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How to make a comfrey feed

You will need

  • Comfrey leaves
  • A large bucket or tub trug
  • Stone or flag, to weight the leaves down
  • Plastic bottles, such as old milk bottles
  • Watering can
Do it: May-September
Takes just: 20 minutes to prepare the feed

Overview

Liquid fertilisers are a great way to nourish your plants, providing nutrients in a readily available form, so they're quickly absorbed. There are many chemical fertilisers that will do the job but, by making your own using comfrey leaves, you'll have a steady supply of organic, nutrient-rich feed at little or no cost.

Deep-rooted comfrey can extract large quantities of nutrients from far below the soil's surface, inaccessible to other plants. These nutrients are stored in the leaves. Gardeners can access these nutrients by harvesting the leaves and letting them break down to release a rich, dark, nutrient-rich plant food.


How to do it

Comfrey leaves in hand

1

Harvest comfrey leaves from the base of established plants. The hairy leaves can irritate the skin, so wear gloves if necessary.


Comfrey foliage in container

Remove flowers and tough stems, then chop up the leaves and pack them tightly into a water-tight container. If possible, choose a container with a lid, as the solution can smell as the leaves break down. Use a brick to weigh down the leaves.

Emptying the solution into a bottle

Check on the progress every few weeks. The leaves will break down gradually, releasing a smelly brown liquid. Top up with fresh leaves and collect any liquid, storing it in a cool, dark place.

Diluting the comfrey feed

Dilute the collected liquid at a rate of one part comfrey to 10 parts water - the darker it is, the more you'll need to dilute it. Use the solution as a potassium-rich liquid fertiliser to encourage flowers and fruit set.

Adam's tip

You can also make a liquid feed using the leaves of bracken, clover, groundsel, nettles, borage, chicory and strawberries




Discuss this project

Talkback: How to make a comfrey feed
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Simonboo 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I can also recommend using rhubarb leaves either on their own or in with comfrey leaves to make an excellent natural and free fertilizer - again the smell is horrendous and almost makes me retch but the effect on plants is remarkable.

The rhubarb soup also has the added benefit of scaring off a number of bugs (probably the smell!).

I make mine in an old dustbin with lid which I found in a skip.

bel9tinker 24/11/2011 at 15:29

I've been making Comfrey fertilizer for a couple of years by soaking the leaves in a large plastic pelleted chicken manure container.
I have not found it neccessary to put any weight on top of the leaves but a tight fitting lid is essential to contain the bad smell.
I have calculated the volume required to mix with a 2 gall. watering can and cut the sides of an old tin down so that it just holds that amount. This is attached to a stick so that I can dip out the correct amount every time.

Terence Jones 06/12/2011 at 11:45

What are the acual values of Comfrey liquid manure?

Terence Jones 23/01/2012 at 10:27

Has anyone analysed the NPK ? If so what does it show.

florence62 16/06/2013 at 09:21

Can you use green alkanet if you dont have comfrey in your garden as I have an abundance of it?

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