Belonging to the Borage family (Boraginaceae), Comfrey has nodding tubular cream to purple-coloured flowers and big bristly leaves. The plant has a tap root which can access nutrients and water from deep in the soil. In the wild Comfrey likes to grow in damp places with rich soil such as in damp meadows, along river banks and ditches.
|Common Carder bee visits Comfrey flowers|
|A good place for Comfrey is the comosting area|
The leaves can be harvested several times a year and used as compost activator (mixed in with your composting material) or made into liquid fertiliser. You can also use the leaves as a mulch between your vegetables or fruit bushes where it breaks down quickly and releases nutrients into the soil. Comfrey is an excellent source of potassium and is great to use for flowering and fruiting plants.
Here is how I make my Comfrey fertiliser:
1. Fill a bucket, dust bin or any other watertight container with Comfrey leaves nearly up to the top (you can also mix your Comfrey leaves with nettle leaves to make a more nitrogen-rich fertiliser).
2. Fill the container up with water, stir well and cover with a lid.
3. For the next 3-5 weeks stir well every 2-3 days. You will see some foam and bubbles rising and after a few days it will start to get quite smelly. As warmer the weather as more quickly the leaves will break down.
4. Once the Comfrey-water mix turned into a thick dark liquid your fertiliser is ready to use.
5. Dilute the Comfrey fertiliser 1:10 with water (1 part fertiliser, 10 parts water) before using it, otherwise you will burn the leaves and roots of your plants. Also as a general rule never use fertiliser on dry soil, water first before you apply the fertiliser.
Comfrey fertiliser is a great natural and cost-free source of nutrients for your plants and it helps with maintaining healthy soil.
|A nectar-robbing Buff-tailed bumblebee|
So next time have a closer look at Comfrey flowers and if you see a little hole near the base of the flowers you will know that nectar robbers have been active.
|A Garden bumblebee accessing the flowers in a normal way|