Comfrey Fertilizer: Information About Comfrey Tea For Plants
By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist
Comfrey is more than just an herb found in cottage gardens and seasoning blends. This old fashioned herb has been used as both a medicinal plant and food crop for grazing animals and hogs. The large hairy leaves are an excellent source of the three macro-nutrients found in fertilizer.
As such, it makes an excellent liquid fertilizer or composted tea to feed plants and help reduce insect pests. Making comfrey tea for plants is easy and requires no special skills or tools. Try comfrey fertilizer on your plants and see the benefits in your garden.
Comfrey as a Fertilizer
All plants need specific macro-nutrients for maximum growth, bloom, and fruiting. These are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Much like humans, they also need micro-nutrients such as manganese and calcium. Comfrey has the three major nutrients plus high levels of calcium, which can be very beneficial if harvested and made into comfrey tea for plants.
This nutrient-rich food is applied as a liquid soil drench or as a foliar spray. The composted leaves yield a rich deep greenish brown liquid. The nitrogen content in comfrey fertilizer helps with green leafy growth. The phosphorus helps the plants remain vigorous and fight off disease and pest damage. Potassium is instrumental in flower and fruit production.
Comfrey Plant Food
Comfrey is a hardy perennial plant that grows quickly. The plant needs no special care and grows in partial shade to sun.
Harvest the leaves and put them just halfway in a container. Wear long sleeves and gloves to protect your hands and arms from the prickly hairs on the leaves.
Making comfrey tea will only take a few weeks. Weight the leaves with something heavy to hold them down and then fill the container with water. In about 20 days you can strain out the leaves and the deep brew is ready to add to your containers or spray on garden beds.
Dilute the comfrey plant food with water by half before you apply to plants. Use the removed leaf debris as a side dressing along your vegetable plants. You can also try using comfrey as mulch or as a compost enhancer.
Comfrey Fertilizer and Mulch
The herb’s leaves are easy to use as mulch. Nature will take its course and soon complete the rotting process, allowing the nutrients to seep into the ground. Just spread the leaves around the edges of plant roots and then bury them with 2 inches (5 cm.) of soil. You can also dig a trench 6 to 8 inches (15-20 cm.) deep and bury chopped up leaves.
Plant fruiting vegetable seeds on top but avoid leafy and root crops. Comfrey as a fertilizer has many forms, all of which are easy to use and make. The best thing about the plant is you can cut the leaves several times in a season for a constant supply of this nutrient-rich, useful herb.
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Growing & Using Comfrey for Gardeners
I am convinced that anyone growing their own should devote some space to growing comfrey. I call my comfrey patch my compost mine because with a little effort I can produce a great compost activator, a high potash plant food and a liquid that rivals commercially available tomato feed.
John Harrison by his Comfrey Patch
Comfrey is also useful as an animal and poultry foodstuff.
It can be grown on land unsuitable for vegetables that would otherwise be wasted as it is tolerant of very wet conditions and shade. Once established it’s also tolerant of dry conditions.
This ability to produce a high-value product, whether as plant or animal food from marginal lands makes it potentially one of the most important useful plants we have.
It’s value is even higher in undeveloped countries which may do better seeking appropriate methods and technologies rather than emulating the west where high labour costs have driven an oil-fuelled mechanised economy and farming methods.
Whilst hardly known and grown by British farmers, comfrey is well known and grown in Japan. With the consolidation of farms in the USA it’s lost growers over the past 50 years. Given the changes that ever-increasing oil prices will bring to food production, comfrey may well enjoy a resurgence and even be adopted by larger conglomerates rather than just small, dare I say human-scale growers. Don’t forget the majority of our fertilisers are oil based in their manufacture as well as transportation from factory to farm.
Stinky But Effective Make Comfrey Fertilizer Tea
You can easily make it in a food-grade bucket or barrel. “50 Homemade Fertilizers and Soil Amendments” is the ultimate collection of organic recipes for soil conditioners, planting bed amendment s and plant fertilizers using FREE materials you can find around your house and town. Tough far-ranging roots make Symphytum hardy, and hard to remove. Comfrey are important herbs in organic gardening.
How to Make Comfrey Tea for Your Garden Oak Hill Homestead
Find the details on how to grow comfrey , its nutritients, benefits and a recipe for making comfrey tea fertilizer for plants. Organic fertilizer , also known as compost, is one of the most popular and easy to make vegetable garden fertilizers . When your garden is ready for organic fertilizer , here are 35 effective, affordable homemade options to consider: Worm Castings: Worm castings are soil superfood! They provide nitrogen and make soil absorbent. Jun 17, 2019 11 Homemade Fertilizer Recipes For Gardeners. I wanted to say that I am a cancer survivor and I do owe it to my daily herbal regime. It has numerous benefits and all plants can get from it various nutritive substances.
Comfrey Plant Food Using Comfrey As A Fertilizer
To make a comfrey fertilizer concentrate, pack comfrey leaves tightly into a container, weigh them down, cover, and let them rot. Comfrey tends to deteriorate very quickly, which is why it makes an excellent accelerator for your garden compost pile. It breaks down and helps feed new plants with much needed nutrients. Comfrey makes an interesting focal point in a border and is great for drawing the eye to the back of a border. Here’s the second installment in what will no doubt be a victory for me!!
How To Make Comfrey Fertilizer Tea And To Make Your Garden
It looks very nice when grown at the ends of vegetable beds and somewhat formally, in the center of a four-square herb garden . The leaves are high in potassium and make excellent fertilizer . Apr 22, 2019 What makes comfrey such a great plant is the fact that you can use it in more than one way. The first photo is a Purple Majesty potato on comfrey leaves. Comfrey uses Comfrey has a long medicinal history dating back to Manure and mulching Use comfrey to make compost manure and mulching. Use shredded leaves as mulch at the base of nutrient deficient plants or crops that are heavy feeders.
How to Make Comfrey Fertilizer Dreamley
Easy tips to make your soil more fertile.
- You’ll want to cover it and let it steep for 3-6 weeks.
- It is used to help plants produce more flowers and fruit, as a natural insecticide, and as a compost activator.
- I’m not sure it was ever even a viable comfrey plant to begin with.
- Use freshly dried herbs, and use both the roots and leaves.To harvest and dry the leaves, pick them, gently wipe the dirt off with a towel and allow them to dry whole overnight.
How To Make Comfrey Fertilizer Tea And To Make Your Garden
May 20, 2019 Regular use of comfrey tea can provide a range of health benefits, although there are some important considerations and risks of which you should be aware.
- Most vegetable plants prefer a slightly acidic soil, which coffee grounds can provide.
- Aug 18, 2019 These nutrients are stored in its leaves.
- The comfrey leaves make an excellent fertilizer .
- Dec 17, 2019 You can make wonderful liquid fertilizers with comfrey or nettles and other composting plants.
- Apr 12, 2019 I have been growing comfrey since spring and I now have a steady supply to make comfrey tea fertilizer – it’s an excellent high nitrogen fertilizer (good for green leafy vegetables).
Make Your Own Natural Liquid Fertilizers: Comfrey, ‘Herby
Also, I know that you can take some of the leaves and fill up a 5 gal container, then add water, let it soak (outside!!) until it’s “ripe” and then use the liquid as a fertilizer for your tomatoes. There are a bunch of possibilities, but today I want to keep it simple with 2 homemade fertilizers everyone can ” make “… Making our own fertilizers is one of the most important things that we do here and are fortunate to have all of the ingredients for the best plant foods that we could ever want. Yet this is probably the last fertilizer people think of buying when they go to their local garden centre or shop online.
Comfrey Tea. The Best Organic Fertilizer
Two years ago I bought some comfrey roots those plants are thriving in my garden now. It has MANY! uses for medicine, livestock food, or even an organic fertilizer in the garden .
- Here are some directions on how to make your own nettle or comfrey compost tea .
- I gloved up carefully because I didn’t want to get the stinky, brown comfrey all over my dainty hands.
- We only sell Russian Comfrey , The Blocking 14 strain.
- Oct 20, 2019 Well-aged manure on its own makes a great fertilizer for garden plants.
- I’m super sad because comfrey is such a useful medicinal herb when used appropriately.
How to Make Comfrey Manure Tea Harvest to Table
How to make compost tea and boost your garden’s health. Comfrey is also high in nitrogen and can be used to fertilize your garden . × uplandicum, are used in gardening and herbal medicine. Comfrey is a plant recognized for possessing a number of qualities, including medicinal use and use in the garden . These fertilizers are nitrogen rich, can often be created for free, and your garden will love them. The remainder is given off as burning by-products.
How NOT To Make Comfrey Fertilizer
Today, however, I decided to strain out the solids and collect the liquid so I could use it as fertilizer . Fermented comfrey tea can be used during the entire vegetation and blooming phase of plants and vegetables. Another option is to till it, or mix it by hand, into the top layer of soil in the fall or winter, prior to spring planting. This produces leaves heavy with vital minerals and nutrients for your plants. Comfrey should not be added in quantity as it will quickly break down into a dark sludgy liquid that needs to be balanced with more fibrous, carbon rich material.
Make you own liquid fertilisers Comfrey Tea
Giving the plants a haircut a few times a year, it’s easy to mulch the garden beds with the clippings to add some free fertilizer . Comfrey (comphrey, Symphytum officinale L.) is a fast growng perennial plant that is used as a fertilizer and as an herbal medicine.
- That means that the materials you need to make the fertilizers at the end of the day depend on your garden and soil too.
- Comfrey is a great companion plant for most vegetable crops.
- Comfrey makes wonderful compost, and I use compost in my gardens to grow lovely, green and leafy vegetables!
- Learn how to break the habit of costly commercial fertilizers – and grow the garden you’ve always dreamed of— with this tutorial.
- Joel wrote this post for us today to tell us how he makes this comfrey tea for use in the garden as a homemade natural fertilizer !
What is Comfrey and How to Grow It Tenth Acre Farm
Growing & using garden Comfrey * Grow your own fertilizer * The spice of garden compost * Must have liquid fertilizer for tomatoes, fruit & containers Comfrey is the organic fruit grower’s secret crop booster. So next time you are waiting in line at some garden center to buy some plant fertilizer just think you could be growing your own in your garden . Jul 13, 2019 Comfrey contains vitamin B12 and is a rich source of food for plants. I was telling her about all my comfrey and she told me NOT to waste it. Apr 12, 2019 Comfrey (also comphrey) is native to Europe and Asia and have been cultivated by many cultures for over 2500 years.
Comfrey Tea. The Best Organic Fertilizer
Go here to read How to make liquid fertilizers and their uses and application. Homemade fertilizers are made out of inexpensive household items that are dr. Jun 13, 2019 There are different varieties of comfrey but the best one to plant is Bocking 14 – it doesn’t self-seed, so it won’t invade your garden . The powder will also decompose more readily than fresh leaves, which is better for the spring garden . It will become my secret weapon to improve my veggie garden soil, to mulch around my plants, and to prevent disease from keeping me from a bountiful harvest of veggies later in the fall. Because comfrey leaves have a high mineral content, they make an excellent liquid fertilizer for garden and houseplants (allow leaves to decompose in a container of water).
How to make fertilizer from comfrey Grow an Organic
Russian comfrey (S.x uplandicum) is a hybrid between common comfrey and prickly or rough comfrey and prefers drier ground.
- Use when watering all the plants in both garden and vegetable patch.
- Choose an unimportant piece of land that is out of the way to make the bed.
- When adding chopped comfrey leaves to the soil they can be added directly to the planting holes, or broadcast and worked into the garden soil.
- Roots to be used to make medicinal ointments or skin creams can be harvested at any time, but preferably in early winter.
- It can create a fertiliser base within the soil, as well as a nutritious mulch on top.
- You can spread aged manure directly on top of your garden soil at a thickness of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
How to Make Comfrey Tea for Your Garden Oak Hill Homestead
I made a batch of comfrey oil and left it in the sun for a day, which was a big no-no. Sep 27, 2019 How To Make And Use Homemade Organic Fertilizer . My comfrey has spread at an alarming rate, invading native species around my stream and jumping out of my property so I have felt a bit panicked since it is out of control. Dig the comfrey root out when the weather is dry.
Comfrey Tea: Homemade Natural Fertilizer
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 . The leaves can be chopped and added to the soil, or brewed into a tea.
- I’ve been told that it can irritate your skin if you have any minor cuts, though, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when working with it.
- You can make a mulch out of comfrey leaves, brew a compost tea by storing fresh-cut leaves and stems in water for six weeks, or steep the comfrey tops in water and allow them to decompose over time.
- That’s helpful, though, since it makes such good fertilizer .
- Fertilisers are used to improve plant growth.
- When you have decided to use organic fertilizer you realize there are many choices How to Care for Your Course (Lawn Care Guide).
- For those who practice permaculture, Veganic, or Back to Eden gardening, THIS is the comfrey variety you want.
HOW TO MAKE LIQUID FERTILIZER FROM COMFREY The Garden of
The Comfrey leaves can be harvested and made into garden compost tea as a fertilizer added to plants. Once it has established in your garden , you will be able to harvest the leaves several times throughout the growing season. For internal use, comfrey is made into a tea and can be sipped to suppress respiratory problems. Comfrey has so many uses: medicinal, livestock feed, compost activator and more. Jul 21, 2019 Learn how to make nettle and comfrey feed as cheap, nutrient-rich alternative plant feed, in this video with Monty Don, from BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine. The process of making comfrey liquid fertilizer begins with growing the comfrey you will require in the first place.
Comfrey Tea makes excellent liquid fertilizer. Small
Now you see why Comfrey is a ‘must have’ in an organic gardening system.
- The benefit of using powdered comfrey fertilizer is that it can be used in the late winter/early spring garden before the comfrey plants have woken up and produced leaves.
- I am careful when drenching vegetables with the stuff, and I avoid getting it on edible plant parts altogether.
- I like to plant chives at the ends of my garden beds.
- Liquid seaweed fertilizer is not only organic, but it also comes from a sustainable source and can be harvested without damaging the environment.
- When the results in break down, a dense black comfrey focus can be gathered.
- One of the best fertilizers you can use on your plants is liquid seaweed.
How To Make Comfrey Fertilizer Tea And To Make Your Garden
Comfrey will grow very densely and can be difficult to weed, so before planting, dig the soil over and remove any perennial weed roots.
- Life is so busy, and sometimes these things get pushed farther and farther down the chore list.
- Comfrey Makes Garden Fertilizer tank fertilizer cherry tomatoes mixing with pesticides and fertilizers is prohibited.
- It has a dense, clumping habit and grows up to 3 feet in height.
- Make your own fertilizers for your organic vegetable garden BUT BEWARE OF HEALTH RISKS.
- How To Make Liquid Fertilizer Liquid fertilizer is an excellent way to provide nutrients and trace elements to your plants.
How To Grow Comfrey : Comfrey Tea Recipe
Follow these recipes to improve harvests by making your very own natural liquid fertilizers to use in the garden . A layer of wilted comfrey can be laid in the trench before planting potatoes. Here is the process to prepare fermented comfrey tea. Your grass will be heartier and ready to withstand the stresses Mother Nature throws at it. If my sprayer contains 9 quarts (9 liters) water, I’ll add 1 quart (1 liter) fermented tea and have a great plant fertilizer .
How to make Homemade Comfrey & Stinging Nettle Fertilizer
Before we get to our homemade organic fertilizer recipes, it is important to analyze your soil or your garden first. Nettles and Comfrey – Fertilizer A part of our philosophy is to re-use and make do with what we have here on the property. MirAcid fertilizer contains inorganic chemicals, so if organic gardening techniques are important to you, you may want to try one of the many organic fertilizers on the market. Gardeners may also brew and cool comfrey tea to sprinkle over the garden as an organic fertilizer .
Comfrey Tea. The Best Organic Fertilizer
All my herbs love Comfrey – the best garden companion plant! If this is too much effort for you, or you’ve not got the time to waste, you can also use the leaves as mulch, just tear them up and place them around other plants. I sweeten it with a few drops of honey and drink each morning. Basically, it’s a simple comfrey tea, or infusion to be exact. Comfrey is so rich that it can be used as if it was manure to activate a slow compost heap. Jun 29, 2019 Using natural fertilizers such as Comfrey Fertilizer will encourage the worms to come. when to harvest: In the first season of a newly established plant cut once in June to prevent flowering and allow the plant to grow and die back so as to build up reserves.
Comfrey Tea. The Best Organic Fertilizer
Comfrey is also rich in calcium and many other valuable plant minerals it mines from deep in the subsoil. Either way, the process is basically the same. It has the right nutrient content for making that amazing comfrey tea fertilizer and for “chop and drop” green manure. The dynamic accumulation of minerals and nutrients is what makes comfrey leaves an excellent natural source of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Comfrey leaves, measured as dry matter, are about 15 to 30% protein which is as high as most legumes. The faster growing the plant, the more it will benefit from fertiliser application.
How To Make Comfrey Fertilizer Tea And To Make Your Garden
Here are some of the most popular uses of the comfrey plant. (Always wear gloves when handling comfrey , as the leaves can cause contact dermatitis). Make your own by air drying comfrey or by using a dehydrator at 95 degrees until crisp. My mom has been growing comfrey for years and I knew it was a beneficial plant, but I never knew you could make fertilizer from it! I’ll have to see if she has a root or two to share.
Make Your Own Natural Liquid Fertilizers: Comfrey, ‘Herby
More recently, Comfrey has been the subject of a hot new composting trend. Expert advice on growing comfrey in your garden and taking advantage of its many uses, including as mulch or organic fertiliser for your vegetables: Feeding Your Plants For Free 5 How to Make and Use Home-grown Fertilizer 17 Grow Your Own Fertilizer Using Comfrey 75 To prepare a fertilizer and/or foliar spray: To make fertilizer , place a generous handful of leaves in water to cover them and let steep for two to four weeks depending on weather. Jun 3, 2019 Comfrey ‘Bocking 14′ in the under story of a Walnut – Juglans regia in our Forest Garden . When growing in containers you can make good earth for containers from garden compost, loam, leaf mold, perhaps comfrey leaves and fed with specialised organic fertilizer blends, On the market, there are various types of organic fertilizer , yet it is really easy to make it with household trash, leftovers and animal mess.
Making Comfrey Fertilizer
This type has wooly, fuzzy leaves and delicate pink flowers. It’s easy to make and provides nutrients for your plants! Comfrey tea is an awesome homemade natural fertilizer for your garden ! Organic raised bed gardens are not without some of the drawbacks that every garden has. My parents are gardeners and really enjoy using it in the garden . Weigh down a handful of leaves in a bucket of water, cover and leave to rot down for 4-5 weeks to produce a ready to use comfrey fertiliser.
Gardening along the creek…: Comfrey as Fertilizer, and
And it’s best to have the comfrey thoroughly dried if I want to use it as fertilizer with garden seedlings. Use the first cutting of spring leaves by chopping them up and placing them in the soil next to your garden plants. Oct 1, 2019 It is this ability to help cycle nutrients through the soil that has given comfrey its designation as a dynamic accumulator plant. Jan 10, 2019 Comfrey as Fertilizer The deep roots of comfrey bring nutrients up from the soil, depositing them in the leaves.
How to Make Comfrey Tea for Your Garden Oak Hill Homestead
Comfrey has a high yield, and you can harvest your plant several times throughout the growing season.
- 6 Natural Fertilizers to Improve Your Garden Soil for a Larger Harvest Growing your own food and gardening are addicting.
- Its roots go deep into the ground and access nutrients beyond the reach of many more shallowly rooted plants.” Because of its ability to access nutrients comfrey makes a stellar fertilizer for other plants that may need a boost.
- Thousands of web sites make all kinds of claims for it and if you believe the claims everyone should be growing comfrey to add nutrients to compost, mulch soil, and make plants grow better.
- Let’s take a look at the procedure below.
How To Make Comfrey Fertilizer Tea And To Make Your Garden
Mar 15, 2019 But I also like to make my own homemade liquid fertilizer when possible, and that’s what I’m excited to show you today. These natural fertilizers are ideal for vegetables, especially tomatoes and potatoes. Apr 17, 2019 It prefers moist soil, and is often found as a garden escapee. Comfrey is a dynamic accumulator of nutrients, most notably iron, silicon, nitrogen, potassium, calcium, magnesium and many trace minerals. Plants, just like any other organic living matter, need food to live.
In fact grafting fruit and flowering trees has been done in China for over 4000 years! Now it’s being done with tomatoes. How to Kill Fescue Clumps in Bermuda Grass. Comfrey Makes Garden Fertilizer growingyourgreens has super videos on how to grow sprouts micro greens wheatgrass indoors all year.
When you have decided to use organic fertilizer you realize there are many choices How to Care for Your Course (Lawn Care Guide). Please use best lawn fertilizers. Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake. Re: Stinging nettle liquid fertilizer. Bonsai Plant Care – The Basics. Due to the slower release nature of the phosphate in dicalcic trial work has shown this fertiliser can be of benefit in high leaching environments such as on West Coast sands and podzols and the Wharekohe soils of Northland.
FloraNova Grow works as a specialized nutrient for rapidly growing plants during the foliar when to plant tomatoes in pasadena ca growth phase. Plant nutrients are also released more slowly and over a longer period of time than from most commercial fertilizers. Fertilizer and Trees. Flea beetles eat small holes in the leaves of seelings and small transplants. para que serve o remedio tomato plant wilting after transplant levofloxacino. Farmers can avoid damage from urea by broadcasting most of the urea nitrogen fertilizer ahead of organic lawn fertilizer dallas tx plant fertilizer sticks seeding.
Tomatoes are best started indoors. It is not only cheap and easy to make it provides plants with a hearty dose of healthy evergreen starter fertilizer nutrients immediately which helps them to grow better and stronger. These parts should be cut off whether it’s a single leaf or whole branch it is The right kind of nutrients must be fed to your cannabis plants in every “I followed the instruction given on the book about the right fertilizer for my outdoor sativa and it did wonders for me.
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Secure shopping (SSL PCI McAfee Secure). Fertilizers that are mixed into the soil usually end up leaching into the ground water. SeaMeal contains 60 trace minerals 12 vitamins 22 amino acids digestive enzymes and flaxseed meal.
Once this soil is graded it’s time for grass seed fertilizer and topdressing. Tomato Kit Tomato Growing Center. Best fertiliser for a laurel hedge? just moved into a new house and the previous owners had neglected their laurel hedge palm tree fertilizer spikes home depot natural lawn care indianapolis so badly that it was probably more than 30′ high and the bottom had become very sparse.
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Biogas power station will convert chicken Comfrey Makes Garden Fertilizer poo to power for about 350 homes. It is superb for feeding bulbs and tubers root crops such as carrots and onions shrubs and fruit trees. The fertilizer produced was found to be comparable to those available in the market and can be used in the palm oil plantaion reducing the cost of fertilizer. Organic does not automatically mean pesticide or chemical free. Organic Fertilizer: 1 can of beer 1 cup of ammonia 1 cup of plain liquid dish soap (not liquid detergent) 1 cup any brand best do it yourself lawn fertilizer liquid lawn fertilizer 1 cup of molasses or corn syrup.
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LeneA / Pixabay
Comfrey can grow in full sun or partial shade, but will begin to wilt if exposed extremely hot, dry conditions. If you’re in a hot climate, it’s best to figure out some type of irrigation to get the best from your comfrey plant. It’s frost tolerant and hardy in zones 4-9. The leaves can take temperatures of 15 degrees and still survive, and the roots can survive to -40 degrees! Depending on your location, it’ll die back each winter and return each new season, healthier and larger than the previous.
7 garden-rich reasons to grow comfrey
If you aren’t quite sure yet what comfrey looks like, where it grows, or why you should plant in in your garden, then you have come to the right place. The beneficial reasons for growing comfrey are coming soon, and surely one of them will whisper to you “This is the year to plant comfrey in the garden.“
In the meantime, let’s get acquainted with comfrey as a perennial plant.
The true comfrey from which poultices and salves are made from is: Symphytum officinale.
The Russian comfrey garden cultivar that you may choose to grow is: Symphytum x uplandicum
Comfrey is a cold-hardy perennial with a long tap root which makes it drought resistant. At the same time it also prefers moist, well-watered soils.
Size-wise, comfrey can reach up to 5′ in a very fertile soil and about 4′ in width. Plants will be smaller when conditions are less than ideal. Overall, they will grow just about anywhere once they are established.
As with horseradish, any roots left in the ground will keep producing new plants. So be sure to plant it where you want it, not where you don’t! And as far as it running away like mint, that won’t happen either. Once it is planted, it stays put and has no desire to take over your garden.
In the most common garden variety (Bocking 14) the comfrey seeds are sterile, meaning that it will not self-seed. Just like with rhubarb, if you would like to propagate more comfrey plants, this can be accomplished by root division every 3-4 years.
Bocking 14 is the most common garden variety of comfrey.
What makes comfrey so valuable to gardeners?
As we’ve just mentioned, comfrey has a strong tap root. In ideal conditions it goes 6-9 feet (2-3 meters) into the soil! Not only does this loosen up the soil down below, it also has the tendency to bring up essential nutrients that are hidden deep below the surface.
It brings up those nutrients in a way that only plants can do, without tilling or damaging the soil structure, and it stores them in the leaves. Naturally, this can become your garden fertilizer, compost and mulch.
Given that comfrey grows exceedingly fast in hardiness zones 3-9, the leaves can be harvested every 5-6 weeks and applied as often as your garden plants need it.
But – and there is always a but -, although comfrey is great for your garden and it can also be a wonderful aid for healing sprains and bruises, it needs to be used with caution as a medicinal plant due to the pyrrolizidine alkaloids that can cause liver and lung damage at high doses.
That being said, other animals can safely consume comfrey as a livestock feed. Sheep and pigs will go for it, as will chickens peck at it in smaller amounts. Both cattle and rabbits will eat the comfrey leaves when chopped and wilted, or dried and added to hay as a supplement.
One thing you will notice upon growing comfrey, is that the leaves have tiny hairs, just like its cousin borage. Be sure to wear gloves when handling either of them.
When to harvest comfrey?
One last thing before you plant your comfrey seeds, or root cuttings, is knowing when to harvest.
Refrain from cutting until your comfrey plants are about 2 feet tall. Take as much as you need with pruners or a scythe, then let the plants regrow and revitalize themselves again before taking more foliage. Again, like rhubarb, the plants will die back completely in the winter months, only to make a strong comeback in spring. Ready to use again, season after season.
How’s that for an organic fertilizer that grows naturally in your garden?
1. Comfrey as a liquid fertilizer
This is the moment you have been waiting for. To find out what value comfrey gives to you and your garden.
Well, the shorter answer is that the first and perhaps most important benefit is that comfrey makes a fantastic liquid fertilizer. The longer answer is that it is a stinky brew that acts like rocket fuel for your plants.
And once you know how to grow this dynamic accumulator, it is fertilizer for free, forever.
Comfrey fertilizer is rich in both nitrogen and potassium. As such, it can help your tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and berries produce abundant harvests.
To make comfrey liquid fertilizer, harvest your comfrey leaves and chop them up as small as possible. Add the chopped comfrey to a container that has a lid (the brew stinks and you’ll definitely want to contain that smell) such as a five gallon bucket. Cover with water, put the lid on and allow to infuse for 4-6 weeks. Strain out the leaves, dilute the final liquid with water at a ratio of 10 parts water to one part comfrey liquid. Water your plants with the diluted mix.
2. Using comfrey as a mulch
If you practice permaculture principles in your garden, likely you have already come across the method of using comfrey as a nourishing source of mulch.
This can be done one of two ways: growing comfrey directly in the ground, near fruit trees for example. Or simply grown in a “comfrey patch” to be harvested as mulch when necessary.
Comfrey leaves can be chopped up into smaller pieces and strewn on top of the soil, wherever mulch is needed. On top of this you can spread an additional layer of hay, straw or green grass clippings to prevent light from hitting the soil – at the same time suppressing the growth of weeds. In this way, the chopped comfrey leaves also become a natural fertilizer as they slowly decompose into the soil.
3. Comfrey as a forage plant
While some animals may come and chew a few leaves, they are smart enough to know that it is not a complete foodstuff and would never choose to decimate an entire patch of comfrey in one sitting.
Comfrey flowers, however, attract a different class of hard-working insects. Namely honeybees and bumblebees. So, if you are a beekeeper, or just a gardener keen on rewilidng your backyard, know that growing comfrey can help more than just the soil. It can tap into (re)creating an entire ecosystem with healthier habits and more nutritious pollen and nectar for all creatures to eat.
4. Add comfrey to your compost
Why add comfrey to your compost? Well, for starters, it bulks up your compost with organic material that is rich in nitrogen. This in turn, results in an increase in microbial decomposition. In essence, it gives a boost to your compost pile which might otherwise be sluggish.
Careful though! Add too much comfrey and you may slow the decomposition rate.
Just as when you use comfrey as mulch, when you add it to your compost you are inevitably going to enrich your soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Go ahead and add your excess green leaves to your compost bin, your garden will thank you.
5. Plant comfrey to fill in your shady areas
No matter how hard you try to find full sun in your garden for all your favorite sun-loving plants, there will always be shade. Shade from tall trees, shade from the neighbor’s house, or your very own.
Rather than be disappointed by shade, try to embrace it. Then find the shade-tolerant plants that can handle it, if not downright enjoy basking in some sunless light.
Luckily comfrey is one of those easy-going plants that can handle full sun or partial shade. Combine that with its fertilizing capabilities and you have a victorious situation on your hands. You can easily harvest in the shade, as you make a top-notch fertilizer for your award-winning, sun-loving tomatoes. Or something like that.
In this way, comfrey is a terrific plant to incorporate into forest gardens, as it can be planted among trees and along edges.
6. Make a comfrey tea for houseplants
You already know how your potatoes, tomatoes and peppers can benefit from comfrey as an organic fertilizer. How about your beloved houseplants?
They also need some extra nurturing from time to time too. Rather than change the soil too often (which disturbs the roots to some extent) you can also make a fertilizer of compost tea to use indoors.
If you are able to dry some comfrey leaves (as you would dry any fresh herbs at home) during the summer months, you can then soak them in winter when your houseplants need a little extra nutrition. Let the comfrey leaves sit in pure water for a few days, strain, then water your plants as usual.
Be careful to keep your comfrey leaves labeled and separate from your other herbs, so that you don’t accidentally end up putting them in your herbal tea!
7. Comfrey as a natural medicine
Have you ever had a sprain that felt like it took too long to heal? Or a bruise that was overly sensitive to touch? If you have comfrey growing in your garden, then a healing comfrey poultice is not so far away!
In summer you can make a healing remedy from fresh leaves, but for winter injuries, you better have a salve already made or some dried leaves and roots at the ready.
Every summer we make an infused comfrey oil for the extremely random and unexpected times it may be needed throughout the year. It is always best to be prepared!
Comfrey can also be used to make a healing salve or cream for external use to reduce inflammation and pain, at the same time to speed the healing of skin. Note, that comfrey should never be used on open wounds. If you can’t make your own, or don’t dare to try it just yet, you can always search for and find a handmade comfrey salve online. Just be sure to buy from a reputable source.
Once you have a patch of comfrey growing contentedly in the garden, you might as well grow some beautiful borage too! Not that you need another plant…
Comfrey Can Activate Compost
Town dwellers who must buy manure for their compost piles could save money by keeping a few comfrey plants. Bocking No. 14 — a narrow-leaved, fine-stemmed type with very high protein and potash content — is especially good for kicking the decomposition action into high gear. For best results, scatter comfrey cuttings throughout the compost heap. (Our planting is a mixture of Bocking No. 4 and 14 and we've used the two interchangeably. When time and supply allow selectivity, however, it's good to know about the special properties of each variety.)
You can also condition your soil with comfrey - it's one of the best plants for this. The roots range to depths of 8 to 10 feet, bringing up nutrients from the mineral-rich subsoil, breaking up heavy clay and aerating the land with their channels. The leaves themselves may be buried as "instant compost" to give row crops season-long nourishment.
Rise and Shine Rabbitry
I get excited about a few things (most are homestead related), but rabbits and comfrey are at the top of my list! There are so many uses for comfrey on the homestead everyone should grow it.
This amazing plant can be used as a livestock food and tonic, herbal medicine, organic fertilizer and mulch for you gardens, and a great booster for your compost piles!
I will list as much as I know about comfrey on this page. The first time I got Comfrey was back in the early 80s and even when moving from place to place, I would dig up roots to bring my comfrey with me. Back then I was only growing it as a food and tonic for my rabbits. As I started learning how to use it more and more in the gardens, greenhouses, and compost piles and then seeing the results of what Comfrey can do. I was amazed! I started many more comfrey beds and planted it around my gardens, fruit trees, and compost piles for easy harvest and use.
Comfrey is a high-yielding leafy green perennial herb, and a member of the borage family. I use, grow and sell, Russian Bocking 14 Comfrey, Symphytum uplandicum.
In 1954 Lawrence Hills began researching the use of Comfrey. He found that it mines nutrients in the ground by using its deep root system. When plants do this it is called a dynamic accumulator. The plant will draw minerals out of the soil and into the roots, stems and leaves. This makes comfrey very rich in the basic N-P-K elements which are the basis of all plant fertilizers and are important for plant health and growth. Comfrey contains useful amounts of these trace elements but nobody seems to have researched this until Hills went on to develop the most useful variety of Comfrey, Bocking 14, which was named after the location of the trial grounds in Essex, England.
The most important property of Bocking 14 is that it is sterile. That means it does not self-seed so it does not spread like wild Comfrey. But once you have Comfrey in the garden you will never get rid of it as even the smallest piece of root will regrow vigorously. But then why would you want to get rid of it, with its so many uses!
Comfrey grows up quick and early in the spring and can easily reach heights of 5 feet. The lower leaves are very large, compared to the small hanging clusters of flowers at the top of the plant, to which I have never seen so many bees as in my comfrey beds, they love the purple flowers as do a great many other beneficial insects. The shape and size of this plant makes it look like a shrub but comfrey is a herb. Comfrey is a hardy perennial and it will die back to the ground in the winter and regrow in the spring.
Comfrey will adapt to most areas you want to plant it, but will thrive in a rich organic soil. As with all quick-growing plants, Comfrey needs nitrogen. Comfrey gets all its nitrogen from the soil, so some type of regularly added organic matter is needed. Of course I cannot think of anything better to use than Bunny Berries! I top dress my Comfrey plants every spring and fall!
When starting Comfrey plants I use root cuttings most often. These cuttings are usually available in small and larger sizes. The larger roots will sprout and grow faster than the small cuttings. These are 2-6″ lengths of root which are planted horizontally 2-8″ deep. Plant shallower in clay soil and deeper in sandy soils.
You can also grow comfrey from crown cuttings, but these will be more expensive. A crown cutting will include sprouts and will grow faster than root cuttings. Crown cuttings are planted 3-6″ deep.
If you are growing several plants of comfrey for a bed, and regular harvesting, space them in a grid, 3′ apart.
Once Comfrey is established it will take care of itself. Each year the plant will get a little larger and the root system will get more dense. A Comfrey plant can live several decades before it begins to decline. By dividing the plant every few years this will keep the plant growing vigorously longer.
Because of its deep tap-root, comfrey is very drought tolerant. However regular watering will keep it green, growing strong and blooming for a great quick harvest.
Comfrey leaves can be harvested and dried at any time in its growing stage. If you are growing it to harvest the leaves, you can make your first cutting when the plants are 2′ tall. Cut back to within a few inches of the crown. If you begin harvesting early, you may not get flowers that year.
I have many comfrey plants all over the homestead and for many different reasons. The plants around my garden I let flower. These purple bell-like flowers draw in so many beneficial insects to help pollinate my crops. By planting Comfrey as an outside border the plants roots mat together stopping even couch grass from creeping in. I do plant them closer about 24 inches apart as a garden border and the plants are right were I need them when I want to use as a mulch.
There are so many great ways to use comfrey around the garden! One of the easiest uses of comfrey is as a thick mulch for other crops. Comfrey leaves and stems can be cut and wilted for a few days and then used as a mulch. This will slowly release all the nutrients that their long tap roots pulled up from the soil. This will also help to suppress weeds, feed the plants being mulched, and conserve moisture. This is especially good around plants that like a little extra potassium like fruits, squashes, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Researchers in British Columbia analyzed the NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) ratio of comfrey and discovered that the leaves have a remarkable NPK ratio of 1.80-0.50-5.30. When we compare these nutrient ratios to that of animal manure we can see how far superior comfrey is but the bunny berries are still better than most manures!
Dairy Cow: .25-.15-.25
As comfrey leaves wilt an decompose they become irresistible to slugs and snails. If you spread them around young plants such as lettuce and other slug loving plants this will keep the slugs busy and easy to dispose of.
The wilted leaves and stems (by wilting the pieces of comfrey they will not root) can be dug into ground that is being prepared for a new crop and they will break down to give an awesome organic feed to the crop that is being planted. I always do this with all seedlings I transplant outside. This works great on plants being grown in containers as the comfrey decomposes it makes a slow release fertilizer for the plant. Great to add in when you trench in your potato starts in the spring.
Comfrey as a liquid fertilizer is the best! This is one of my favorite uses. Throw that Miracle Grow and any other chemical fertilizer out! Comfrey leaves and stems (I chop the stems) can be crammed and packed tight into a large container (I like using 5 gallon buckets) with a brick or rock pressing down on the mass of comfrey. After a few weeks the mixture will be like a green, brownish soup and ready for harvest. Strain it through a fairly fine screen and bottle, then put the screened sludge remains onto the compost pile. By putting a spigot on the bottom of the bucket you could just keep adding comfrey to the top as it breaks down and turn the tap on as you need it. Once this liquid fertilizer is made it should be diluted from 10:1 to 15:1.
Some people I know just add cut and chopped comfrey plants to their rainwater barrels, then let sit for a few weeks and use this to water their plants as is. They have all had great results.
Because Comfrey is a high-nitrogen source, Comfrey is a wicked awesome compost activator and a great booster for the compost piles, it will even awaken those cold dead piles!
Remember when composting to always have the right balance of green and brown shredded material in any of your piles to keep them healthy and composting. Comfrey when added to the pile works best as an activator if it is well mixed with the whole pile rather than just adding it as layers, this will kick-start your hot composting process. You can add as layers if your pile is working and you just need to add some green stuff.
Here is a recipe for the Rise And Shine Comfrey Composter Super Booster Fill your blender 3/4 full with fresh comfrey leaves, then add water to about 2 inches below the rim. Blend until the comfrey is dissolved. Pour the undiluted blended comfrey into your composter or on your compost pile. It will get your compost heating up fast! It’s an excellent compost activator because it contains more nitrogen than most manures.
A few years ago I planted some Comfrey plants next to my compost bins and their growth has been awesome, it is in a shady area on the homestead, most plants would never even grow there. The Comfrey grows vigorously while enjoying the leaching nutrient’s from the pile. The comfrey is also close to the compost pile to add as green matter, If I add some dry matter to the compost pile.
I get three good crops of leaves each year from each plant here in Maine, it can be cut right down to 2” above the ground and then it will re-grow fast. Remember to keep an eye on it, splitting off some of the root every few years to prevent it getting out of control, but you can propagate these cuttings into as many new plants as you want, to start new beds, and plants, to barter, sell or give as gifts.
Comfrey is also used as a livestock food. Farmers in both Japan and in the Pacific Northwest plant fields of comfrey to feed both their dairy and beef cattle. These farmers are getting remarkable results in the health of both their beef cattle and increased milk production in their dairy herds.
I did a post on the benefits of comfrey for rabbits here is the link https://riseandshinerabbitry.com/2011/10/22/comfrey-for-rabbits/
The Henry Doubleday Association in the United Kingdom long advocated the use of comfrey as a nutritional supplement for farm animals.
Comfrey contains many vitamins and nutrients such as Vitamin B12, potassium, sulphur, calcium, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-complex, selenium, iron, germanium and is also an excellent source of protein.
I feed comfrey to all the livestock on my homestead. The chickens love it, when the free ranging chickens get to run in the comfrey beds they will eat it to the ground. The pigs go crazy when they see you carrying in to them grunting and doing their happy dance. I have fed it to my rabbits for 30+ years and they love it! So far, I have had no adverse effects on feed comfrey to any of the livestock I raise here on the homestead!
I have been told lots of negative things on feeding comfrey to livestock. Studies have reported the development of cancerous liver tumors and liver damage in animals after ingesting or being injected with various amounts of comfrey. If comfrey is so dangerous, then why is it not causing liver issues to the cattle raised in Japan? The cattle are being fed large amounts of comfrey yet there has been no problems with liver tumors or liver damage in their herds. I feed comfrey to my rabbits as much as 25% of their daily green feed. I butcher my rabbits and all the livers are healthy and tasty! I have never personally had any problems with comfrey being fed to the animals on my homestead.
I researched a few of the negative comfrey studies, the ones I could find were done on young rats. The Comfrey was not given to the rats as a food source, Instead the toxic alkaloids were isolated and injected into these rats.
As with many herbs, the whole plant contains elements and nutrients that can neutralize the toxic elements in the plant being eaten. So by isolating and injecting a toxic chemical from the comfrey plant and eating the leaf of the plant, you would get different results in any study. So do some research yourself and make your own choice. I will be using comfrey as a food source for my animals!
As a medicinal herb, Comfrey has been used for more than 200 years. A famous herbalist, Dorothy Hall, who wrote in 1975 ‘Russian comfrey and garlic could together almost halve the present ills of western civilization.’
In herbal medicine it is sometimes referred to as “knit bone” for its ability to speed wound healing. Knit bone, refers to the way that the Comfrey was ‘knitted’ (wrapped) around the bruised leg or arm.
The allantoin content of comfrey, especially in the root, has resulted in its use in folk medicine for healing wounds, sores, burns, swollen tissue, and broken bones. When applied externally to bruising, sprains, arthritis or any inflamed tissue, it acts as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
In studies allantoin appeared to affect the rate of cell multiplication. Wounds and burns seemed to heal faster when allantoin was applied due to a possible increase in number of white blood cells. Comfrey works so well that it is important to ensure that when using it as a healing poultice, the affected area or wound is completely clean and free from dirt or foreign matter. This is because Comfrey causes the skin to grow back so fast that any dirt left behind will actually end up being stuck under the new skin growth.
You can apply cold grated comfrey root or a cloth soaked in cool comfrey tea to sunburns or other minor skin burns.
Comfrey can be used as a treatment for rashes, scrapes and especially insect bites and stings.
Making a poultice with the juice can remove warts and other growths. Can be used as a rinse for skin problems on livestock and pets.
Comfrey Infused oil is used to treat arthritis, skin wounds and diseases such as psoriasis. Juice from the leaves and stems in a terrific cure for poison ivy.
You can make an infusion by boiling the leaves. For using the plant externally, the whole plant can be beaten and heated up, then applied to the skin.
To make comfrey oil, clean some fresh comfrey roots with a scrub brush under running water. Place the roots in a blender or food processor with olive oil to cover, and grind as fine as possible. Put into a large glass jar and allow to soak for several weeks before straining. Filter through a wire mesh strainer with cheesecloth or in a coffee filter. This can be used as a compress or poultice.
Comfrey should never be taken internally. Most health agencies in the U.S. have banned the internal use of comfrey due to the pyrrolizidine alkaloids found in this plant. Comfrey is no longer sold in the U.S. as an herbal cure, except in creams or ointments.
In the past before the bad press on comfrey they did use it internally. Drinking a few drops of Comfrey in water can help with bronchial problems, particularly whooping-cough. Boiling the crushed root yields a mild remedy for diarrhea and other gastro-intestinal problems.
Use any of the cures here use at your own risk. I am not a doctor. These are old remedies’ that have been used for generations.
Comfrey is nature’s answer to a sustainable fertilizer, fodder, and healing herb for the Homesteader. Best of all it is free! and you can grow it yourself! Comfrey is The Gold Mine on the Homestead!