Grow Guide: Enhancing Your Garden With Comfrey


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Written by Allie Beckett
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Walk onto any permaculturist’s land and you’ll be sure to come across large comfrey bushes scattered in plant guilds around their food forest. Comfrey is a staple in permaculture gardens because of its nourishing and medicinal qualities. This ancient healing herb develops large leaves filled with elements that both plants and humans crave.

This Grow Guide is going to introduce you to the idea of growing your cannabis plants using other plants. By feeding your cannabis with other plants grown on your land, you have complete control over the purity of the inputs in your garden. This simple step significantly raises your garden’s sustainability and independence.

Comfrey is a perennial plant that develops a strong and extensive root system that reaches 6 to 10 feet into the earth.

Comfrey Shrub. Photo courtesy of Horizon Herbs.

These powerful roots accumulate all kinds of nutrients from deep within the soil and store these valuable nutrients within its large leaves. Comfrey roots also aid in breaking up dense, clay-heavy soil providing a more aerated medium.

Comfrey leaves are rich in nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and calcium — all nutrients that help nourish developing flowers.

comfrey leaf

Macro of Comfrey Leaves. Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

Comfrey is one of the rare sources of naturally-occurring potassium, an essential nutrient for the flowering stage. Using comfrey fertilizer throughout your flower cycle will give your plants the boost they need to develop dense, trichome-coated flowers.

Comfrey brings biodiversity to your garden — it’s purple bell-shaped flowers attract pollinators while its large leaves provide refuge for beneficial bugs.

comfrey flowers

Purple Comfrey Flowers. Photo courtesy of The Herb Gardener.

Planting comfrey throughout cannabis beds will attract predator insects into your garden to help guard your ganja from common destructive pests such as mites, aphids, and gnats. Increasing your biodiversity increases the immune system of your garden making it stronger and more resilient to pest infestations.

Comfreys nitrogen-rich leaves make it a great bio-activator for your compost pile.

comfrey leaves

Large Comfrey Leaves. Photo courtesy of Natalie Noack.

Roughly cutting or tearing the large leaves, soaking them in water then pouring this mixture into your compost pile or bin will help accelerate decomposition (create compost faster!) while helping to balance out the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio.

Comfrey can be used as green manure to help improve the quality of your soil.

comfrey shrub

Newly Emerging Comfrey. Photo courtesy of Solutions for Natural Living.

In the fall, cut leaves off the plant and mix them into the top layer of your soil. In the spring, when you’re ready to plant your crops, the comfrey leaves will have released all of their nutrients into the soil, enhancing the soil’s quality and increasing the amount of available nutrients.

Comfrey can be dried and powderized into a concentrated amendment for plants and humans.

comfrey salve

Comfrey Healing Salve. Photo courtesy of Ascension Kitchen.

Comfrey contains a “special substance” called allantoin which is responsible for a majority of comfrey’s healing abilities. Allantoin promotes cell regeneration, causing cells to grow faster. Interestingly enough, allantoin is found in the placenta which is the organ responsible for nourishing a growing fetus. This dose of allantoin helps the rapid cell development of fetuses while they’re in the womb.

Comfrey has been known for ages in the medicinal herb world as the number one ointment for broken bones.

comfrey flower

Comfrey Flowers. Photo courtesy of Canning Granny.

Comfrey is known as “knitbone” because of its traditional use in healing broken bones. In fact, the word comfrey comes from the Latin word confirmare, meaning to join together.

How to Make Comfrey Fertilizer

All of these benefits are amazing but by far the most incredible use of comfrey is making a natural fertilizer. Anywhere you can implement a closed loop system and limit your outside inputs raises the sustainability of your farm immensely. Creating an extremely potent fertilizer from plants already growing on your land is like turning grass into gold. Not to mention comfrey regenerates and improves your soil at the same time by providing you these valuable nutrients — it’s a win all around!

The process of making fertilizer from comfrey is relatively simple — all you will be doing is harvesting the comfrey leaves from the luscious shrub and fermenting them in a container of water. Patience is key with this process but the wait is well worth it for a rich fertilizer cultivated from your own land. I would recommend a container with a lid — as the comfrey leaves begin to ferment the solution will emit quite an unpleasant stench. It also helps to choose a container with a spigot at the bottom so you can access your fermentation easily (without getting assaulted by that stank upon opening the lid of the brew).

Begin by gathering leaves from your comfrey plants, the bigger, the better! The amount of leaves you use will determine the strength of your brew — I recommend trying to fill up the barrel halfway with leaves.

Place the freshly harvested leaves in your chosen container. Weigh them down by placing a large rock or brick on top of your leaf pile. Pro-tip: place the leaves in a large tea bag (or burlap sack) before fermentation to avoid blocking the spigot in the bottom of your barrel.

Next, fill your container with fresh water. You can choose to cover the barrel or not, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about that smell! 😉

Wait 3-5 weeks for the comfrey leaves to release all of their nutrients into the water — this happens gradually as the fermentation matures.

Once your solution has completed its fermentation and is ready for use, dilute the comfrey tea with fresh water (1 part comfrey to 3 parts water is typical but you can experiment to find your perfect ratios).

There are countless ways to incorporate the ever-giving comfrey plant into your home garden or large-scale farm. Trust me, your cannabis plants will thank you!

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