Daily Prep

Growing and Using Comfrey

6 fantastic reasons to plant it in your garden
Thursday, April 3, 2014, 1:56 PM

A great summary of why you should plant comfrey in your garden this season and learn to apply its many uses around the home.

http://preparednessmama.com/growing-and-using-comfrey/

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3 Comments

Phil Williams's picture
Phil Williams
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Oct 14 2009
Posts: 345
Comfrey is multifunctional

Jason,

Thanks for posting this. I love comfrey. I use it underneath my fruit trees as a nutrient accumulator and mulch and fertilizer plant for the trees. Also, my chickens love it, and it's easy to grow.

Phil

HughK's picture
HughK
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 6 2012
Posts: 761
Is comfrey really a dynamic accumulator?

I just ordered some Bocking 14 Comfrey for our school's 2-month old garden project.  In that search, I came across a nice article in which the author compares tests of soil in his property where comfrey is growing with tests where it's not present. While it's just a convenience sample with only a few data points, the soil where comfrey was present scored very high in terms of major nutrients:

After 5 years of comfrey, the topsoil in this sample shows a lower pH and higher percent organic matter than any of the previous samples, and the nutrient levels are practically off the charts – a 47 to 232% increase over the previously observed highs. I did not test for calcium or magnesium either before or after, but just on the basis of NPK the comfrey is completely vindicated.

The article is also nice in terms of encouraging permaculturalists to ground themselves a bit by collecting data that can shed light on some of the major practices and beliefs of this approach.

This Permies thread on dynamic accumulators is also nice.

Hugh

 

Quercus bicolor's picture
Quercus bicolor
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Mar 19 2008
Posts: 470
subjective experience on comfrey

Here's my subjective experience: 

  1. When I dig up comfrey, even young comfrey, it's fat roots go deep.  The roots are down there for a reason - to access nutrients other plants don't reach.
  2. Each fall, it dumps huge quantities of biomass on the ground out to a about a 2 to 2.5 foot radius in the form of leaves and stems.
  3. The chickens love to eat the leaves.
  4. My plum trees which have maybe about 25% cover of comfrey within their drip line, are thriving with little to no supplemental compost.

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