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I have been offered a half size allotment nearer to my home than the one I am currently sharing with a friend I don't anticipate having much of a harvest there next year as it is going to be a case of clearing and conditioning the soil - it has been neglected for several years. Whilst I was surveying the site yesterday I noticed the previous holder had a row of comfrey growing at the back. I think I read somewhere that it is supposed to be good for soil conditioning. Can anyone please tell me how and when it is used. Does it need to be left and allowed to rejuvenate year after year or is it to be re-sown or something.
Comfrey is a perennial flower. I grow it in my garden as a flower. It grows vigourously and comes up year after year.
The main value of comfrey as a fertiliser is that the leaves are high in nitrogen.
You can dig the plant directly into the soil if you want to. Or you could keep some a a living plant, to allow you to harvest the leaves. These can be left to decompose in water which will make an excellent liquid plant feed.
You need a bucket with a lid. Fill it with comfrey leaves and put a brick on them to stop them floating. Fill with water. Leave it for about a month. It will stink! (Hence the lid!) Remove the rotted leaves to the compost heap and you have a liquid feed in the bucket which you will need to add 10 parts of water to 1 part comfrey liquid. It makes a fertiliser high in potassium. Comfrey has deep roots and can spread. When you have cut off all the leaves it will grow more. It was called "knitbone" and has herbal healing properties.
Sorry, as Busy-Lizzie correctly says, the biggest nutrient in comfrey is potassium. Comfrey is rich in nitrogen, but contains twice as much potassium. Both very useful.
I've never actually made the liquid from my plants leaves, but I do cut them back 2 or 3 times in a season & add the leaves to various compost bins. They act as an accelerator. I also put the leaves beneath my fruit bushes in the spring- nutients then go where I want. J.
Wow. Thank yous All! It has lots of uses then. I like the idea of an accelerator for compost heaps and liquid fertiliser. Does it grow out of control do you know? From what I could see at the allotment, it was just a small row with leaves growing to about 30 - 40cms. The plot appears to not have been worked for quite atime so I imagine that unless someone has been helping themselves in the meantime, that would be the maximum height.
as some of the others have said it's best to make liquid fertiliser from the leaves try not to put the leaves directly into the soil as they tend to regrow from every axle on the leaf.i use it all the time and water it down to 1 in 16,half a pint of liquid to 7 1/2 pints of water.
40cm is as big as it gets. Another very useful aspect of the plant is that it flowers over quite a long period, and is very attractive to bees. I grow it simply as a flower.
Thanks Tom and Gary. Something new to try!