming up in the patch. 

Dry them and then rett them on the ground for a few weeks.  Check them weekly to see if they are ready to give up their stringy fiber.  Depending on the ground moisture and the temperatures this can happen in a week to a month.  Once they are ready you dry them again and then process the fiber the same way you would process hemp or linen.  Some of the fashion houses in Italy now have lines of nettle clothing.  And Ramie is the Himalayan nettle fiber.

Don't try to water rett them, as you might flax, though.  The nettles have a high percentage of sugar in the stems and water retting will cause them to ferment quickly, turning the stems to mush, and destroying the usable fiber. 

If you have a spinner on your homestead, give nettles a try. 
 
Posts: 176
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joybilee Farm wrote:Nettles have fiber in the stem and can be used to spin, and weave with -- similar to linen, or hemp. 



They are related to hemp, which is why they are similar.

Does anyone know if the stems can be used similarly to hemp to make building bricks? I recently came across something called hempcrete which is essentially hemp stem w/ lime.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
22
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So I'm not an expert on the subject by any means but re: nettlecrete

Hempcrete is made using the woody core of the Cannabis plant> As anyone who has grown Cannibis, particularly in an outdoor environment will know the stalks of this plant can get to be very thick and are quite woody being the size of a mans forearm or grater in diameter. Nettles, even epic nettles, which I am well acquainted with lack this woody core. They are fibrous with a hollow or semi-pithy core. No woody-ness. Which is too bad because If nettlecrete was a thing I could literally tear down a rotten wall, and mix the drywall with the nettles growing right on the opposite side and have a new wall! I would honestly think that alder would be a more likely substitute. Oh wait... I live in Washington State !
 
pollinator
Posts: 1475
Location: northern California
80
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just found this thread and know that my wife is now a big consumer of nettle tea, following the Susun Weed tradtion, and that some of the larger mail-order sources for dried nettle are selling overly heated "toasted" herb originating in Bulgaria. Anyone reading this can PM me if they know of a good source for clean/organic/wildcrafted dried nettle tops in quantity! People with nettle on their land that would qualify as such have a ready market for it among people following this tradition (Susun Weed's Wise Woman Tradtion---look it up!)
 
pollinator
Posts: 307
25
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love adding nettles to my green juices, smoothies, making nettle pesto, soups, and tea. I use rubber gloves to handle them until they are cooked or blended. However, do not overdo on them. I did eat them daily and after 2 weeks my neck started itching and I got full blown eczema after one more week until I finally understood the culprit.
 
Posts: 193
Location: Mason Cty, WA
12
forest garden fungi cooking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nettles also make a great biodynamic barrel tea, fermented and mixed 50/50 with cow manure or not:

Stinging nettle tea is extracted from whole nettle
plants (Urtica dioica) at any stage of growth up to
seed−set. To make nettle tea, use about three
pounds of fresh plants for every gallon of water,
allow the mixture to ferment for about ten days,
then filter it and spray a diluted tea. Dilution
rates of 1:10 to 1:20 are suggested in the
biodynamic literature.

http://www.demeter-usa.org/downloads/Demeter-Science-Biodynamic-Farming-&-Compost.pdf
 
Posts: 10
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Joy Oasis wrote:I love adding nettles to my green juices, smoothies, making nettle pesto, soups, and tea. I use rubber gloves to handle them until they are cooked or blended. However, do not overdo on them. I did eat them daily and after 2 weeks my neck started itching and I got full blown eczema after one more week until I finally understood the culprit.



Good Morning from across the pond. When I was a little girl 70 or more years ago, I lived in Gloucestershire, sometime we had to pick nettles to sell, I think to Herbalists or the like,
we'd start out with great enthusiasm cutting the nettles and watching the pile get higher and higher and getting very excited in anticipation of all the money we would earn, then off for tea break,
and oh disaster when we returned to find our big pile completely diminished, of course they had wilted through, so disheartenening for one so young.
Also My Grandmother would never have to wear gloves, she would pull them up from the base under the leaves
you dont get stung, well she didn't. If we were stung there was always an abundance of dock leaves to rub on. Nettle soup as Joy writes is great and very very young fresh nettles are good in salads.
 
Posts: 402
34
bee duck fish food preservation forest garden fungi trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I always heard nettles were like love.  If you hold it firmly, it won't sting.  If you try to brush it or hold it lightly, look out.

I've always enjoyed nettles, but my wife objects to the "wooliness'' of the leaves when their cooked.  We've only eaten them as a side dish, boiled quickly and served with butter and salt.  Next time I'll try adding sauteeing a little garlic in the butter before I add it to the nettles (my kids say the family is immune to vampire predation, I like garlic).  I'll bet they would be great in any dish (like quiche) where you include cooked spinach.

I read somewhere that archaeologists view a nettle patch in the middle of nowhere as a probable sign of a homestead (nettles like lots of nitrogen and disturbed soil and an old barnyard has both).  Also, europeans hundreds of years ago commonly had a nettle patch near the house for greens, for cordage/linen, for fodder (when dried).
 
Screaming fools! It's nothing more than a tiny ad:
Getting ready for the Better World Book kickstarter - February 2019
https://permies.com/t/99513/ready-World-Book-kickstarter-February
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!