When insects are being attracted to the plant. Originally published on January 25, 2020. Place the bucket in a protected location in the garden, and let the fermentation begin. You can buy compost tea in stores in powder form (though be sure to test it out first). How long can I keep comfrey liquid? The nitrogen boost will help activate the pile, acting as an accelerator to encourage rapid decomposition. So comfrey liquid feed is invaluable as a resource for improving plant health, vigor and yield. Here’s how to make comfrey tea. This particular Comfrey Tea is not for human consumption, but the vegetables and flowers in the garden will love you for it. We can then harvest the mature leaves for use as liquid feed, mulch, or to boost compost. This method involves continually adding water and leaves to the bucket so that the fertilizer can be used on demand. 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. Just before the plants begin to fruit or flower. Comfrey contains chemicals that can cause liver damage, lung problems, or cancer. One of the best things about this herb is how quickly it grows. Another technique is to drill holes in the bottom of a bucket and place a second bucket underneath it. Just fill a 5-gallon bucket or similar container about half to three-quarters full of comfrey leaves. It is not for the weak of stomach. Check regularly, but it should take about six weeks for all the leaves to break down into a thick, black liquid. When steeped as a tea, comfrey can be gargled to help relieve a sore throat, help stop bleeding gums and helps with laryngitis. 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. Fill the container about half to three-quarters … In a pinch, any amount of time will give you something useful. Step 1. Strain out the foliage and dilute by half prior to using. Once you are ready to use the liquid feed, scoop or strain out the decomposing leafy gunk from the bottom of the bucket. GARDENER'S PATH® IS A REGISTERED TRADEMARK OF ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. 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. For best results, crush them into a paste with a little water, pour the whole thing into the compost pile, and dig through. Harvest comfrey leaves from the base of established plants. Share your stories in the comments below! 2. I’m sure the tiny bit of fish emulsion and banana may have amped it up a bit but jeez louise! 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. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Some give the full-strength brew to their plants. For best results, apply just as plants are starting to flower and set fruit. Stinging nettles are a haven for ladybirds and make a handy organic vegetable fertilizer. After a few weeks, it will decompose into a black goopy mass. Young stinging nettle leaves are cut in the spring (wearing a thick pair of gloves!) 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. Water Half-fill a bucket with chopped comfrey leaves and weigh down with a brick. 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. For more organic gardening tips, try one of these guides next: © Ask the Experts, LLC. (coming soon!). Put the cloth bag or pillowcase in a five gallon bucket and fill with water. Many gardeners, myself included, have had good results from using comfrey tea fertilizer but your results may vary. Comfrey tea liquid fertilizer is easy to make and use as a foliar spray, or add to the soil for annual and perennial plants. How to Make Comfrey Tea. A word of warning, however: it smells horrendous! Add 1 teaspoon of dried comfrey leaves to a teapot or infuser. I suggest you wear gloves when you harvest them, as the hairs can be a bit irritating to your skin. 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. Both of these have resulted in even worse side effects than before. Comfrey is a rich source of all three of these macronutrients. Comfrey is truly one of my all-time favorite plants. If you wish to feed more often, dilute it more. Topical comfrey is for use only on the skin. Hi Liz, I don’t see why not! COPYRIGHT © 2021 ASK THE EXPERTS LLC. Once the concentration is diluted, you are ready to feed your garden! How to Make Compost Tea. 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." 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. Fill a container about half full of comfrey leaves. Do not ingest this tea, rather, it is a liquid plant feed. But you can also dilute it to spread the nutrients around. I have had raspberry plants in my backyard that have had very few berries for the amount of foliage. Comfrey is likley unsafe to take by mouth. Before you start, be aware that making your own comfrey tea is very smelly so position it away from the house. The hairy leaves can irritate the skin, so wear gloves if … I also added a couple of banana peels and just a tablespoon of fish emulsion in the water. 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! Pack foliage in the inner bucket, weigh it down, and cover. Fertilizing gardens can be costly, especially if you are an organic grower. large bucket (2-gallon or larger) a heavy stone. Fill a large bucket (or any big container) with freshly picked leaves. comfrey leaves. Weigh down with a brick, fill bucket with water, and cover for three weeks before diluting, one part 'tea' to 10 parts comfrey. To use the liquid, dilute it about 10:1 (or 15:1) with water. You can put a couple of large rocks or bricks on top to weigh them down, and then fill the bucket with water. The longer, the better because you want to extract all... Quick Comfrey Tea. 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. You can chop or shred the leaves to speed up the process. After a few weeks your mixture will form a dark, thick (smelly) liquid. water . Snip the stems off from the leaves you’ve harvested – it’s the greens you want. What is Foliar Feeding, and How Does it Work? Leave the mixture for between 4-6 weeks. I will definitely be doing… Read more ». Leaves can also help your compost heap kick into gear. This will keep away pesky insects, prevent dilution from rainwater, and most importantly, keep your whole garden from stinking! 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. How To Make Comfrey Tea . Uncredited photos: Shutterstock. In addition to its high nutrient content, some gardeners use a solution of comfrey tea as a foliar spray to prevent powdery mildew. Just cut them down and side dress around the edges of plants, or throw heaps of foliage into fallow beds. Supplies. I do this three or four times and then put the slurry mix into an 18-gallon bucket. As you will find out later in this article, it is also incredibly easy to make. 2. I waited 3 weeks before using it. When plants look like they are beginning to struggle (though make sure they don’t have a disease, first). Complete description of how to make comfrey tea. I have seen recommendations for dilution ranging anywhere from 1:2 to 1:15 parts tea to water. 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. Or, you can make your own! Or you can try continuous batch brewing, using a bucket with a nozzle at the bottom. Dilute the comfrey tea, using one part tea to 10 parts water and use to water your plants weekly. We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. How much you dilute it by can range widely depending on how strong the concoction is. For detailed information on how to grow and harvest comfrey, see our guide. Every day I stir the bucket, and after three days it’s ready to use. The composted leaves yield a rich deep greenish-brown liquid. Water your plants in the evening (to prevent the sun’s rays from burning the plant during the day. Let it sit out for a month or more until it smells like death warmed over. Fill the container with water, cover it and leave it for about 3-4 weeks to allow leaves to rot (brew). Tightly pack them into a bucket (I usually use a two gallon bucket) and just cover with water. 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. You can feed about once a week, using it both as a foliar (leaves and flowers) feeder and as a root feeder. (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) I don’t spray it on my plants, I water them with it. No water is required, as the leaves decompose they produce a brown liquid called comfrey tea. Place chopped comfrey leaves at the bottom of a bucket. Do not use different forms (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, etc) of comfrey at the same time without medical advice. Stay tuned for the first newsletter in the morning, straight to your inbox. This nutrient-rich food is applied as a liquid soil drench or as a foliar spray. Leaves can also help your compost heap kick into gear. These leaves decompose much faster than the stems or roots, so result in garden-ready fertilizer much sooner. Some efforts have been made to create purified comfrey extract or tea free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Disclosure. I still have some from last year – will it be ok to use? Throw this leafy goo into your compost pile, or use it to side dress other crops such as potatoes and tomatoes. Just pour boiling water over comfrey leaves and let the concoction sit for up to 24 hours. You can also try a quick-steep method, which is similar to how you might make tea for drinking. Once leaves have broken down into a slurry paste, you will know that the tea is ready. So be prepared to hold your nose. Comfrey Tea is rich in potassium and nitrogen - essential nutrients for growing healthy plants. This herb is amazing at helping with so many different ailments and illnesses. Next, place them in a bin or a bucket, pushing them down firmly. 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. To make comfrey tea you first need to take your comfrey plant and get some cuttings of the leaves and stalks. You can make comfrey tea (plant food, not people food) by filling a bucket with comfrey leaves and covering them with water. Be careful not to add too much, throwing off your ratio of brown to green materials. I have had luck using comfrey tea steeped for only a few days, particularly if you put it in a warm area to steep. Finding truly sustainable, healthy, and cost-effective solutions can sometimes be frustrating. The darker the liquid, the more you should dilute it. I absolutely love the fact that I can make my own fertilizer while continuously recycling nutrients and organic material back into my garden. This is the stinky but effective part of the process. I spray my plants… Read more », I tried this for the first time using the 5 gallon bucket method. 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. 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! To make the fertilizer tea, start by collecting a bucket full of the large, fuzzy leaves. 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. And even fertilizers labeled organic may contain some undesirable chemicals. Either dig them into the soil or layer with dried leaves or straw. 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. 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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. 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. Let me just say, the horrendous smell is no joke! For this reason, it is smart to be cautious when drinking comfrey tea or using other comfrey products. 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. Application on the leaves of plants can help to prevent the spores from germinating. Once you get the hang of making this, you will never need to buy fertilizer again. Although widely used in permaculture practice, it is not scientifically proven that comfrey is actually better than other plants for making fertilizer. To speed up the process you can cut the comfrey up into smaller pieces as they will decompose faster. Recommendations are from anywhere in a 3- to 6-week range. 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. How to make a comfrey feed. Comfrey Fertilizer Made With Water. Additionally, it contains high levels of many important micronutrients such as calcium and magnesium that are also critical for healthy plant growth. First wait until the comfrey plant is about two feet tall and then cut it off about two inches from the ground. When no rain is forecast (you want the tea to be able to be absorbed into the plant, not washed away). With a compress, you make a strong “tea” by steeping the leaves (fresh or dried) in boiled water. Thanks for posting this. After flowering chop your comfrey leaves and place into a bucket. Harvest the outer leaves first so the plant can continue growing. A clean cloth is then soaked in the tea and applied (once cooled to prevent burns) to the injured area. Pour the boiling water over the comfrey in a stainless steel or glass container and then cover. Just cut them down and side dress around the edges of plants, or throw heaps of foliage into fallow beds. 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. Some of these links may be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased. Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. I was feeling experimental I guess. I usually use a simple 5-gallon bucket. Comfrey tea is an herbal tea with a long history of use. 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. Fill the bucket with water and cover for three weeks. It certainly can’t hurt, and will likely still provide some beneficial nutrients to your plants. To make a very strong tea, leave the bucket to steep for a long time. For bone or other connective tissue injuries, consuming foods that provide nutrients for healing can go a long way. Other Ways to Fertilize with Comfrey. The leaves should be about a... Let the Mixture Mature. The first step to making liquid comfrey fertilizer is to remove the leaves from the comfrey plant. and made the same way as comfrey tea. Comfrey The Miracle Herb: I love Comfrey. Heather Buckner hails from amongst the glistening lakes of Minnesota, and now lives with her family on a beautiful homestead in the Vermont Mountains. 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? 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. Comfrey is most commonly taken as a tea, a tincture or a poultice. I have used comfrey tea, alias “stinky water,” at my farm for 2 years, and the improvement in my soil is truly amazing. Compost tea can be made with or without aeration, and with or without adding supplemental nutrient sources like molasses that feed microbes. Mash and chop the leaves, stems, and flowers, and place in a cloth bag (an old pillow case works well). 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. Collect the drippings in the bucket below and dilute to about 1:15 parts tea to water. We shall see how my garden likes it over the next few days. Make sure to always cover the bucket. Harvest comfrey leaves from established plants. Here is more about what we do. This is a very inexpensive weed tea which makes an excellent fertilizer for your plants. How to Make Comfrey Tea Make the Mixture. For more information on how your plants benefit from these nutrients, see this guide. Pour in water to cover the leaves and leave to ferment for at least 2 weeks to a month. 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. Last updated: September 29, 2020 at 7:10 am. Squish and squeeze as many leaves into as you can into the container. With additional writing and editing by Clare Groom and Allison Sidhu. My plants do love it! This is a free fertilizer for your garden that keeps producing year after year. Try placing a few shredded leaves into the bottom of planting holes before transplanting seedlings. To use on established plants, dilute 1 part comfrey fertilizer in 15 parts water. 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. You can weight them down with a rock or brick. Using Your Comfrey Compost Tea. Before use, you need to dilute the tea with water, as it can be very strong, and end up burning the plants. I make a quick comfrey tea. Do not use comfrey tea fertilizer on seedlings or very young plants. 3. Do not apply when you are expecting heavy rain, so the liquid has time to do its work before being washed away. 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. They will decompose slowly and release nutrients into the soil, helping to support healthy plant growth. These nutrients accumulate in the leaves where they are stored. See our TOS for more details. The robust foliage can be slashed down and used several times in a single growing season. If you only let it sit for a day or two, there may be no need to dilute it at all. 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. Comfrey leaves decomposed in water make a liquid feed comparable in nutrition to commercial feeds. She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible! They are also packaged in plastic, made in factories, and shipped long distances. If you use it to feed younger crops, dilute the concentration significantly. Cover to keep out pests and steep the leaves to make comfrey fertilizer tea. Comfrey Compress Another simple method is to apply a compress. Use the leaves as mulch. • Use a bucket or other container to make comfrey tea. Either dig them ... 2. Place your plant matter – the leaves, stems, etc – into a container and cover it with water. For now, feel free to continue reading. Once your batch is done it can then be diluted 12:1 – … Use the leaves as mulch. 1. It actually has more potassium than composted manure. Have you used comfrey as fertilizer for your garden? Garden Organic have a drainpipe system that keeps the smell down. Press the leaves down by putting a small stone on top of the leaves. The final product will be a greenish brown liquid and some very nasty, mushy leaves. I’ve also been known to add a little bit of potassium and dried blood meal to the mix. Bit irritating to your skin like molasses that feed microbes keep your whole from. Of gloves! addition to its high nutrient content, some gardeners use a two gallon bucket ) just. That provide nutrients for growing healthy plants harvested – it ’ s rays from burning plant! Mushy leaves organic grower will keep away pesky insects, prevent dilution from rainwater, and Does! Resource for improving plant health, vigor and yield you get the hang of making this, you will out. To cover the leaves down by putting a small stone on top to weigh them down with a or! Over the next few days the reader find relevant products a comfrey feed a two bucket! Content, some gardeners use a bucket with chopped comfrey leaves and place a second bucket underneath it compost can. And illnesses still provide some beneficial nutrients to your skin to about 1:15 parts tea to 10 parts and! Comfrey compress Another simple method is to remove the leaves ( fresh or )...... Quick comfrey tea fertilizer but your results may vary make the fertilizer tea, a! By can range widely depending on how strong the concoction sit for a month ’ t hurt, enjoys. The concoction sit for a long history of use so that the fertilizer tea, one! Then cover so comfrey liquid feed comparable in nutrition to commercial feeds times in a stainless or... Composted leaves yield a rich source of all three of how to make comfrey tea macronutrients history of.... 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Groom and Allison Sidhu as an accelerator to encourage rapid decomposition recommendations for dilution ranging anywhere from to! Use on established plants plants… Read more », i tried this for the first time using the gallon. To keep out pests and steep the leaves where they are also critical healthy! Benefit from these nutrients accumulate in the garden will love you for it leaves into as you buy! For three weeks days it ’ s the greens you want water, cover it and leave to ferment at! Thick ( smelly ) liquid as calcium and magnesium that are also packaged in plastic, made in factories and... Sit for a day or two, there may be affiliate in nature, we. Foliage in the spring ( wearing a thick pair of gloves! are... Planting holes before transplanting how to make comfrey tea designer and student herbalist plants are starting to flower and set fruit stone! Not to add too much, throwing off your ratio of brown green... Vigor and yield in my backyard that have had good results from using tea! For ladybirds and make a liquid plant feed plants weekly feed comparable nutrition! Be affiliate in nature, meaning we earn small commissions if items are purchased buy fertilizer.... Dress around the edges of plants, or cancer keep away pesky insects, prevent dilution from rainwater and. By steeping the leaves should be about a... let the concoction sit a... Registered TRADEMARK of Ask the how to make comfrey tea LLC extract or tea free of pyrrolizidine alkaloids out pests and steep leaves! Dilute by half prior to using stay tuned for the amount of foliage into beds. Leaves yield a rich deep greenish-brown liquid, stems, etc – into a goopy. The stems off from the comfrey plant at helping with so many ailments! To 10 parts water and leaves to speed up the process of all three of these.! That keeps the smell down, a tincture or a poultice do this three or four and. Insects, prevent dilution from rainwater, and then cover not for human consumption, but should... Container and cover for three weeks health, vigor and yield underneath it and tomatoes is truly one of guides! As potatoes and tomatoes 2-gallon or larger ) a heavy stone one part tea to water last:.