Making a comfrey fertiliser is a great way to recycle nutrients within your garden, and it’s super easy. In this video No Fuss Guide, David Hurrion shows you how to use the ‘dry’ method, packing leaves into a bucket without adding water.
He explains the advantages of this process over the more traditional method and recommends the optimum dilatation rate for the resulting liquid. This is rich in potassium (potash) and phosphate, vital for healthy plant growth.
Then, David recommends other plants that can be used to make liquid feed. He also reveals the edible crops and ornamental plants that benefit most from liquid fertiliser in both summer and winter. Watch now to find out more.
Making comfrey liquid fertiliser: transcript
I’m a great fan of making my own fertilisers for the garden and reusing stuff from the garden, so it’s recycled and all the nutrients go back into my garden. Rather than taking all the leafy material away and taking it to the tip, I much prefer to keep it in my garden where it can be of value to my plants next year.
Take, making your own comfrey fertiliser, for example. If you take all this leafy growth, this will rot down incredibly quickly in a matter of weeks and release all the liquid and that can be used as a liquid feed. All the stringy remains can just be chucked away, but the liquid that comes out of this is incredibly high in potash, also
very high in phosphate and there’s a bit of nitrogen in there as well. All of those general nutrients are really beneficial to plant growth.
So the way to make it, contrary to what you might read in other places is to pack the leaves dry into the bottom of a bucket. So collect your comfrey leaves. Comfrey is one of the best because it has that really good balance of nutrients in. Pack those leaves in really tightly into the bottom of the bucket. Don’t add any water. The
reason that you don’t add water to this comfrey feed is you’ll end up with a much more concentrated liquid at the end that you can then dilute into water as you need it rather than if you cover it with water now, what you’ll find is you’ll end up with a really thin, gruel-like soup that actually hasn’t got that much nutrient in it. So, pack it in really, really tightly. And the reason that I’ve chosen a black bucket is, black will attract the heat. So, if you put this in a place that gets sun for perhaps just half the day, then you’ll find that the sun’s rays will be absorbed by the black bucket; and that will help to heat up the contents inside and speed up the decomposition process.
Now, the other sorts of leaves that you can use for this are any of your annual weeds, things like spurge or chickweed, any annual weeds that haven’t got too many seeds on them. You don’t want to introduce weed seeds into this feed, because otherwise you’ll be pouring weed seeds all over your garden. But any leafy summer weeds will be perfect for this sort of fertiliser. And also, when you’ve cut down things like herbaceous geraniums early on in the season, during the summer, you can use that foliage as well. Pack it dry into a black bucket, pack it in really tight, and it will break down in the same way as a comfrey feed.
So, now I’ve packed all those leaves in, that’s ready to pop in a sunny spot, something over the top and leave it for three to four weeks. Now, here’s one I prepared earlier and if you can see inside of there, that really is quite a potent brew. It doesn’t smell very good I have to say. But you can see that all the fibrous material is still
there, but all the soft tissues between the leaf veins has broken down. And that liquid in there is sort of a browny-green in colour, quite strong in smell, and you can either fish the fibrous remains out using a hand fork or you can use a garden sieve to strain the contents into another bucket and then use those fibrous remains, pop those onto the compost heap where they’ll continue to rot down. And then you use this liquid diluted in a big can say, a three litre can of water, one part of this liquid to four parts water and water that onto your summer plants. So, things like tomatoes and fruiting crops like courgettes. They will really benefit from this liquid feed, but also your summer bedding plants. And you can also water it on during the winter, around the base of fruiting plants. And that will be taken up by the plant roots during the winter and give them a really good spurt, ready to start into growth next spring. So there we are – how to make your own comfrey fertiliser.