Tending a garden can be a lot of work, but it is a pleasured pastime for many, and growing consumable plants is a way of life for others.
However, to maintain a healthy garden, you require plant food, and fertilizer can be expensive and dangerous. Thankfully, there is a nutrient-rich fertilizer that you can easily make at home with little effort or experience.
This article highlights how to create comfrey fertilizer. The process is relatively easy and has a significant impact on the health of your garden.
Comfrey: Identification And Benefits
Comfrey is a shrub known to grow throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. It can grow up to 5 feet tall and produces small clusters of flowers that are often blue, white, or purple.
Comfrey leaves are long and slender, with many gardeners choosing comfrey for its use as plant food.
This fantastic plant is rich in moisture and can be used as a living mulch in your garden. Dead leaves from a comfrey plant will release their nutrients onto the topsoil, allowing other plants with smaller roots to benefit.
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Thanks to its deep root system and ability to draw nutrients, comfrey makes an excellent fertilizer. In fact, it is so good that many gardeners will grow comfrey to encourage the growth and health of other plants.
Fertilizing Your Plants
If you have ever purchased a plant at a store, you probably noticed the white specks in the soil. These white specs are fertilizer. Fertilizer ensures the plant looks strong and healthy on the shelf.
Unfortunately, the fertilizer embedded in the plant’s soil will dissipate with time, leaving it with fewer nutrients.
Many people add fertilizer to the soil of their plants to help them grow. There are many different fertilizers, and choosing one can quickly become overwhelming.
Thankfully, you can create fertilizer at home. Although many things can be used to fertilize greenery, not many work the way comfrey does.
Due to its expansive root system, comfrey can pull substantial amounts of nutrients from deep within the earth.
These nutrients are one of the reasons that comfrey grows so well, to the point of being invasive at times. While this can be frustrating, comfrey can be used to build a robust garden.
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There are several ways that comfrey can be used in your garden, and you may want to consider adding some to your plant collection.
Here we outline a few of these methods and show you how to create comfrey fertilizer that will aid garden health.
How To Harvest Comfrey:
Before making fertilizer, you need to get the product. Comfrey grows freely in many places throughout North America. However, if you cannot find it, you can purchase a comfrey plant at a garden center or online.
Comfrey can be harvested twice in the summer. To harvest, cut the plant down to the base with garden shears, leaving the root and lower stalk behind for regrowth.
I suggest wearing gloves as comfrey is covered with prickly hairs that can irritate the skin. Many people will cut the remaining leaves into smaller pieces to encourage decomposition.
The Chop And Drop Method:
The chop and drop method of fertilizing with comfrey is precisely as it sounds. You will cut off the plant’s leaves and drop them on the ground, allowing them to break down and create a natural mulch.
This method of fertilization is by far the easiest and requires the least effort. The downside of the chop and drop method is that the leaves’ remnants will only benefit plants nearby. Still, this is an excellent option for small gardens or areas where plants are close together.
An Amazing Comfrey Compost:
Adding cut comfrey leaves to your compost pile will create nutrient-rich soil. The rich nutrients within the comfrey plant will make their way to the compost pile and onto other plants, creating a healthy, bountiful garden.
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When using comfrey leaves as compost, you must rotate and sift the soil often to allow the leaves to break down faster and the nutrients to mix evenly into the earth.
A Simple Comfrey Tea:
Creating comfrey tea for your garden is a relatively straightforward process with many benefits. This mixture will allow the rich nutrients from the comfrey plant to quickly reach the roots of the other plants in your garden.
1. Gather the leaves of the comfrey plant.
When creating comfrey tea, you must use only the plant’s leaves; this will help the mix break down faster. The leaves of the comfrey plant should be harvested before flowers form for best results.
You should remove the stalks and stems, keeping only the soft part of the leaves.
2. Place the harvest in a large bucket with a lid.
Grab a large bucket with a lid and pile the comfrey leaves you have harvested inside.
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Some gardeners prefer using store-bought buckets with a spout to quickly drain the fertilizer when it is ready.
3. Add water.
Cover the comfrey leaves with water and place something heavy on them to keep them submerged. Cover the bucket with a lid and let it ferment.
Comfrey liquid fertilizer will smell very bad. A tight-fitting lid will prevent the smell from seeping out and speed up the decomposition process.
4. Store and wait.
It will take time for the leaves of the comfrey plant to break down. Be patient; an exciting process is taking place inside the bucket, and all the valuable nutrients within the comfrey plant are being broken down and released into the water.
5. Dilute and use.
Once the comfrey leaves have broken down, which will take around 4-6 weeks, you will dilute the mixture with water in a 10:1 ratio. This step is vital.
Note: Using comfrey fertilizer without properly diluting it will damage your plants.
How To Create A Comfrey Leaf Mold
Since comfrey will turn to liquid as it decomposes, it cannot be used on its own to create a leaf mold. Still, comfrey is rich in nutrients and is an excellent addition to any leaf mold pile.
Gather fallen leaves and place them in a wire or wooden bin. Alternatively, you can pile the fallen leaves in the corner of your lot if you prefer.
If you use a container, ensure it is at least 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall, or create a pile close to this size. Once you have gathered all your leaves and placed them in a pile or container, dampen them with water and ensure they remain moist.
You can use a garbage bag to create leaf mold as well. To do this, fill a garbage bag with leaves. Poke air holes in the bag, and moisten.
Let the pile, container, or bag sit and rot. This process can take up to two years, so be patient. Eventually, you will have a nutrient-rich leaf mold that you can use in your garden as mulch or by mixing it into the soil.
Adding comfrey to a leaf mold pile helps keep it moist and provides extra nutrients that may not be available in other plants. Comfrey truly is a great gardening tool.