How To Make Comfrey Fertiliser

And Some Stuff About Peas

There have been voices of dissent here at The Sustainable Living Project.  The Man has been complaining about peas.  No I’ve not been hiding them underneath his mattress to disturb his princess like sleep.  He has been complaining for some time now that he never gets peas for his tea.  The truth is, and I’m ashamed to admit it, I don’t really like peas.  My limit of tolerance is for a few floating around in a curry or for adding pretty green colour to paellas and pilaus.

So this year I have relented and decided to grow some peas.  Just a small patch mind you.  Having lovingly raised them in newspaper pots in the cold frame (mice make direct sowings a no-no) I planted my lovely pea green plants out at the end of march.  Within a few weeks they had turned pale and sickly!

Urgent action was required before The Man accused me of sabotaging the pea crop on purpose.  At first I wondered whether the cold had affected them, but they are a hardy, early variety and were planted out just in time for the warm, April weather.  It seemed to me nutritional deficiency was likely.  The peas followed on from a parsnip crop that had been in the ground most of winter.  For that reason this patch of soil did not get the same mulching treatment as the rest of the bed last Autumn.  However, given that legumes are adapted to fix their own nitrogen I didn’t think my peas would complain as much as other crops.  I was wrong!

As soon as my first batch of comfrey fertiliser was ready I gave the peas a jolly good dousing with the stuff.  Within days, the peas had perked up and were looking green again and are now thriving as you can see below.  (I hope you like the eeyore house I made out of willow for them to climb up!)  You will find lots of recipes for comfrey fertiliser on the web, I don’t think any of them are wrong as such – it’s a bit like recipes for bolognese, everyone has their own way of doing things, but I like to keep things as simple as possible.  That way there’s more chance things will actually get done!  So here it is, Sustainable Living’s very simple guide to making comfrey fertiliser.

How To Make Comfrey Fertilizer:

  • Take a large bucket or other similar container.
  • Stuff your bucket with comfrey until it is half full.  (I use the whole plant, stalks, leaves and flowers if they’ve blossomed.)
  • You can chop your leaves up a bit.  I don’t bother and I haven’t noticed any difference!
  • Top your bucket up to the top with water and give it a good stir with a stick.
  • Cover your bucket.  I’ve used peices of plyboard and old dustbin lids, it doesn’t have to be a tight fit.
  • Stir your fertiliser brew every few days.  You may notice it bubbling and frothing at first, you will certainly notice it stinks!  Sometimes it will get covered in a layer of slime where slugs and snails have crawled to their deaths, this won’t effect the fertiliser or harm your crops!
  • After two weeks the liquid will be a purply-brown colour and ready to use.  I used to strain the liquid off, but that’s unnecessarily time consuming.  I just dip an enamel jug into the bucket and add this, along with any floating comfrey debris, straight to my watering cans.
  • I dilute roughly (very roughly no time to measure stuff out!) one part comfrey fertiliser to four parts water.  I use the solution to water peas and beans and also tomatoes, chillies, squashes and cucumbers when they begin flowering.  Sometimes I use the solution as a general foliar feed for ornamentals such as my box balls.

When the bucket is virtually empty the remaining comfrey sludge is added to the compost heap.  I start a new batch about every four weeks.


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4 comments to How To Make Comfrey Fertiliser

  • Peter Swan

    Thanks for this interesting recipe. Have you tried using a mix of different plants in addition to comfrey? Would you expect similar results?

  • goo

    I tend to stick with comfrey because we have such an ample and ready supply but I know plenty of people also use nettles in a very similar way. I’m not sure what the relative NPK values of each are, I think I’ll do a little research. Thanks for stopping by Peter. :-)

  • jerry derouen

    where can i purchase comphrey plants

  • goo

    Hi Jerry, we use the wild comfrey that grows abundantly all around us here. It is possible to purchase a sterile form of the plant, known as Bocking 14 from many vegetable seed suppliers. This has the advantage of not setting seed all over the place as it can be quite an invasive plant. I’d check out the charity Garden Organic if I were you.

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