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AnnaD

Comfrey

I want to plant comfrey by my fruit trees and I was thinking of digging some up as it grows all over the place here. But I was wondering; is it likely to take over the world, and is there a better variety I should get rather than the wild stuff?
NorthernMonkeyGirl

There is "Bocking 14" which has sterile seeds but still spreads by the roots. Or a normal variety as long as you cut before seeds drop? Depends how likely yo are to be able to do that?
dpack

bocking is best for a domestic setting as the wild stuff will get places you donít need it .

plant it near the compost heap so it takes minerals from the leachate rather than near crops where it will compete with them for minerals
AnnaD

Grand, that sounds like a good plan. But I suppose if it's going to be taking nutrients from other plants it may not be such a great idea. I shall look into it.

I've just planted the first patch of my forest garden and I had read that the comfrey is good for fruit trees, but I also have other plants near the trees.
derbyshiredowser

bocking is best for a domestic setting as the wild stuff will get places you donít need it .

plant it near the compost heap so it takes minerals from the leachate rather than near crops where it will compete with them for minerals


I was under the impression that the comfrey plants had 10 foot roots that take minerals from deep down so it didn't deplete other crops of minerals. We were/are about to move our comfrey away from an apple tree as the comfrey is suffering at the moment so this is interesting and we may need to rethink the move.
dpack

comfrey is excellent at raising minerals from the topsoil as well as the subsoil,to then make these available to trees or smaller plants either compost the comfrey tops(3 cuts a year is possible100mm up from the soil is a good place to cut) by composting and using that as a mulch/soil additive or by fermenting and using the liquor as a watered on feed.

it is not a good idea to use it co planted and hope that the annual dieback and rot down will make up for the amount of minerals it will hold during the growing season and over shading from trees will inhibit the comfrey or vice versa with small plants.

ps when cutting it use gloves and long sleeves as the hairs on the stems are very irritant.

if moving it dig up what you can and break into pieces for replanting a spade depth down on 500mm centres .if you have the space plant lots and give it its own compost heap/tub.
as to piece size anything bigger than a thumb is likely to grow but if you have lots and little space big bits work fine ,the bigger the bit the sooner you get a decent crop but smaller bits will give a greater yield long term by creating a massive patch.

pps tis good medicine as well if properly used
AnnaD

Thanks for the advice Dpack, that really helps. I think I'll just harvest it from elsewhere to use as manure or make the tea.
gardening-girl

We cut ours, let is soak for ages in water. It makes a very good plant food. but use diluted.
AnnaD

Cool, I shall do that Smile
earthyvirgo

We cut ours, let is soak for ages in water. It makes a very good plant food. but use diluted.


... and keep the bucket (or whatever you make it in) miles away from your house, it's very ...well, pongy when it's ready to use!

EV
wellington womble

I think we have the bocking variety (it doesn't seem to seed) and it makes a super edging for the greenhouse. It's planted round two sides, and it stops all the weeds (even the couch grass) despite there being no weeding or mowing here for three years. It hasn't spread much, but it's held its own magnificently. I presume my regular (stop laughing) mowing will keep it in check and mean I don't have to mow too close to the greenhouse. I'm going to plant it all round the chicken run and the other sheds for the same reason. And the bees love it (we have various squatters and now some officially tenanted ones) dpack

if you mix it with chook guano and ferment that it makes a very good liquid feed . AnnaD

The bocking variety sounds interesting, it might be worth a shot. But then I have so many other plants I want to plant in the garden there might not be room for comfrey as well!
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