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it is a member of the borage family, a strong-growing perennial with 12 to 18 inches long hairy leaves on short stems growing from a central crown. It has a pretty blue bell flower that fades to pink. The plant can reach a height of over two feet with a spread up to 3 feet across. it has medicinal uses, but my main interest is in its use as a plant food.
Plants that are fed with a slow release natural food, grow normally are healthy and more able to resist most attacks by pest or disease.
Adding plenty of organic matter to the soil and the occasional feed of Comfrey tea provides all the food garden planted fruit, vegetables and flowers need. Feeding to much fast-release fertiliser is a bit like feeding kids a diet of fast food and sugar, providing a short burst of energy but leaving them unhealthy in the longer term.
Plants grown in containers, hanging baskets or poor garden soil will need feeding to get the best from them in both quality and quantity.
What are the nutrients plants need and Comfrey provides.
Nitrogen encourages green growth, Potassium encourages healthy flowers, vegetables and fruits and Phosphorous is essential for healthy roots.
Whilst It is rare for garden soil to be noticeably deficient in any of these, very sandy, very acidic soils, or land that has been used for intensively grown crops can be deficient, and will benefit from regular mulching with home-made compost from your heap and a feed of Comfrey liquid. Garden vegetables grown close together because of a lack of space will also benefit from a dose of potassium.
Signs of potassium deficiency to look out for are a bluish tinge to older leaves, yellowing between the veins of leaves and if left to late, stunting of growth and a failure to produce many fruits or flowers, but if spotted early and fed with a potassium-rich feed the plants will recover. Some plants like tomatoes and potatoes are very sensitive to low potassium levels. The tomato fruits, can remain green and hard and sometimes hollow. Potatoes, may turn black when cooked.
Calcium. Plants need calcium for the growth of its young roots and shoots. Without calcium, plants can't grow. However calcium deficiency in the soil is very rare. Not watering evenly (too dry, then too wet) is the main cause of calcium deficiency.
Why buy artificial potassium-rich feeds when it is so easy to make your own using comfrey leaves, I have explained how to make comfrey liquid feed below, or If you prefer buy it from a neighbour gardener or supplier who makes there own.
Comfrey is very effective at taking up nutrients and goodness from the soil and storing it in it's leaves. So no reason to over-feed your garden plants with artificial off-the-shelf fast-release fertilisers. Tap into natures store.
Cut the stem at ground level and strip the leaves, fill a bucket with comfrey leaves held down with a brick or large stone and then top
it up with water. The rotting leaves in the bucket soon rot down into a sludge.
After three weeks strain it through a garden sieve into a waterproof container with a secure lid. Before using the comfrey liquid fertiliser, dilute it with water to a ratio of 1:10 and apply either to the leaves or roots.
Where can I buy Comfrey fertiliser.
If you don't have the time to make your own, I recommend this I litre pack of pellets, simply add water to make up to 75 litres. Store pellets in a dry place and the pack will last a long long time.