Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Friday, 24 June 2016

Comfrey Update

Comfrey 'hedge' on my allotment

It's been a couple of years since I took my first cut of comfrey for my compost heaps, and I'm really pleased how my plants have filled out in their allotted space on the allotment. They make a neat boundary between the compost bins/water butt and the upper growing areas on the plot.

Close up of comfrey flowers

I really like the flowers too, they're rather reminiscent of the frilly pantaloons my mum used to wear. I wonder what else can be tempted in to admire them more closely?

An acrobatic bee on a comfrey flower, with pollen sac clearly on view

Ah yes, the ever acrobatic and hard working bees simply can't get enough of comfrey flowers.

Another bee demonstrates how it uses its hooks to hang onto a comfrey flower

A pause to watch their antics reveals they use the hooks on their legs to cling onto a flower whilst taking their fill of pollen and nectar. There's always something new to learn about bees.

I took these photos before I went on holiday, and seeing it's National Insect Week, now's the perfect time to show them to you.

The bees have taken their fill and the flowers have faded, so it's time post-solstice* to take my first cut to make comfrey feed. I'll be using the dry, pong-free method advocated by James at Yeo Valley Organic Garden and described by Emma Cooper... as soon as I've sourced a suitable lidded container to cram the leaves inside. Note that as my comfrey is the Bocking 14 cultivar, I don't need to heed her warning about seeds, as they're sterile plants.

* pre-solstice, nitrogen-rich feeds such as nettle are made to encourage healthy growth, then post-solstice, a phosphorus/potassium-rich feed - such as comfrey - encourages less sappy growth (needed if plants are to overwinter well), plus flowers and fruiting.

6 comments:

  1. I'll be cutting mine soon to add to the compost heap. Flighty xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've just bought a storage container so I can fit a few pots of comfrey leaves inside ready for the pong-free method. Any left overs will be added to the compost heap.

      Delete
  2. They do look good and ornamental en masse like that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks guys - I'm really pleased how it's looking at the moment :)

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    2. Yes, it seems almost a shame to cut it! Too good not to though.

      Delete
    3. It's always a bit of a dilemma Matt, but we know it'll grow back to its former glory :)

      Delete

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