I’ve had an herb garden for years, and have planted a number of different herbs. Some have worked, others have not, and some I just didn’t like. Last year, I bought a pot of Bocking 14 Comfrey from a friend who grows herbs for market.
Comfrey has been on my list of “must have herbs” for several years. I’ve made a number of herbal salves and bath products from the herbs in my garden. I’ve used calendula, lavender, and St. John’s Wort. I’ve had to purchase dried comfrey for my salves because I couldn’t find the plant locally. Last fall when I stopped to pick up my herb plants from a friend who grows for market, I saw several pots of comfrey and purchased one. She sells the Bocking 14 cultivar of Russian comfrey (symphytum x uplandicum). It is a sterile hybrid that will not self seed, so must be grown from root.
They grow many medicinal herbs for the home garden.
To plant comfrey, plant root down with the leaves up. Water frequently the first few days of planting as often as needed to keep from drying out. Comfrey can be left in the pot for a short time, but needs to be planted in the garden in a sandy soil mix and compost as soon as possible. Strictly Medicinal Herbs ships comfrey year round. It can be planted anytime the ground can be worked.
I chose comfrey because of it’s healing properties. The roots and leaves contain the cell-proliferant allantoin, which helps speed healing. You can make a great all purpose salve for cuts and scrapes. I infuse the leaves in olive oil for several weeks. If I have fresh leaves, I allow them to wilt and dry out somewhat to prevent the moisture from causing mold. This simple salve can be made from 6 parts oil (strained) and 1 parts beeswax. 6 ounces of oil to 1 ounce of beeswax. For a softer salve you could use 8 ounces of oil to 1 ounces beeswax. You could also add infused calendula flowers for their skin healing properties.
Comfrey uses aren’t limited to it’s medicinal qualities, but it can also be used in the garden to help you grow healthy plants. Add it to the compost bin to speed up decomposition.
Spread the leaves under plants as a mulch to slow down evaporation of moisture and to keep the weeds down. It will break down, adding nitrogen to the plant. When you spread it around your lettuce, the snails and slugs will be drawn to it, and stay away from your plants. I had trouble with slugs eating holes in my strawberries last year so I am going to try this.
You can also make a liquid fertilizer by packing a container with the leaves, and then filling it with water to completely cover the leaves. After about two weeks you will have a green slimy foul smelling sludge. Perfect. Now strain through a fine mesh, keeping the liquid and pitching the plant back on the compost pile. Dilute the liquid to a 1:10 ratio. I part comfrey, 10 parts water. You can either water at the plant root or as a leaf feed.
Have chickens or ducks? Comfrey makes a great supplement to your feed, and provides them with a great source of protein.
I can see now that one plant is not going to be enough for everything I want to do with comfrey. Look’s like I need to get busy ordering more comfrey roots.
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