This information is provided from http://www.piginthemud.com. Tim Packer one of the Innermost Member has recently published them on line, they have a Creative Commons copy right and are easy to down load. There is a heap of practical advice in them. This is information specifically on Comfrey, a plant every community garden has a bundle of, if for no other reason than once you’ve planted them they just keep coming ba
Comfrey has a series of taproots that extend deep down into the soil comfrey is able to extract and accumulate large quantities of potassium (around 7%) and to a lesser extent phosphorous (around 1%), calcium (around 3%), magnesium and other trace elements.
The comfrey leaves act as storage bins for the cache of extracted minerals. The resulting proportions of minerals stored make for a well-balanced, readily available form of fertiliser that’s ideal for many of our most popular crops such as potatoes,onions, tomatoes and citrus fruit.
The comfrey leaves themselves have so little fiber and so much protein, resulting in a carbon to nitrogen ratio of 14:1, that they will break down rapidly when harvested.
For this reason comfrey has been referred to as `Instant Compost’
I like this term because it gets you thinking of comfrey as an instant compost source and the ways in which you can use that compost.
Comfrey leaves are commonly applied as a layer in the build process of compost piles, as an `activator’, employed to fuel the composting process.
Kay Baxter’s book, The Koanga Gardening Guide has a liquid fertiliser recipe based on comfrey. In a barrel pack it with comfrey leaves and then fill it up with water. Stir it daily and once the green leaves have disintegrated remove the fibrous stalks with a garden fork. The resulting liquid fertiliser is perfect for tomatoes and indeed many of your other gross feeders undiluted.
My own liquid fertiliser set up is fairly rudimentary but it works. I like to keep two on the go; one prepared a week before the other. This means during spring and summer I always have access to liquid fertiliser. Using Kay’s recipe I prepare mine in large plastic rubbish bins chalking the date prepared on each so I have an idea of when I can use them.
Stir it daily and after about a week you’ll notice a putrid smell coming from the liquid. This is a sign that the proteins from the comfrey leaves are beginning to break down. Continue stirring daily and after approximately 10 days, once the leaves have disintegrated, I extract my liquid fertliser from the rubbish bin with a nine-litre bucket and pour it wholesale over my garden beds. The remaining fibre, left at the bottom of the rubbish bin, is cycled through the compost heap.
Sometimes I find it just as convenient to work raw comfrey leaves in where I need it. I hand cut my comfrey with a machete and then run over the leaves with a lawn mower so I end up with an easily applied mulch amendment. If you do this be careful to cut well above the base of the leaf otherwise you may inadvertently end up transplanting sections of the crown root and you’ll end up with comfrey popping up all over the place.
Common comfrey (Symphytum officinale) comes to us from the hedgerows of Europe and has a long and rich history more so as a medicinal herb than for its application in agriculture.
Perdanius Dioscorides, a Greek physician who practiced in ancient Rome during thetime of Nero, made the first documented record of a medicinal herb known as`Knitbone’ over 2000 years ago in Materia Medica, the precursor to all modern pharmacopeias, used as part of a poultice to close up wounds and as a tea in treating `bloodspitters’ and `hernias’
Over the years comfrey has been spoken of as an `old women’s remedy’ attributedwith a slew of astonishing cures of various maladies of the digestive system and in accelerating healing for wounds and broken bones, hence the name Knitbone.
I believe its healing qualities are largely attributed to a substance found in the roots and terminal buds of comfrey called Allantoin. Allantoin, first discovered in the allantois (part of a developing mammal embryo) and also excreted by maggots asthey debride wounds, is a cell proliferant.
We have comfrey planted at both gardens and use it to make liquid fertiliser using the recipe and we layer it in the compost over Summer. Its a great plant to have around, you just really do need to be sure its got a reasonable amount of space and that it can grow there for a while as it will keep coming back every if you try to dig it out.
There are 6 other journals and a whole lot of information accessible on Tim site. If you have a moment check it out: http://www.piginthemud.com/