The Wonders of Comfrey
I was recently taking a tour of my garden, checking out the late fall state of things and such. Most of my garden is winding down for the year, but there are still roses blooming and the broccoli is still going, but in general things are looking a bit… tired.
So, as I'm walking around, giving myself my yearly, "You really should start cutting things back" lecture, I round the corner by my compost bin and voila!, there is the Comfrey. Going gangbusters. Huge. Still blooming. Taking over. Yikes! One of the reasons people avoid Comfrey (Symphytum offincinale) is that it's known for being invasive. Now, I think that's a little harsh. I once heard a nurseryman describe a plant as "eager", and I think that describes Comfrey perfectly.
I, personally, love Comfrey and here's why:
- It's a gorgeous plant. The big, green leaves show up every spring and then the sweet little clusters of purple bell-shaped flowers follow soon after. If you want some wild entertainment, just take a seat on a sunny day, and watch as the bumble bees climb in and out of each tiny bell, covered with pollen - they’re so cute!
- It's one of the most useful plants I can think of! Besides being known as an amazing healing herb (it's known as the knitter & healer plant), Comfrey has many uses in the garden.
~ It's a complete fertilizer in a plant. The leaves are full of nitrogen, silica, potassium, iron and magnesium. This lends it to being a great addition to your compost pile. Cut it back several times a year and add it away. The leaves decompose fast!
~ You can make your own organic liquid fertilizer. Put a bunch of Comfrey leaves and a few inches of water in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. In about 3-4 weeks you'll have dark liquid fertilizer that is absolutely perfect for tomatoes! (Dilute 10:1 with water) Don't use this on acid-loving plants, though.
~ You can use the leaves as a mulch around your veggies. Make sure to first let them wilt in the sun for a day so that they don't take root!
~ Their deep roots will break up heavy soils, so plant some where you want to improve the soil.
So, if you have the room, give Comfrey a chance!