Celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin shares secret recipe for making free plant food gardens 'love'

It's super easy and he promises, super effective


Gardening Together with Diarmuid Gavin on BBC2 is a must-watch for any keen gardener. Each week the renowned garden designer, along with his team, help viewers with their real life gardening dilemmas.

This week he showed green-fingered fans how to use nettles for a greater good in the garden – by making nettle soup for plants.

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From his own back garden he tells viewers, 'The idea is to make a wonderful plant food. I've been out and taken some nettles. They're great to have in your garden, I always keep a few clumps growing,' he shares. All to make his own magic potion for his plants.

Diarmuid Gavin's 'nettle soup' plant food

nettles with green leaf and plant

(Image credit: Amateur Gardening)

Diarmuid is seen slicing the nettles, as you would any herbs. 'I have a bucket with a lid – that's very important,' he's quick to emphasise. He then starts to add his chopped nettles to the empty bucket, commentating, 'I'm going to get my nettles and put them in. Next I'm simply going to fill this, (although) not right to the top, but I'm going to put quite a bit of water in.'

'I'm using rain water,' Diarmuid explains. 'Because rain water hasn't had any chemical treatment.' Once the bucket, with the nettles inside, is generously filled with water he advises: 'put the lid on and put it in a sunny place. Every few days take off the lid and give it a stir – there will be a chemical reaction in there and it'll be bubbling.'

bucket with nettle leaf and water

(Image credit: Amateur Gardening)

'In 2 weeks it'll stop bubbling but the smell will be absolutely awful' he warns. The next step is to strain it to get the end solution, ' strain it through something like an old dishcloth,' he advises.

'In the grand old tradition of Blue Peter, here's one I made earlier,' he jests. With that he produces another bucket, in which is a plant food concoction he prepared a month ago. Opening it he says, 'It's ready for use. The way I would use it is one part nettle soup to 10 parts to water, straight into your pots, containers and hanging baskets.'

He does say, while covering his nose, 'I have to say the fumes coming from that straight away are absolutely lethal, but your plants will love it!'.

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So there you go! Will you be serving nettle soup in your garden?


Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.