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