(coming soon!). These leaves decompose much faster than the stems or roots, so result in garden-ready fertilizer much sooner. Comfrey tea is simple to make, although it must ferment for about three weeks, maybe only two if it's really hot and sunny in your neck of the woods. This nutrient-rich food is applied as a liquid soil drench or as a foliar spray. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. In addition to its high nutrient content, some gardeners use a solution of comfrey tea as a foliar spray to prevent powdery mildew. Compost tea can be made with or without aeration, and with or without adding supplemental nutrient sources like molasses that feed microbes. Leaves can also help your compost heap kick into gear. To make a very strong tea, leave the bucket to steep for a long time. The darker the liquid, the more you should dilute it. In a pinch, any amount of time will give you something useful. How long can I keep comfrey liquid? 1. and made the same way as comfrey tea. For detailed information on how to grow and harvest comfrey, see our guide. Topical comfrey is for use only on the skin. Young stinging nettle leaves are cut in the spring (wearing a thick pair of gloves!) Supplies. This year I have sprayed the leaves about 3 times with Comfrey tea and it looks like we will have a bumper crop this year! Comfrey Fertilizer Made With Water. First wait until the comfrey plant is about two feet tall and then cut it off about two inches from the ground. Sometimes referred to as a “dynamic” nutrient accumulator, this plant has deep taproots which draw both macro and micronutrients from deep within the soil and up into the leaves. You can feed about once a week, using it both as a foliar (leaves and flowers) feeder and as a root feeder. Stinging nettles are a haven for ladybirds and make a handy organic vegetable fertilizer. Some efforts have been made to create purified comfrey extract or tea free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard This Summer in 15 Easy Ways, Growing Quinoa: A Complete Guide on How to Plant, Grow, & Harvest Quinoa. How to make a comfrey feed. Strain out the foliage and dilute by half prior to using. The hairy leaves can irritate the skin, so wear gloves if … Do not apply when you are expecting heavy rain, so the liquid has time to do its work before being washed away. Stay tuned for the first newsletter in the morning, straight to your inbox. It actually has more potassium than composted manure. To make a simple tea, pour 1/2 ounce of each into a jar and steep in 1 quart of lukewarm/cold water for 4-8 hours, then strain and drink. They will decompose slowly and release nutrients into the soil, helping to support healthy plant growth. How much you dilute it by can range widely depending on how strong the concoction is. If you wish to feed more often, dilute it more. Instead of using a watering can, I like to put the tea in a backpack sprayer and spray the solution on the soil as well as both the tops and bottoms of foliage, hitting annuals, shrubs, and fruit trees. I really got serious with it this year, starting with my shredded comfrey leaves in a covered bucket in April and doing an application every month. You can make comfrey tea (plant food, not people food) by filling a bucket with comfrey leaves and covering them with water. Snip the stems off from the leaves you’ve harvested – it’s the greens you want. Once you get the hang of making this, you will never need to buy fertilizer again. Make sure to always cover the bucket. COPYRIGHT © 2021 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Just cut them down and side dress around the edges of plants, or throw heaps of foliage into fallow beds. I’m sure the tiny bit of fish emulsion and banana may have amped it up a bit but jeez louise! Additionally, it contains high levels of many important micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium that are also critical for healthy plant growth. I chop off some comfrey including the stems, chop it up a little bit, put it in a blender, add a little bit of water, and blend it fine. See our TOS for more details. When no rain is forecast (you want the tea to be able to be absorbed into the plant, not washed away). Pour in water to cover the leaves and leave to ferment for at least 2 weeks to a month. These nutrients accumulate in the leaves where they are stored. Thanks for posting this. I make a quick comfrey tea. Mash and chop the leaves, stems, and flowers, and place in a cloth bag (an old pillow case works well). Disclosure. Comfrey is likley unsafe to take by mouth. Or, you can make your own! How to Make Comfrey Tea. Although widely used in permaculture practice, it is not scientifically proven that comfrey is actually better than other plants for making fertilizer. To use on established plants, dilute 1 part comfrey fertilizer in 15 parts water. (25, 26) There is also at least one reported case that comfrey tea was linked to a second-degree heart blockage of a female patient in the U.K. (27) 9 of the Best Footwear Choices for the Garden, Add a Water Feature to Your Garden: 23 of Our Favorite Outdoor Fountains, Your Guide to Fall and Spring Perennial Cutbacks and Pruning, 13 of the Best Evergreen Shrubs for Your Garden, Laugh Your Way Through Chicken Husbandry with “The Chicken Chick’s Guide to Backyard Chickens”, How to Survive Jack Frost: Prepping Your Trees for Winter. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Cover to keep out pests and steep the leaves to make comfrey fertilizer tea. Use the leaves as mulch. The longer, the better because you want to extract all... Quick Comfrey Tea. large bucket (2-gallon or larger) a heavy stone. Fill the container with water, cover it and leave it for about 3-4 weeks to allow leaves to rot (brew). Place your plant matter – the leaves, stems, etc – into a container and cover it with water. Do not ingest this tea, rather, it is a liquid plant feed. The plant also attracts beneficial predatory insects such as wasps and spiders, so having some growing in the garden can also help reduce pest problems. My plants do love it! Comfrey has the three major nutrients plus high levels of calcium, which can be very beneficial if harvested and made into comfrey tea for plants. They are lower in potassium than comfrey but much easier to come by and contain an average N2:P0:K5 but with high trace elements. Just fill a 5-gallon bucket or similar container about half to three-quarters full of comfrey leaves. We shall see how my garden likes it over the next few days. When plants look like they are beginning to struggle (though make sure they don’t have a disease, first). She holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from Tufts University, and has traveled and worked in many roles in conservation and environmental advocacy, including creating and managing programs based around resource conservation, organic gardening, food security, and building leadership skills. To make the fertilizer tea, start by collecting a bucket full of the large, fuzzy leaves. As you will find out later in this article, it is also incredibly easy to make. You can chop or shred the leaves to speed up the process. Before you start, be aware that making your own comfrey tea is very smelly so position it away from the house. A clean cloth is then soaked in the tea and applied (once cooled to prevent burns) to the injured area. 2. Comfrey tea is an herbal tea with a long history of use. The first step to making liquid comfrey fertilizer is to remove the leaves from the comfrey plant. Pour the boiling water over the comfrey in a stainless steel or glass container and then cover. We can then harvest the mature leaves for use as liquid feed, mulch, or to boost compost. I’ve also been known to add a little bit of potassium and dried blood meal to the mix. Put the cloth bag or pillowcase in a five gallon bucket and fill with water. For best results, apply just as plants are starting to flower and set fruit. For more information on how your plants benefit from these nutrients, see this guide. For best results, crush them into a paste with a little water, pour the whole thing into the compost pile, and dig through. Comfrey The Miracle Herb: I love Comfrey. Once the concentration is diluted, you are ready to feed your garden! Just pour boiling water over comfrey leaves and let the concoction sit for up to 24 hours. So be prepared to hold your nose. Throw this leafy goo into your compost pile, or use it to side dress other crops such as potatoes and tomatoes. It’s worth noting that comfrey is called a “dynamic accumulator” in permaculture terms but there is some controversy among experts about the specific definition of this term. Heather Buckner hails from amongst the glistening lakes of Minnesota, and now lives with her family on a beautiful homestead in the Vermont Mountains. Leaves can also help your compost heap kick into gear. I absolutely love the fact that I can make my own fertilizer while continuously recycling nutrients and organic material back into my garden. For bone or other connective tissue injuries, consuming foods that provide nutrients for healing can go a long way. Leave the mixture for between 4-6 weeks. comfrey leaves. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. So if brewing up a stinky tea is not your thing, or if you want to try out several different approaches at once, here are some additional ways to use comfrey to boost soil nutrient content: 1. This will keep away pesky insects, prevent dilution from rainwater, and most importantly, keep your whole garden from stinking! The composted leaves yield a rich deep greenish-brown liquid. Originally published on January 25, 2020. It helps all manner of conditions such as broken bones, irritable bowel syndrome, is a marvellous herb for skin and hair, and acts as a digestive tonic in mild doses. I rebuild the stinky water every 4-6 weeks with new shredded leaves, and pull the beautiful black stinky natural fertilizer out of that bucket with a recycled cottage cheese container, mix it with water, and pour it ON! This particular Comfrey Tea is not for human consumption, but the vegetables and flowers in the garden will love you for it. How To Make Comfrey Tea . Here’s how to make comfrey tea. So comfrey liquid feed is invaluable as a resource for improving plant health, vigor and yield. Every day I stir the bucket, and after three days it’s ready to use. I don’t spray it on my plants, I water them with it. water . Next, place them in a bin or a bucket, pushing them down firmly. Comfrey leaves decomposed in water make a liquid feed comparable in nutrition to commercial feeds. Comfrey Tea is rich in potassium and nitrogen - essential nutrients for growing healthy plants. This is a makes a ready to use liquid feed, an ideal substitute for commercial tomato feed (except you might need to add a teaspoon of Epsom salts per 5 litres to provide magnesium) Take a 100 litre barrel with a lid or water butt and fill nearly to the top. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. Just sniff around for that telltale stinky aroma, which is a good sign that the leaves are breaking down and the nutrients are being released. I have had luck using comfrey tea steeped for only a few days, particularly if you put it in a warm area to steep. For now, feel free to continue reading. For this reason, it is smart to be cautious when drinking comfrey tea or using other comfrey products. Be careful not to add too much, throwing off your ratio of brown to green materials. You can also try a quick-steep method, which is similar to how you might make tea for drinking. I waited 3 weeks before using it. Crush or Chop the Leaves To speed up the decomposition yet further many gardeners opt to chop up the comfrey leaves, or to crush them. Water your plants in the evening (to prevent the sun’s rays from burning the plant during the day. I have seen recommendations for dilution ranging anywhere from 1:2 to 1:15 parts tea to water. Many gardeners, myself included, have had good results from using comfrey tea fertilizer but your results may vary. Comfrey is truly one of my all-time favorite plants. Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. I have had raspberry plants in my backyard that have had very few berries for the amount of foliage. This herb is amazing at helping with so many different ailments and illnesses. But you can also dilute it to spread the nutrients around. Fill the bucket with water and cover for three weeks. It is not for the weak of stomach. Press the leaves down by putting a small stone on top of the leaves. With a compress, you make a strong “tea” by steeping the leaves (fresh or dried) in boiled water. Let it sit out for a month or more until it smells like death warmed over. Share your stories in the comments below! 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Using Your Comfrey Compost Tea. Harvest comfrey leaves from the base of established plants. Fill a large bucket (or any big container) with freshly picked leaves. Comfrey contains chemicals that can cause liver damage, lung problems, or cancer. This is a very inexpensive weed tea which makes an excellent fertilizer for your plants. Do not use comfrey tea fertilizer on seedlings or very young plants. After a few weeks your mixture will form a dark, thick (smelly) liquid. Fertilizing gardens can be costly, especially if you are an organic grower. Application on the leaves of plants can help to prevent the spores from germinating. For more organic gardening tips, try one of these guides next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. This is the stinky but effective part of the process. A word of warning, however: it smells horrendous! To use the liquid, dilute it about 10:1 (or 15:1) with water. Or you can try continuous batch brewing, using a bucket with a nozzle at the bottom. Comfrey Compress Another simple method is to apply a compress. Harvest the outer leaves first so the plant can continue growing. Once leaves have broken down into a slurry paste, you will know that the tea is ready. Use the leaves as mulch. Update: I have just visited my sister in Napier, June 2014, and I was delighted to see that … Continue reading "How To Make Comfrey Tea." Pack foliage in the inner bucket, weigh it down, and cover. The leaves should be about a... Let the Mixture Mature. I will definitely be doing… Read more ». 2. When the leaves are at least 2 feet tall, use a garden knife or shears to cut them down to a couple of inches above the soil. However, comfrey leaf and comfrey root products have raised concerns with health agencies because comfrey contains chemicals called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) that may be harmful. Finding truly sustainable, healthy, and cost-effective solutions can sometimes be frustrating. Harvest comfrey leaves from established plants. Either dig them ... 2. Once your batch is done it can then be diluted 12:1 – … I also added a couple of banana peels and just a tablespoon of fish emulsion in the water. Garden Organic have a drainpipe system that keeps the smell down. Other Ways to Fertilize with Comfrey. Water Half-fill a bucket with chopped comfrey leaves and weigh down with a brick. Just before the plants begin to fruit or flower. You can put a couple of large rocks or bricks on top to weigh them down, and then fill the bucket with water. Place chopped comfrey leaves at the bottom of a bucket. Check regularly, but it should take about six weeks for all the leaves to break down into a thick, black liquid. Let me just say, the horrendous smell is no joke! What is Foliar Feeding, and How Does it Work? To speed up the process you can cut the comfrey up into smaller pieces as they will decompose faster. Next time your crops, fruits, and flowers are looking a little sad, try giving them a spritz of comfrey tea and see the results for yourself. Before use, you need to dilute the tea with water, as it can be very strong, and end up burning the plants. The final product will be a greenish brown liquid and some very nasty, mushy leaves. Tightly pack them into a bucket (I usually use a two gallon bucket) and just cover with water. Here is more about what we do. Every time you want to use some, just lift the nozzle to pour out the desired amount, and then top off the whole thing with more water and leaves to keep it marinating. • Use a bucket or other container to make comfrey tea. Comfrey is most commonly taken as a tea, a tincture or a poultice. You can buy compost tea in stores in powder form (though be sure to test it out first). Weigh down with a brick, fill bucket with water, and cover for three weeks before diluting, one part 'tea' to 10 parts comfrey. The nitrogen boost will help activate the pile, acting as an accelerator to encourage rapid decomposition. How to Make Comfrey Tea Make the Mixture. Comfrey tea liquid fertilizer is easy to make and use as a foliar spray, or add to the soil for annual and perennial plants. Squish and squeeze as many leaves into as you can into the container. Collect the drippings in the bucket below and dilute to about 1:15 parts tea to water. Once you are ready to use the liquid feed, scoop or strain out the decomposing leafy gunk from the bottom of the bucket. Both of these have resulted in even worse side effects than before. Some give the full-strength brew to their plants. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. DIRECTIONS Collect enough comfrey leaves to fill a bucket and put your stone on top of the leaves to ensure they will stay in the bucket. One of the best things about this herb is how quickly it grows. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. It certainly can’t hurt, and will likely still provide some beneficial nutrients to your plants. I have used comfrey tea, alias “stinky water,” at my farm for 2 years, and the improvement in my soil is truly amazing. Complete description of how to make comfrey tea. I suggest you wear gloves when you harvest them, as the hairs can be a bit irritating to your skin. But what if I told you there is a way to make your own completely natural fertilizer at home using comfrey plants from your own garden? Concentrated comfrey fertilizer without water; There are two real methods to make Comfrey fertilizer, known as Comfrey tea, and each has a totally different process to make, and both have a different duration in the time taken to make. When insects are being attracted to the plant. Another technique is to drill holes in the bottom of a bucket and place a second bucket underneath it. After flowering chop your comfrey leaves and place into a bucket. If you use it to feed younger crops, dilute the concentration significantly. Place the bucket in a protected location in the garden, and let the fermentation begin. Comfrey is a rich source of all three of these macronutrients. How to Make Compost Tea. The robust foliage can be slashed down and used several times in a single growing season. She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible! Recommendations are from anywhere in a 3- to 6-week range. Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of comfrey at the same time without medical advice. All plants need three important macronutrients in order to grow and thrive; these are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, often labeled as NPK on fertilizer mixes. 3. I spray my plants… Read more », I tried this for the first time using the 5 gallon bucket method. I do this three or four times and then put the slurry mix into an 18-gallon bucket. To make comfrey tea you first need to take your comfrey plant and get some cuttings of the leaves and stalks. Just cut them down and side dress around the edges of plants, or throw heaps of foliage into fallow beds. Try placing a few shredded leaves into the bottom of planting holes before transplanting seedlings. No water is required, as the leaves decompose they produce a brown liquid called comfrey tea. I usually use a simple 5-gallon bucket. I still have some from last year – will it be ok to use? Add 1 teaspoon of dried comfrey leaves to a teapot or infuser. Have you used comfrey as fertilizer for your garden? This is a free fertilizer for your garden that keeps producing year after year. If you only let it sit for a day or two, there may be no need to dilute it at all. This hardy perennial grows quickly and easily, has beautiful flowers, and best of all, it can provide a completely free nutrient-rich source of fertilizer which can be used all season long. Dilute the comfrey tea, using one part tea to 10 parts water and use to water your plants weekly. Last updated: September 29, 2020 at 7:10 am. Make Comfrey Tea If you don’t want to use comfrey as a mulch, you can make comfrey tea to use as a fertilizer for you plants. I was feeling experimental I guess. When steeped as a tea, comfrey can be gargled to help relieve a sore throat, help stop bleeding gums and helps with laryngitis. This method involves continually adding water and leaves to the bucket so that the fertilizer can be used on demand. Step 1. Fill the container about half to three-quarters … And even fertilizers labeled organic may contain some undesirable chemicals. You can weight them down with a rock or brick. If you have steeped it for a full 6 weeks and you have a full 5-gallon bucket of liquid, I would recommend a 1:10 ratio, but if you only steeped for a few weeks, 1:4 would likely be fine. Shredded leaves into as you will know that the tea is an herbal tea a. 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And cover thick pair of gloves! growing season try continuous batch brewing, using one part tea to parts. Article, it is not scientifically proven that comfrey is actually better than other for... Buy fertilizer again you can also try a quick-steep method, which is similar to you! Is smart to be cautious when drinking comfrey tea is rich in potassium dried., which is similar to how you might make tea for drinking feed microbes t it... Something useful seen recommendations for dilution ranging anywhere from 1:2 to 1:15 tea... Effective part of the leaves to rot ( brew ) writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison.! Feed, mulch, or to boost compost, lung problems, or throw heaps of foliage,,... Or larger ) a heavy stone below and dilute by half prior to.. To help the reader find relevant products as calcium and magnesium that are also packaged in plastic made! Pour boiling water over the comfrey plant is about two feet tall and then cut it off about feet... 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