Once used as a medicinal herb, Comfrey has a new calling in your garden! Long-loved for its ability to help heal sprained or broken bones, sores and other ailments, Comfrey is one of the hottest green composting trends this season. Long, deep-reaching roots absorb nutrients that are found far below the depth that many other plants’ roots stretch to, and are then stored in the plants many, broad leaves. Yielding lots of large, nutrient-rich leaves from just a few plants, these energetic growers thrive in wet, shady areas and aren’t too picky about the type of soil they’re given. When firmly established, Comfrey leaves can be gathered repeatedly throughout the season, much like Basil. The leaves break down quickly when harvested and can be added directly to your compost pile, to a sealed container and left to decompose to make a liquid fertilizer, or just scattered about your garden. Especially beneficial to tomatoes and fruiting plants, Comfrey can also improve the health of your houseplants when made into a compost tea. Comfrey is very high in Potassium and contains two to three times more than livestock manure which is commonly used as fertilizer. Go green and try adding Comfrey rather than manure to your garden, which will also reduce the risk of polluted runoff.
Comfrey Compost Tea
- Fresh Comfrey Leaves (as many as you want, or have room for!)
- 1 5-Gallon Bucket with a Sealable Lid
- A Brick, Rock or Broad, Heavy Object
1) Fill your bucket with as many fresh Comfrey leaves as you would like
2) Lay your brick or heavy object on top of the leaves to weigh them down. Compressing them will speed up the decomposition process and give you more “tea” in a very quick manner
3) Seal the bucket tightly. If there is a spout on the bottom or side of the bucket, make sure it is sealed as well. (This can make pouring your compost tea a bit easier later on…think of it as the gardener’s version of a teapot)
4) Some recipes call for water to be added to the leaves as well. You can add water if you would like, but this will dilute your tea, making it weaker, and it will also begin to smell really badly once the leaves break down. They can decompose on their own with less smell.
5) Keep the bucket sealed for about six weeks or so to allow the leaves to fully break down.
6) Drain off the dark brown liquid that has accumulated in the bottom of the bucket and you can add the rest of the leaves directly to your garden or compost pile to help activate the soil and encourage the health of your garden or houseplants.
You can continue to “brew” your “tea” all season long to keep your plants healthy and happy!