How to Make Fermented Nettle Tea


Stinging nettle is lush + green right now and looking suspiciously like it’s gearing up to flower. Time to get my spring nettle brew on the go before its past its prime. I only make this one spring batch, and its a little one at that. Such a vital herb, I don’t think you need that much, just a wee immune booster as we transition the seasons.

Grow a patch if you’ve got the room – nettle is a powerhouse! The more you have the more you’ll want, especially as the Red Admirals start to occupy it. Such deeply nourishing greens to include in your spring dinners and an immune boosting, cuticle strengthening tonic for your spring garden.

Heres how

stinging nettle for nettle tea edible backyard nz

Gather yourself a bunch.

Stuff fresh cut nettles into something porous – I’m using a scrap of frost cloth here, onion bags are the best but anything will do.

make a tea bag of nettle edible backyard nz

Tie the sack at the top making like a giant teabag and crush it a bit with a few light stomps of your gumboot.

soak nettle in a bucket of water edible backyard nz

Pop the bag of nettle into a 10litre bucket and fill about 3/4 with unchlorinated water. Leave it in a warm sunny spot – I use the greenhouse – its beautifully ambient at this time of year. Sit a lid loosely on it.

Give it a good stir each day. Whirl round the edges to create a vortex – oxygenation keeps it vital!

It’s ready to use when it stops bubbling which takes about a fortnight at my place at this time of year.

When it’s ready, filter it into a clean bucket through a sack or some such to remove any little bits so you dont block the sprayer up. Empty the contents of the tea bag onto your compost pile.

Store the nettle juice in a dark cool place and use it up by Autumn.

How to Use Nettle Tea

baby plums

Foliar spray heavy feeders in the vegie patch and fruit trees at 1:20 dilution throughout spring. I especially love nettle tea on the fruit trees as they start to leaf up.

Once your garden gets a roll on, a little pick me up at key times is really all it needs. And one day perhaps not even that.


  1. Hi Kath, I’ve made a whole lot of buckets of nettle & Comfrey tea but have had to keep lids on them to keep small kids safe. Now my problem is they’ve been there for months with no air circulation. Will it be toxic? Can I revamp it or dispose of it somehow?
    Thanks so much. I love your gardening updates!

    • You’re going to have to use your intuition here Gabby. If you were stirring them daily then I’d possibly use them if you weren’t probs not. Try a dilute amount out on some plants and see what happens – they’ll give you all the feedback you need 🙂