Comfrey is propagated by root-division, so all you need is to find someone else who grows comfrey and take a small amount of root and leaves, plant them and you will never be without some comfrey in your garden. Comfrey dies back in frost, and prefers moist cool conditions, so does not do well here in a hot dry summer. If you have ideal conditions for comfrey (not frost and not hot) you may have trouble with it spreading like mad, and it can grow rather large, with huge leaves. You can either plan for this by planting it somewhere appropriate, or you can confine it to a pot. Comfrey is so useful you might not find its possible to have too much comfrey!
|my comfrey plant in its pot and tray to keep the soil moist|
How to use Comfrey
- Comfrey has deep roots and accumulates minerals from the sub-soil, as well as being high in nitrogen. This makes it useful for compost, mulch and to make a liquid fertiliser brew for the garden. In a permaculture food forest or swale, comfrey can be used as a self-mulching plant to provide nutrients to other plants.
- My comfrey plants don't often flower, but the when they do, they provide food for bees and other beneficial insects.
- Comfrey is high in protein, in fact higher than most grains and legumes, and combined with the nutrient content, makes an excellent animal fodder. I have had to fence mine, because Bella and the chickens were helping themselves. If I could get it to grow over a larger area, it would be great for the chickens as an alternative to grain. Bella didn't like it at first, so I had to shred it and hide it in her grain ration, but now she will eat it by the armload if I have any spare.
- Comfrey is also known as Knitbone, Woundwort, Healherb and All Heal. It has a reputation for soothing skin, and healing bones, tissue and skin. It can be applied as a salve, in a tea or a poultice.
- Some people also eat comfrey, and really, if its ok for animals, then it should be ok for us too, but do see my cautions below (and note that it has a kind of prickly leaf, so best chopped small!)
|Comfrey in the garden a couple of years ago after it rained|