Today I’m going to show you how to make an organic liquid fertilizer from comfrey leaves. You can also user stinging nettle instead of comfrey. I have used stinging nettle to make fertilizer last year, and the finished fertilizer has a strong pungent odour almost like urea. But today I’m using comfrey that I’ve grown in my herb garden. Comfrey is a very useful herb to have on hand, for use in your organic garden and also as a medicinal herb.
The word ‘comfrey’ is Latin in origin and means “to grow together ” . Today it is still valued for its use in salves and other topical skin preparations and for its use as animal fodder and fertilizer.
A fast-growing, herbaceous, perennial plant of the borage family, comfrey’s thick and tuberous roots create an expansive root system, allowing the plant to “mine” compacted soils for minerals and other nutrients which are often difficult for other plants to obtain. Comprey helps cycle nutrients through the soil that has given this herb its function as a ‘dynamic accumulator’ plant. Like stinging nettles, and other plants that function as dynamic accumulators, comfrey leaves make an excellent fertilizer, and provide a nutrient boost to compost mixes.
Additionally, comfrey leaves are used as a green manure and mulch, left to decompose on ground, further helping to condition soils. Cutting and placing the first flush of comfrey leaves in trenches where potatoes are to be planted will provide the root vegeveget with nutrients that will result in an increased yield.
It is important to use only the leaves of the plant when mulching, as any cut stems have the potential to take root.
Mature comfrey plants can be cut several times each season and in organic gardening, comfrey’s used as an excellent compost activator.
Adding leaves of the comfrey plant to a compost heap gives the compost added nitrogen, resulting in increased microbial decomposition of the compost. However, the addition of too much comfrey will result in an imbalance in the carbon: nitrogen of the compost, and can actually slow the decomposition rate.
Because of it’s deep and large taproot, it pulls the nutrients deep down into the subsoil wherein other plants cannot reach. Comfrey is high in every nutrients a plant needs which includes Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus.
A leaf mold derived from chopped comfrey leaves and dolomite mixed together and left to sit in a lidded container for several months, added then to create a dynamic potting soil. Though not suitable for seeds.
Because it’s leaves decompose quickly into a liquid it can be used as an organic fertilizer as its often found in permaculture gardens.
Comfrey liquid fertilizer.
Firstly I task take a large bucket with lid, and drill holes in the bottom. I then fill the bucket with freshly cut comfrey leaves and weigh them down with some stones or a brick. Fashion a stand or place in larger bucket with a collecting container under the holes. Place a lid on bucket containing the leaves. Let stand and after about six weeks a thick black liquid will have collected in the bottom container.
This is your organic fertilizer. Mix one part fertilizer with fifteen parts water in watering can or spray gun, and use on all plants in garden wherever fertilizer is needed.
Follow my blog to see the finished liquid fertilizer and more tips for your organic garden.
Three weeks on…
Three weeks later I check the progress of my fertilizer, it’s rotting down nicely. I top up with more comfrey leaves which have resprouted after the first cutback.
Comfrey has been considered as a healing herb. It is commonly used to aid in the healing of wounds and broken bones. It has been reported to promote healthy skin with its mucilage content that moisturizes and soothes and promotes cell proliferation. It is also used treatment for respiratory ailments.
Comfrey can be ingested as tea for upset stomach, heavy menstrual periods, ulcers, and diarrhea. It can also used as a gargle for sore throat and gum disease.
Comfrey oil –
Take advantage of it’s benefits and make your own comfrey oil. Use the fresh or dried herb, use both roots and leaves
8 oz comfrey leaf
4 oz comfrey root
16 oz carrier oil (I recommend olive)
Chop up the roots and leaves. Place into a 16-ounce jar, glass is preferred and pour olive oil. Close the lid and shake. Steep it for 28 days. After the 28 day period, strain the oil by using a clean strainer and pour mix into a bowl. Squeeze leaves. Store your comprey oil in a dark-colored glass bottle, out of sunlight and away from heat.
Warning: Comfrey is safe for most people in small amounts. The compounds are easily absorbed through skin. Please seek advice from a herbalist naturapath or doctor for serious health issues.