Comfrey Fertilizer Tea Is Full of Natural Potassium
This is my first year growing comfrey. It was hard to find at the local nursery but after hearing about all its great qualities, I decided I just had to have it in my gardening arsenal. With three times the amount of potassium that is found in regular manure tea, it’s hard to find a fertilizer that packs a bigger potassium punch. Comfrey is high in calcium, phosphorus and nitrogen, which are essential for vegetables and plants to grow and set fruit.
Are you growing comfrey in your garden? It’s the perfect plant to help in your efforts to fertilize your garden organically!
Growing Comfrey is Easy
From the post – Six Fantastic Resaons for Growing and Using Comfrey
Comfrey is a vigorous growing plant, often spreading 24-48” wide. If garden space is at a premium, consider placing your comfrey in large tubs to contain them.Once you have established a comfrey patch it will be bard to get rid of it. Even small bits of root can produce new plants. Your comfrey will grow in full or partial sun and is hardy from zones 4 – 9.
In cool climates the plant will die back in the winter, re-shooting again in the spring. In warmer climates it will rarely flower, because it needs a winter chill, but it also won’t die back so the leaves are available all year round.
Divide young plants in the spring as the leaves begin growing. The roots are hardy, no need to be gentle. Dig up and separate the roots with a shovel or sharp knife, divide into smaller pieces and re-pot or give away.
Comfrey is a fast grower and the leaves can be harvested at least 4 times a year, the first cutting is usually are ready by mid-spring. Cut the leaves back to about 2 inches above the soil or take individual leaves as they get hand size. You can count on another cutting every 6 weeks until early autumn when you should leave plants to leaf out and build up winter reserves.
Fine hairs on the leaves can irritate some people so wear gloves when you are harvesting. Dry leaves by spreading them in single layers and use any one of the dehydrating methods found in this post. When the leaves are dry, store them whole, lying flat in boxes or gently crumbled and stored in jars. Roots should be washed with cool water, cut into thin slices and dried. They can then be ground into powder or kept in small chunks until used.
To make Confrey Fertilizer Tea
Have patience! It’s going to take 20-30 days.
How much comfrey do you have for the process? I’m just beginning with comfrey in my yard and I’ve chosen to keep it contained. I have one bucket on the deck (growing nicely, thanks) that I’ve taken a few cuttings from.
My first batch is made with 10 big comfrey leaves in a 48 ounce plastic container with a lid. Place the leaves in your chosen container and weigh them down with a rock or stick. Add water to cover the leaves. You want them under the water for the entire time.
Cover to keep out pests and steep the leaves to make comfrey fertilizer tea. After a few weeks your mixture will form a dark, thick (smelly) liquid. This is the stinky but effective part of the process.
Once your batch is done it can then be diluted 12:1 – 15:1 prior to application on your garden plants.
Some people make big batches in five gallon buckets. They continually have a batch brewing and just keep adding water and leaves to the bucket. A nozzle at the bottom of the bucket lets you pour off tea, dilute it and have it readily available. The same process would work on a smaller scale with one of those one gallon sun tea dispensers.
Comfrey plants can be hard to find at your local nursery, because it can be invasive. Ask them to order it for you. While it may take you a few weeks to make a batch of comfrey fertilizer tea, the stinky outcome and the benefits to your garden, are well worth the wait.
Other fertilizer posts found on PreparednessMama: Manure Tea and Worm Casting Tea
How do you grow and use comfrey in your yard?
Shared with: Homestead Barn Hop – Natural Family Friday – Clever Chicks Hop – From the Farm Hop –
Erin @ The Impatient Gardener says
I’m growing comfrey for the first time this year (for the same reason) as well. I had to order roots online because every nursery I asked for it at looked at me like I was out of my mind for wanting it. I’ve not made any tea yet, but I think I’ll start brewing some this weekend. I saw a method that looked interesting where you cut the bottom off a 2-gallon bottle, put the leaves in, weigh them down and then let it drip through a hole drilled in the cap into another container. I may give that a try if I can find someone with a 2-liter bottle to use. I’m looking forward to seeing it’s benefits in the garden. Apparently it’s equally as good as a foliar spray as well.
That is exactly the response I received at my local nursery. They pretty much gave me a lecture about how invasive it was and I think they would have had me sign some kind of waiver if they thought they could get away with it! If that wasn’t bad enough, when I asked for horseradish they almost had fits. I have yet to find some.
Harriette Jensen says
You can start horseradish from a piece you buy from an organic grocery store. Otherwise, try Simply Medicinal. They have both comfrey and horseradish.
sara d says
You can also find comfrey from Strictly Medical Seeds. They have a great website. Theirs is the non-invasive comfrey, amount others. Thanks for the fertilizer tips.
Sue Mosier says
This is great information. When you put the leaves in the bucket to make the fertilizer, do you cut the leaf off the stem? Thank you.
Hi Sue, I just put the whole thing in there, stem and all. I just cut it into smaller pieces to fit my little bucket.
Great tips and tutorial….I am definitely going to be looking into this….thanks for sharing it!
They are not kidding about being invasive. U can not kill the stuff. Where ever you put it plan on it being there forever. I even have it growing in my compost pile. Quiet beautifully!! I have read of some health benefits to comfry as well. Great plant. The hummingbirds love the purple flowers. I can’t wait to try the tea.
Melissa French, The More With Less Mom says
Thank you for sharing. Hello from Natural Family Friday.
You can kill it out by chopping to the ground and covering with cardboard, and mulch. Eventually it will die. I simply pull a few leaves off and throw them at the bottom of plants that are doing poorly. over time nature breaks the leaves down, and gives the sick plant much needed attention. Comfrey can have a tap root that goes down as much as 15 feet! It “Mines” nutrients from down there, and brings them up to the surface.
Great article…Do you know how often comfrey tea fertilizer can be used??
This was really helpful information – thank you!! I followed your instructions and just used it on my garden today. You weren’t kidding about the smell – it is powerful! Hopefully my plants are soaking it all up and using it well.
Bonnie French says
If you are planning on growing comfrey, please grow it in a large container and cut off the flower buds. My grandmother planted one plant about 40 years ago, now the patch has grown into a half acre area on her property plus all the joining properties, the only way to control it is to mow it weekly but that will not kill it & it will still spread thru the roots. It does make good fertilizer but it will kill any plants in it’s bath including small trees….
Thank you for the warning, Bonnie!
Gale Harris says
The problem with growing comfrey in a container is that the reason it is such a good fertilizer plant is its taproot grows deep into the soil, pulling nutrients into its leaves. In a container, that isn’t going to happen, but if you have an area of yard to place your comfrey plant in, that can be a dedicated bed, it will be useful as fertilizer. Then you just mow around it to contain it. In the spring, pull out any new baby comfrey plants, dispose of (or pass on) the baby comfrey roots, and use the rest in your first batch of comfrey tea. I have a dedicated bed that has nurtured my garden for years, and kick-started my compost pile, too!
That’s a great idea, Gale! Thank you so much for sharing.
Have a wonderful day!
I like your sharing. Is comfrey fertilizer used as mulch?
Maggy Holt says
I mixed my comfrey tea and nettle tea together in a 5 gallon container at the end of last year growing season and put a couple of extra leaves in from both plants, but when I looked inside the container this week there was a thick film floating on the on top is it still safe to use
Gale Harris says
It will develop a film as microorganisms break the leaves down, but eventually that film will disappear, as will most of the leaves. It may take 3 weeks for it to completely break down, and it will be super-stinky, at which time you can put a cup in the bottom of your watering can, add water to the top, and fertilize away…