Herbs and Composting – Organic Gardening – Comfrey

Comfrey is a rather puzzling and unique herb with much garden lore and it may even be a misrepresented herb. Personally I think it’s a beautiful plant but I do not know enough about its other uses to use it safely.

Many people use it for medicinal purposes but it’s a strong herb and needs to be handled with knowledge and carefully, so I tend to use it for very basic uses. 

Comfrey is my favorite garden tool! It serves as a fertilizer, bug repellant and compost aid. 

Comfrey makes the best liquid fertilizer. Place comfrey leaves in a bucket and add enough water to cover the leaves. Let stand in a dark room or shed for one month in cool weather or two weeks in warmer weather. After it sits, drain the leaves off and use 1/3-cup water to one-gallon water. You can also buy comfrey fertilizer mixes in many garden centers.  

If you need a good organic bug spray mix comfrey leaves with water and let stand as mentioned above. After the leaves have been removed and the mix strained; mix one tablespoon of comfrey liquid with 1-½ pints of water. Add one drop of liquid detergent to the mix and shake well. (The detergent makes sure that the spray will adhere to plant leaves.) 

And finally, Comfrey in the compost pile can’t be beat! It acts as an activator and will speed up the breaking down of compost piles by half the time and at the same time add nutrients.  Add comfrey leaves to the pile and blend in. You can pretty much ignore the pile and it will turn into rich compost in two to three months. 

Here’s and easier way that can be done at planting time. Dig a trench in the garden, add chopped comfrey leaves to the trench and recover the trench with soil. Plant seeds like you normally would. The comfrey will break down during growing season and feed your growing crop the nutrients they need. 

Finally, add chopped up comfrey leaves to the top of your garden soil in the fall and work them in. There will be an improvement in your soil by spring. Yarrow is another herb that will aid in breaking down a compost pile. Just add the yarrow leaves to the pile and work them in. It’s not as fast as comfrey but it still speeds up compost piles breaking down into rich compost.

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