Monday, September 16, 2013

Comfrey the wonder plant, and a tutorial to make a comfrey fertilizer factory

I have mentioned before how comfrey is a hugely important part of my little garden.  In some areas I understand that you cannot get rid of comfrey, but I ofen lose plants during the wet season, so always have some that I keep in a pot and then I can add plants in areas that have died off.  I like growing it against this fence behind the herb spiral.
Because of its long root system it mines minerals from deep in the earth and stores all this goodness in its leaves.   I keep cutting the long side leaves off and add them to the compost, the inlet to my wicking bed and then also into my comfrey fertilizer factory.  I dont like to soak the comfrey leaves in water as they get very smelly and then my hubby and my neighbour give me strange looks and wont come near me for days.
What I do is make a concentrate, and this can be diluted down and used as a (non smelly) foliar spray. I use the 2 litre empty milk bottles, but you could use whatever size you want.  You will need two of whatever size you go with.
Cut the top off one of the bottles just under the handle - this will be your base.  Remove the cap of the other bottle and discard it, then  turn it upside down and cut just the base off that.
 Now simply insert the top bottle into the base,
 fill the top bottle with comfrey leaves - there is no need to chop them, or compress them, or anything.
 cover with the "lid" and set aside.  This keeps out flies etc.
Within a week or two you will see a thick brown mixture start to drip out into the lower container.
  I top it up whenever I am trimming the comfrey down and it magically oozes down into the bottom container all by itself.  I dilute it about 20 to 1 and use it all over my garden as a foliar feed.
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Comparative Nutritional Analysis of Comfrey, compost and manure
Material  %        Water          Nitrogen(N)         Phosphorus (P)        Potash (K           Carbon/nitrogen ratio

Manure                 76                0.64                        0.23                      0.32                        14-1
Comfrey                75                0.74                        0.24                      1.19                      9.8-1
Compost                76                0.50                       0.27                      0.81                       10-1  

I hope you are growing comfrey - it truly is the best investment - you get multiple plants growing from one plant, (just separate out the plants as they grow alongside the mother plant)  and continuous fertilizer being made.  

22 comments:

  1. I just had to come over and see what you are doing with the comfrey. I'm with you, I love this plant. This looks like a great smell-free method that we'll certainly try here. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. :- )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rhonda,
      I hope you enjoy doing it this way. I first tried with a couple of buckets, but then realized I wanted just a small amount ongoing and this has been perfect.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for sharing your method! Comfrey is a great pest in my allotment - it spreads like mad - but I do want to exploit it:-) If anyone wanted to plant some you can actually get a variety called Bocking 14 which is infertile and won't sow itself around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Catherine,
      I believe that is what I have - it doesnt spread on its own - I have to propagate more when I need to grow more plants.

      Delete
  3. I do grow comfrey, and between the cow and the chickens, if there's any left for me, I put it in the compost, but now I would like to try this too, thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Liz,
      It is good for all those as well- quite the wonder plant!

      Delete
  4. This looks very interesting and simple to do. Can you use the solution on any plant or only some parts of the garden?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joyful -
      I use it on all plants, and a foliar feed seems to perk plants up right away. I mix it up quite weak so it goes further.

      Delete
  5. How interesting! I've never heard of using comfrey in this way. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I have a little patch of comfrey but only ever use it in compost. I tried soaking it but the smell wasn't something I want to repeat. Will definitely be trying your method.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roz,
      Yes this is actually quite a pleasnt smell.

      Delete
  7. This is an amazing tutorial and a good reminder that I should get some comfrey from my daughters house and let it go nuts here on Serendipity Farm. I hope you don't mind but I shared this on Pinterest. I pinned it on my Permaculture and Sustainable Living board because I think people need to know how to do this. Thankyou for sharing this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Serendipity,
      Oh yes I dont think you can ever have too much comfrey. A link back to here would be nice.

      Delete
  8. Sounds simple and really good for the garden. So something I need to add to my planting list. Thanks for all the good info.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura,
      I hear that bees ike the flowers too! As was said earlier you need to get bocking 14.

      Delete
  9. It sounds so great for the garden. I don't have a garden of my own but I take enough photos on my walks and definitely enjoy seeing other people's lovely gardens. Thank you so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      I enjoy the photos you take on your walks.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for posting this tutorial. I will try it out. I may also use some neem leaves as well to experiment.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for posting this tutorial. I will try it out. I may also use some neem leaves as well to experiment.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh this is great!! Thanks!! I will put a link to it from my blog.

    ReplyDelete

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