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Gardening — Monty Don

How to use your nettles

■ Despite being a major weed in my garden, I would not be without nettles (pictured). Even though they grow where not wanted and occasionally sting appallingly, they are easy to dig up and are also a huge improvement to the compost heap.

■ Every garden should have a patch of nettles, as they are a major source of food for butterflies, such as the red admiral. They are good food for humans, too. Spring nettles are rich in iron: pick the fresh tips of each stem and cook them like spinach. Cooking destroys any risk of stinging.

■ Soak 500g of nettles in a 5-litre bucket of water for two weeks. Use as a liquid feed - and a general plant boost - diluting the nettle liquid with 10 parts water, once a week at most. Remember over-feeding, especially young plants, does more harm than good.