Plant spring, summer
or fall. Comfrey can be planted any time the soil is not frozen.|
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GENERAL COMFREY PLANT INFORMATION
"Your site is very educational and helped me gain an appreciation for comfrey." -Tony, http://ToDoListHome.com
The Legendary Herb of LifeHigh in protein: 22-33%. High in vitamin A, C and B-12. Rich in silicon, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, iodine and more. Very high food value for animals. Used as a folk remedy for centuries. Known as boneset and knitbone.
Comfrey can be used as compost material for organic gardens. It is very deep rooted so it mines many nutrients from the soil. The fast growing leaves contain these nutrients. When you cut the leaves, they quickly break down to a thick, black, fertile liquid great for your garden.
Rudolf Steiner, father of Biodynamic Agriculture, lists these 7 plants as being very important on a farm: comfrey, stinging nettle, yarrow, chamomile, horsetail, dandelion and valerian. Others have added burdock to the list.
Comfrey is used in Permaculture as a way to have ecological, sustainable farming systems that benefit the land and people.
Comfrey (Comphrey, Compfrey, Cumfrey): A Hardy PerennialComfrey (Boraginaceae family; Symphytum genus) has large, hairy leaves up to 10 inches long. It grows 3 feet or taller. The flowers are small, bell-shaped either white, blue, purple or pink. They start blooming in April or early May and continue to bloom for most of the summer.
Russian comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) is sterile so it will not reproduce through seeds. True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) does reproduce by seeds.
Comfrey is a high yield perennial that is very prolific in all climates. It does well in clay, light sands, and loams. It can be planted at any time of the year that the ground is not frozen.
Comfrey's showy fountain of dark green tender leaves make a beautiful addition to your landscape. Bees and other beneficial insects love comfrey flowers.
Your Russian comfrey plants will get even taller than those shown with the cat.
Comfrey Cultivation and CareComfrey grows well in USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9. Comfrey does well in full sun or partial shade. It prefers partial shade and damp soils. It likes fast draining soil.
Plant root cuttings several inches deep with the root sitting horizontally.
Plant Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x uplandicum) about 2-3 feet apart in each direction. Plant True Comfrey (Symphytum officinale) and our "Wild" Comfrey about 1-2 feet apart.
It is best to dig in manure between the rows in the fall or spring. Raw manure will not burn it. Comfrey loves nitrogen. You will get a lot more yield.
You can remove flower buds when they appear since they take a lot of the plant's energy to produce. However, bees and other beneficial insects love the flowers.
If you receive comfrey roots and your ground is frozen, fill some gallon or larger pots with potting soil. Plant 1 or several in the pot. Keep in window inside, or put in greenhouse/coldframe outside. Keep well watered. If you can't plant right away, you can keep them in the refrigerator (not freezer) for a few days.
Comfrey is easy to grow and has few diseases or pests. Harvest leaves from the plant throughout spring, summer and fall. Do not harvest late fall so the plants can store up energy for the winter. You should get at least 3 cuttings a year, sometimes even 6.
The photo with the goat shows how it was planted in a pasture. These are young plants. A small area was cleared of weeds and one comfrey root was buried. While it was developing, the area was kept weeded. Once the plant is established, you don't have to weed around it any more.
Comfrey BooksThe book "Comfrey: Fodder, Food and Remedy" by Lawrence D. Hills is highly recommended. It was published 1976. Mr. Hills is the world's leading expert on comfrey. He discusses how to properly cultivate comfrey so you enjoy its benefits. The protein yield per acre from comfrey is almost 20 times that of soybeans. Dairy animals produce high quality milk. It is high in potassium, Vitamin A and Vitamin B-12.
The book "Comfrey: Past, Present and Future" by Lawrence D. Hills is the exact same book as the above book. The only difference is that the second book is a poor reproduction (photocopy) of the first book. The photos are not as good quality. It was published 2009.
Another book by Lawrence Hills is the "Comfrey Report: The Story of the World's Fastest Protein Builder and Herbal Healer" (Conservation gardening and farming series: Series C, Reprints). It was printed in 1975. It contains "current methods of scientific culture and recent developments in processing for high protein".
"Russian Comfrey: A Hundred Tons an Acre of Stock or Compost for Farm, Garden or Smallholding" by Lawrence Hills is an excellent book. It was printed in London in 1953. It covers the history and use of comfrey in Great Britain. It is full of information about how to grow and harvest comfrey. And then feeding it to livestock or making compost. One farmer planted 1/4 acre that provided enough food for 3 cows and 2 horses.
Unfortunately, none of the above books are still in print.
Nantahala Farm in the Mountains of Western NC
Macon County (close to Cherokee, Graham and Swain Counties)
Topton, North Carolina 28781
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