First Cut Comfrey
Comfrey is a new crop on my allotment for 2014, though I won't be eating any of it. Since I started to install raised beds on the plot last year, I now need to make lots more compost to keep them topped up. That's where the comfrey comes in as it acts as a great accelerator when added to the raw ingredients in a compost bin.
As you can see from the photo, my new comfrey bed is handily placed next to the compost bins in the middle of my plot. This is the variety Bocking14, the kind which isn't so much of a garden thug, unlike the comfrey I see growing right next to the River Avon in town, which is giving the invasive Himalayan balsam there a run for its money.
I'm growing it in a mini raised bed of its own made from some used car tyres I acquired ages ago. When I planted the comfrey out last year, I was a bit worried the couch grass nearby would invade the bed. The tyres plus an extra thick lining of cardboard and newspaper were my attempt to prevent this from happening whilst the plants were establishing themselves. It appears to have worked so far *crosses fingers*
I'm expecting the deep roots of the plants will soon break through the bed's lining to start bringing up the minerals and other nutrients from below. Once they start doing that - and the plants get a bit more established and bigger - I'll start making a comfrey feed for my plants as well as feeding my compost bin.
Home made comfrey feed is notoriously smelly. However, James in his famous compost chat at Yeo Valley Organic Garden showed me a different 'dry' method which doesn't pong. Emma Cooper also showed how to do this in her plan for Groundbreaking Food Gardens. Luckily for anyone reading this who wants to follow suit, she also blogged about it :)
Just like the salad leaves I'm growing, comfrey is a great 'cut and come again' addition to my plot.