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Comfrey (Symphytum officinale L.) is a perennial herb of the family Boraginaceae with a black, turnip-like root and large, hairy broad leaves that bears small bell-shaped white, cream, light purple or pink flowers. It is native to Europe, growing in damp, grassy places, and is widespread throughout Ireland and Britain on river banks and ditches. Comfrey has long been recognised by both organic gardeners and herbalists for its great usefulness and versatility.
Sow seeds early spring outdoors 12mm (¿in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart. They can also be started off under glass and planted out later. Germination usually takes 6-21 days at 18-21C (65-70F).
When large enough to handle thin out to 15cm (6in) apart and transplant in late spring to their final positions 30cm (12in) apart.
Comfrey leaves ¿can be placed on the compost heap to speed up decomposition.¿
It also is a natural fertiliser rich ¿in calcium, potassium, iron and manganese.
Prepare a liquid feed for foliar feeding, for salad herbs, container plants and for restoring mature garden plants to health.
Recipe: Choose a bucket that will not rust or contaminated the liquid. It must have a tight fitting lid to contain the strong odour of the comfrey leaves as they start to break down. To prepare 1,2 litres of liquid feed concentrate, use a bucket which holds 8 litres.¿
1. Pack the container with comfrey leaves, weigh them down with something heavy like a rock or stone. Pour 600ml. of ¿rainwater over the leaves. Cover with the lid and place in a warm position but not in direct sun. Leave for 3-4 weeks.
2. Remove the bucket lid after 3 weeks to check. The leaves should have started to
rot down, producing a murky brown liquid - or if the leaves are still taking up more than half the bucket space, put back the lid and leave to mature for a further week.
3. Sieve the liquid through a piece of muslin or silk stocking into a clean bowl. Discard of the plant material remaining on the cloth.
This concentrated comfrey liquid feed will keep good for up to 6 months if stored in a screw-top container, out of direct sunlight.
For a root feed, dilute the concentrate to 25ml per 1 litre of rainwater.
For a foliar feed, dilute to 12ml per 1 litre of rainwater.