A few weeks ago, spurred on by thoughts of organic gardening, poor clay soil and self-sufficiency, as well as a burgeoning crop of nettles I decided to make liquid compost. The recipe says that it’s easy to make as it is to buy it, but to be aware as it ‘can have a strong smell’. The nettles went in a bucket with water, and I left it to get on with it by itself.
About 10 days later, with the weather getting warmer, I started by blaming the chickens for the vile smell that was hanging around that end of the garden, but after cleaning them out the smell only got worse. Eventually my nose drew me to the bucket of stagnant nettle slime of great appeal to flies, but repugnant to any other living creature.
In the interests of good neighbourliness and a selfish desire to enjoy sitting out in the garden, I have bravely faced the bucket, poured its contents into a number of watering cans, diluted it and watered the veg patch and containers, but not letting the liquid near anything I might eat eg leaves. Even now, having scrubbed my hands, showered, and changed my clothes I fear that the memory of the smell would affect my future enjoyment of any food I thought had been in direct contact with the liquid. At the bottom of the bucket was a tiny amount of dissolving sludge which went on the compost heap.
But… a great part of me now can’t wait till tomorrow and the new crop of nettles: something that bad must somehow be good, and I’m intrigued to see the effect on the plants (I hope it’s staggeringly good) but no warning would have prepared me for quite how disgusting it was going to be…