Comfrey is a plant that the bees love and a very useful one for the gardener. Get a root of it and you’re made for life but watch out as the plant can spread and easily get out of control. A thin layer of comfrey leaves can be used as a compost activator – alongside human urine applied from a bottle of course! – and a couple of leaves put in the hole before you put your seed spuds in will get them off to a good start.
We also use a big handful of the leaves to make a wonderful plant feed (that needs to be diluted) adding someborage and nettle leaves to give it extra goodness. Leave everything to steep for a few weeks in a bucket with a small amount of water and wait until it all turns to a horrible looking dark mush.
Public health warning: The liquid smells to high heaven, like a intense case of body odour or the smell of a dustcart in hot summer climates times fifty! We’ve had family members retching after spilling a bit in the kitchen when filling up our watering can the other month. Do not, we repeat DO NOT get any of the neat (or diluted for that matter) liquid on your clothes or gardening gloves as the smell don’t half linger. If you want an exclusion zone when walking through a crowd or a row of seats to yourself on the train in the morning then this is the perfect aroma for you!
Aside from the downside of the pong of the liquid feed, it’s a great plant to have in the garden and if Witchipedia is to be believed: “Wrap your money in a comfrey leaf for several days before going to a casino, poker game or bookies. It will help keep your bets coming back to you.” #keepitcomfrey!
The last few days haven’t been that warm but they’ve been nice enough to go out and catch up on a few jobs in the garden. I know we mentioned we weren’t going to put in those pre-chitted spuds on Good Friday as per tradition but we cracked yesterday (Easter Sunday) and stuck in a couple of rows of maris pipersjust down from the onion sets and broad beans just peeping through (pic above). Some comfrey leaves were put in the hole beforehand and some bamboo canes and rose prunings flung on the top to keep the cats off. More on how you sow seed potatoes from an older post here.
Typically a couple of hours after the spuds went in we heard that later this week it may get cold at night (below) so it might be out with the fleece or those old net curtains.
Talking of protection there’s a couple of tomato plants under the tipped up terrarium (pic above) we found in the street a few years ago but if it does look like it’s going to be really cold we’ll be bringing them back indoors.A couple of rows of spinach and basil seed even went in (yes we’re well optimistic about the weather) under a homemade cold frame type affair made out of an old window and some old wood. It was really a ploy to get rid of a “bargain” obtained at B&Q the other day; a massive sack (125L) of multi-purpose compost for £6.50. As soon as we opened the bag we knew why it was so cheap, it honked to high heaven and it’s not something you want to be putting in pots indoors for certain. As the old saying goes “there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or a compost bargain).”
Today I popped out and did a few hours in the garden in glorious sunshine can you believe! One of the jobs I did was to make some plant food with some Comfrey leaves (Bocking 14 Comfrey is the best as it doesn’t set seed) which I steeped in water in an old fermenting bucket from my days of wine-making (which weren’t that successful.)
Comfrey is a great plant to have in the garden, it spreads like wildfire, the bees go bonkers over it and if you rip off loads of leaves and stuck them in a bucket of water for a few weeks it makes a great plant feed. Stick in some nettle and borage leaves into the mix too and it’s even better.
For God’s sake don’t breathe in the stuff as it’s lethal! I repeat do not smell the liquid. Keep the lid on for a few weeks and when it’s done (It’ll turn into a sludgy black liquid) water it down and apply it to your plants. More on how to make it here.
A few weeks ago after listening to Joe Maiden on BBC Radio Leeds’ Gardening with Tim and Joe I took the risk and bunged in some of my seed spuds and now they’re well on their way (thanks Joe, you know your stuff!) But there’s a piece of fleece at the side just in case to stick over the plants if there’s any risk of frost as you can’t take anything for granted weatherwise.
As per the RHS website I stuck them in five inches deep (with the chitted end upwards), twelve inches apart in two rows (two feet between each row). Also to aid growth I stuck some ripped up Comfrey leaves under them (I was given a root of Comfrey a couple of years ago by our good mate Scarlett and boy has it grown!) When the shoots start to show through on the spuds I’ll be earthing them up. Early spuds are good stuff and well easy to grow. If you haven’t got a garden, you can stick them in a plastic dustbin, builders sacks or even carrier bags!
Also while “tipping around” the garden today I found a lone wild garlic not growing too wildly around by the pond but growing all the same!