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Comfrey

Portland, OR(Zone 8a)

I have used comfrey in my composting bin for many years and find it very useful. I also learned not to place excessive amounts of fresh leaves in the compost also. It quickly breaks down into a dark sludgey liquid without proper amounts of dry material.

I plan to make the liquid fertilizer from the fresh leaves and also comfrey tea. I have not done this before with them and was wondering if anyone here has? I was hoping someone could share any experience with me and any results. I am trying an experiment with some of my Brugmansia this summer using only comfrey hoping they may thrive and bloom from the mix. If anyone has some tales to share please do so. Thanks so much, Kin

Soquel, CA(Zone 9a)

I have had great success using nettles; haven't tried comfrey.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

GardenGuy...I've used comfrey for many things...compost, compost tea/leach, medicinal, etc. By the way, about everything green you put in your compost bin will turn a "dark sludgey liquid without proper amounts of dry material".

For the liquid plant food, steep some leaves in some some water (I use one third leaves to 3 times that much water). Depending on the length of time steeping (the longer, the stronger the mix) you can then dilute up to ten times.

Seven sisters....nettles are great also! (Some types I prefer to eat though! yummy!)

And to both of you...WELCOME TO DG!~

surfside beach, SC(Zone 8b)

horseshoe
If you are ever in need of nettles come up to the mountains and gather as much as you want.I sure would appreciate it.It is a wonderful tonic when made into a tea but there is so much up there.I will try using it as a fertilizer.Thanks for the idea.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Thanks, ds_babe! It seems nettles are a very important and valuable gift from good ol' Ma Nature, eh? Would love to come get some sometime! (I think I remember you saying your mtn place was near Boone?)

Earlysville, VA

i made some comfrey tea,,,,and let it set for 3 weeks......and boy that stuff stinks.Smells like fresh horse poo.........Is this the way, it suppose to smell?...Thanks ....Hoss

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Hehehe...you let anything sit for three weeks and it'll stink to high heaven! (Trust me! Been there, done that TOO many times~!)

Depending on the weather (temperature-wise) you could make good comfrey tea in as little as a day to 5 days. (Put your bucket/barrel of tea in the sun, let it steep, then strain.)

What you have could probably be diluted way down...it's gotta be potent. (Nose plugs might be a good investment at this point, eh Hoss!?)

Portland, OR(Zone 8a)

Thank you for the info Horseshoe.
Yes hoss it does smell that way. A strong natural smell....LOL

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

"A strong natural smell"

Hah! Perfect description! Love the 'natural smell'! 'Tis true, 'tis true!

SE PA, PA(Zone 6b)

Stirring the "soup" 2-3 times a day (or only once if that's all that's possible) will greatly add to the breakdown. Some people use fish tank bubblers to keep it aerated. You could put in nettles and comfrey together. I don't have the references handy for the moment, but they are both supposed to have super-elegant benefit to the plants. Pour the drained slurry over the compost heap. The aerated slurry probably won't smell quite so bad.

Earlysville, VA

Thanks,, for the help,,,,,,It dose stink,,,LOL.......They said, put comfrey in a trash can. I fill the trash can half full, and fill the trash can full of water. I put it in a 25 gallon can. I stir it 3 times a day, and now it stinks high heaven...lol.....3girls i would like to have the recipe if you find it.......Thanks again for the replys,,,,,,,,,,,Hoss

Lake Hughes, CA

Ok...novice here...obviously. But I have two great comfrey plants...what do you use this stinky comfrey tea for? do tell!

Thanks!
Janis

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

janis, it's an excellent plant food for tomatoes. They love it! Comfrey is high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium. Also contains trace minerals. I read once that it is also the only land plant that contains vitamin B12.

I use it here mainly for its healing/curative powers. Great for cuts, bee stings, sores, etc. The root, if dried and ground up, also is great for stopping bleeding if you've cut yourself really bad.

The leaves, mixed with plantain, and pureed in olive oil makes a great lotion for poison ivy, dry skin problems, as well as for using on the above-mentioned cuts, stings, sores, etc.

If you have two nice plants, treat them with respect...heap big medicine you got there!

And...WELCOME TO DG!

China Spring, TX(Zone 8a)

Can you tell me what kind of Nettles you are referring to? We have a ranch full of those stinging nasty things and if I can make something good of them, then I sure will. I have to figure out how to get them w/out getting stuck to death, though..
Hilary

surfside beach, SC(Zone 8b)

I think you have the nettles we were talking about.They are all over the homestead we have up in the mountains of NC.I just know them as stinging nettles.I was told that if you gather them when they are young and tender(now is the time in NC.)and make a tea with them that it is a very tonic,especially for women.

Cape Cod, MA(Zone 7a)

Hi Horseshoe-

I too am a big fan of comfrey. I used to make a salve out of it- back in the day when I had free time.
The only thing it shouldn't be used on is deep puncture wounds. It works so well that the skin cells grow back too quickly and can cover an infection that should be draining.

I didn't realize it had so many trace minerals! Thanks for the info.

Cindy

Muskegon, MI(Zone 5a)

I have also heard that comfrey has to be used for the skin with great care.....Ive got 2 big plants in my garden and use it in my soaps....lovely infused in olive oil....Judy

Portland, OR(Zone 8a)

Thanks so MUCH for all the info everyone!!
I have been using comfrey tea for foliar feedings the past few weeks. It has been very wet here and on the cool side. I have only used it on my Brugs so far and seems to really help them. The leaves were pale and yellowing some due to all the rain and cool weather. Good news, they did perk up and look a lot healthier now. The weather started to warm up two days ago and no rain for the rest of the week. Yippeee
HORSESHOE- My garden has a Strong Natural Smell in the evening!!!! LOL
Here is a pic. I took today of some comfrey. I admit I spaced out for awile watching all the bumble bees on the flowers. Such a joy watching them.
Edit: The plant in the center is Bowles Mauve * Purple Wall Flower.

This message was edited May 24, 2005 10:22 PM

Thumbnail by GardenGuyKin
Cape Cod, MA(Zone 7a)

That is a very nice photo, Kin!
Comfrey is pretty, isn't it?
I keep moving my comfrey, because it gets so big it outgrows it's space- then it comes back up in the original spot, too- so I have it everywhere! LOL

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Horseshoe, if you're still following this thread, can you tell me roughly at what point you like to fertilize your tomatoes with comfrey tea? Also, are we talking common comfrey, or Russian comfrey? I don't think wild comfrey, right.... that's another plant entirely?

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Great pic, GGK! Purty!!

Zeppy, true...Wild Comfrey is something completely different. I've been referring to Symphytum officinale and/or Symphytum uplandicum (the latter being "Russian comfrey").

As for using it as a foliar feed or drench, I would use it either as a pick-me-up for an ailing plant, for watering in during transplanting, and/or as a "booster shot" during stressful times. Putting some leaves in with your regular compost tea is a good benefit as well, especially if you want to conserve your comfrey stock. (Compost tea/leach is something that can be used either weekly or bi-weekly with great affects!)

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Would you make thistle tea this way too?

Here's another question: how to apply these teas and drenches? All I have are little half-quart hand sprayers. Is a large sprayer necessary? I'm assuming the tea will "keep" for a while....

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

Oops I mean nettle.

Wouldn't it be nice if sow thistle were useful that way?

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Thistle is one of the first weeds I played with when first making weed tea years ago. It seemed to be as beneficial as some of the other weed ingredients I used. Only problem with it was it went to flower/seed fairly quickly in the year and I didn't want to put any of its seeds in my teas, thereby spreading them all over the garden.

And yes, you can make nettle tea/leach just like you make the other types, simply steeping them. A hand sprayer will work just fine for you Zeppy (sure will build up your hand muscles too!). You'll need to strain the liquid pretty good though to keep the nozzle from clogging up. I prefer to just use a dipping cup and pour from it.

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

That's good to know; thanks!

Honestly, Horseshoe, you're a most helpful person. I do appreciate the time you take to answer questions so thoughtfully.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Thank YOU for your thank-you, Zeppy!

DGers are the greatest bunch of helpful folks, aren't they/we!? That means YOU too, of course! One of these days I'll have to get up your way for a visit sometime. I'm sure we'll have lots to talk about!

Happy Gardening!

Shenandoah Valley, VA(Zone 6b)

That'd be fine!

One last (I hope) question... is dock an okay weed tea ingredient? It's roots are super thick and long, so I'm guessing it is, but I haven't seen anyone mention it. Just common yellow dock. I think. Looks to me a lot like garden sorrel...?

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Yes, dock is a good'n. Not only is it easy to get a good quantity of leaves but it has a good amount of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. (That info didn't easily come off the top of my head so had to refer to some notes. Hate coming off like a know-it-all! :>)

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