Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Making Comfrey Tea

One of the best natural liquid feeds you can give your plants is Comfrey tea. Just a simple matter of weighting some comfrey leaves down in a bucket and filling it with water.
After a few days the leaves will begin to break down and eventually after a few weeks they will provide you with a rich and concentrated liquid feed. Every couple of days or so you can see this process happening if you 'kick the bucket' and you will see (and smell) the methane gases escaping through the water. Please beware that this substance is smelly, and I mean really smelly. Just imagine cow manure and drains... yes! that smelly! This liquid must then be diluted down about a cupful to a watering can. This can be sprayed or sprinkled as a foliar feed on to leaves or direct on to the soil. If you cannot find comfrey leaves then stinging nettles make a good substitute. Cheers!

20 Comments:

At 11:49 PM, Blogger Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I have a huge comfrey and never knew what to do with it. Thanks for the info.

Deb

 
At 12:42 AM, Blogger Mrs Be said...

I've just discovered your blog - so much to read and so many useful tips!

I didn't realise nettles could be used instead of comfrey. I'm going to give that a go.

 
At 4:17 AM, Blogger Margo said...

Thanks for the warning about the smell; my gardening book blithely advises all the benefits of comfrey tea and so forth without mentioning once the degree of smell. :/ At least now I know before I pull a stunt like that. Thanks!

 
At 6:16 AM, Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

Nettles, huh... I have some of those. Sounds like I have an experiment coming on. And a good reason to keep letting the nettles grow. Thanks for the idea! Paula

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger LOUISE @ HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS said...

I do not have fond memories of comfrey, although I do know it is so good for the garden. A few years back I helped my great aunt clear her allotment after her husband died, and I removed a butt which she had stored pure comfrey liquid in, well the smell made me heave, and for days after I could smell it in the van, and up my nostrils! x

 
At 1:38 PM, Blogger Paul and Melanie said...

Have to be honest the reports I've heard about the smell have put me off trying this... But I know I should... I just need to do it when I have a blocked nose! ;)

 
At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Simon kirby said...

But what you have in your bucket isn't comfrey. I think it's Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), another of the forget-me-nots.

Simon

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous the homely year said...

Thaqnks for the 'recipe'! I've lots of comfrey so I'll definitely try it this year.
Margaret and Noreen

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Rob said...

Can't recommend these 'teas' highly enough.
Another one to try is to stuff a load of the most pernicious perennial weeds and their roots and rhizomes into a bucket and submerge content with water. Hey presto! Well several months) perennial baddies become a highly nutritious general purpose concentrate for perking up tired plants.

 
At 5:20 PM, Anonymous Lucy @ Smallest Smallholding said...

Definitely going to try this one at the Smallest Smallholding and down on the allotment. I can cope with smells - once you've coped with accrid poo from a poorly hen I think you're pretty much able to cope with any smell!!!

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Mandynich said...

Just found your blog (wonderful). I was scanning up and down previous months when I noticed you mentioned a train journey from Hillingdon, it was only then that I looked at where you are based!! I too live in Hillingdon (Uxbridge girl born and bred!). Was just wondering if you are on the A40 allotments?

 
At 9:24 PM, Blogger Evington Hilltop Adventures said...

It really does stink, but its great for feeding those hungry plants.

 
At 10:48 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Mandynich - er no - if you can keep a secret.. it is a very large back garden

 
At 11:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you grow comfrey just to make this tea? It seems to me that anything we let rot in a bucket of water will smell bad and make compost tea. What special qualities does comfrey bring to the bucket?

I put in "a little" comfrey on a property I used to own, and it overgrew the whole back of the lot and bullied other plantings. It was awful to dig out, and took years of chasing down new sprouts from little pieces of root left behind. And it made us itch! I think I will look for someone else who has comfrey in their yard, and offer to cut some down for them, and make my tea that way! :-)

I have to agree that the photo doesn't look like comfrey to me - it seems too early for it.

 
At 7:30 AM, Blogger Matron said...

I have been thinking over the past few days, and as a result of some of the comments above, that you could probably make tea from most leafy green growth. I don't know if there is anything special about comfrey which makes it particularly nutritious. I have used stinging nettles as well. You might be right about the leaves above, they were growing in my local hedgerow, so might not be comfrey. Matron only does vegetables so it is highly likely she doesn't know her flowers!!

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

Hi Matron,
Simon has ID'd this correctly – it's Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) a member of the Borage family and related to Forget-me-nots. I sure it's stewing up a noxious brew!

Look out for Comfrey - the leaves are very similar to Alkanet but the flowers are tubular (a bit like a tiny foxglove flowers), purple or white and they grow in clusters at the top of each leafy stalk which spiral round like a snail shell.

Celia

 
At 6:57 PM, Blogger Wild Mood Swings said...

I've just sourced some as well , near me on the Blackwater Valley Cycle Path , so I will have to get the Xtracycle out later to locate some.

 
At 9:34 PM, Blogger Hedgewitch said...

yes, there is something special about comfrey and nettles that makes them a good feed .. i think its something to do with the fact that they take up lots of certain nutrients from the soil while they are growing .. i will look this up and do a post on my blog soon!

I have experimented with making small quantities of comfrey fertiliser and am planning to do a half and half comfrey and nettle one this year.

It does stink! But its worth it :-)
great post, matron

 
At 8:23 AM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet said...

Ugh, I'd rather have a cup of normal tea, ta very much. ;-) I've read about this before but never tried it. Does the nettle tea smell as bad as the comfrey one? I have nettles but no comfrey in my garden.

 
At 7:17 PM, Blogger Heidi said...

Excellent! have started my bucket of nettle 'soup', just waiting for the stink. Grin.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

>