Something else we started growing in the 1970’s! Much has been written about comfrey over the years (and centuries!) - possible medicinal uses, livestock feed, scares about a poisonous alkaloid, and so on.
Simple Garden Uses
Tomato feed Comfrey foliage rots down to make a very good liquid feed for tomatoes and anything else that likes a high-nitrogen, high-potassium feed. There are two main techniques – one is a bit smelly – but the end result is very effective and has helped us grow some really tasty tomatoes over the years. Basically, you can let the leaves rot down on their own, which produces a very concentrated liquid feed (dilute it 1:10), or you can rot them down in water, which produces a ready-to-use solution. This is the smellier method!. Obviously, you need a water butt or something similar. (Cut nettles are quite effective too, and we have had good results.) Interesting comfrey notes on the web which give detailed instructions on making the liquid feed. And our own Comfrey Leaflet. (Copies available from our Farm Shop)
‘Instant Compost’ Comfrey leaves are apparently so well-balanced in plant foods, especially their carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, that you can use them like instant compost. A classic example is to lay comfrey foliage in the bottom of potato trenches. You can dig them into the ground with no fear of the usual ‘nitrogen robbery’ when fresh plant matter rots down in the soil.
Animal and Poultry Feed Perhaps not a real ‘garden’ use, but some pet animals like rabbits and guinea pigs seem to benefit from some comfrey leaves in their diet. Chickens and geese apparently like it, and we used to feed it to our goats, who relished it. After that, pigs, sheep, cows and horses - worth a try? If you would like more information, please ask.
Grow Your Own We have been trying to get our comfrey bed properly re-established after it was allowed to get overgrown by our tenants between 2008 and 2013, so we haven’t have enough to offer any surplus. BUT, at long last, the comfrey plot is a little more organised, so now we have some surplus plants for sale – see our current Price List. We expect to have some sprouted root cuttings soon – watch this space! Root cuttings can be posted quite easily.