Foliage Friday: Comfrey!

As I was picking plums in the backyard, I noticed a nearby plant that was covered in bees.

It’s comfrey! A miracle weed! Who knew we had comfrey growing in our backyard?!

I think the first time I heard of comfrey was when I was watching an old episode of Gardener’s World.

Apparently comfrey is loaded with potassium. If you harvest the leaves and steep them in water for three weeks, you can create your own potassium-rich fertilizer. Alternatively, you can use the leaves to mulch around your plants. A third way I’ve read says to squish as many comfrey leaves as possible into a bucket with a hole at the bottom; weigh the leaves down with a heavy brick, and put a second bucket under the first bucket to catch the drippings that will be created as the leaves break down.

My garden needs more sunlight than potassium, so I’m not sure comfrey is really going to help me, but I’m happy to know that we have comfrey. Plus, the pollinators love the flowers, and if they’re happy, I’m happy.

A couple of important disclaimers: First, I wasn’t able to find a really good scientific article demonstrating the benefits of comfrey, so I guess take all of this with a grain of salt. And second, be aware that comfrey contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which are toxic – they can cause liver damage and/or death. Just because it’s “organic” fertilizer, doesn’t mean it’s safe….

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