As I noted in my last post about planting tomatoes, I love to grow comfrey for various uses on our mini-farm. I use it mainly for mulch, compost green material and even at times feed it to the chickens. It is also highly valuable as a source for medicinal skin salve. It is easy to grow and expand. I highly recommend it for any homesteader using organic and permaculture methods.
I originally purchased a couple roots from a Missouri herb farm six years ago. From just these couple plantings, I now have several beds full of this wonderful herb. Once a plant gets established for at least two years, you can cut out a batch of roots from this plant and propagate many more new plants just by replanting the roots wherever you want them. It should be a permanent location as they will last a long time and it may be hard to eliminate.
I have the Russian bocking 14 cultivar that is a sterile hybrid that will not self-seed. It is a very robust, deep-rooted vigorous plant and is fun to watch grow in early spring after the long winter. It is a great source of nitrogen for your garden and extracts mineral nutrients from deep in the soil.
Because of the vigor of the Russian cultivar, I can cut it three to four times a season. I usually do three cuttings and leave the last growth to die off for the winter to provide its own nitrogen source for a strong start the next spring. Comfrey likes nitrogen which will help it grow more vigorously. I also put grass clippings around the plant throughout the summer as an additional nitrogen source and to keep the weeds down.
Bees really love the comfrey flower for nectar. If you want bees in your garden area, comfrey is a great plant to have around. One of my favorite after work relaxing times is to go in the garden and watch the host of bumble bees enjoying a feast on the comfrey flowers.
I like to use the scythe to cut comfrey. It makes fast work of the cutting job. Here’s a brief video of me cutting one of my comfrey patches for the first spring compost pile.
Do you have a comfrey patch? How do you use it? I’d love to hear your stories.