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Hi,

 

I have been testing growing comfrey in aquaponics, and it does great.    Now the next question in my mind is how does one use this in the typical chop and drop operation or making a compost?

 

How much of the plant can you trim back in the typical chop / drop?

 

How do earthworms like comfrey or BSF?

 

Has anyone made compost tea with it?

 

I have 3 excellent plants and I am ready to harvest it, but not sure how to.    I don't want to kill the plant but find the best method.

 

Thanks!

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Well supposedly the plant is really hard to kill, however, the ones I got (were planted in ground before I had aquaponics) didn't do well and eventually all died do I'm not a good one to give advise on it.

 

I think most plants that say when trimming back you aren't supposed to take more than a third of the green at any one time.

I'll always defer to TCLynx, but ground-grown Comfrey generally grows like a weed.  It's also known as "bone-knit" due to its amazing healing properties and commonly used in herbal teas.  Your garden will love you if you dig it straight in.  Also, just start chopping it, the plants are hardy and can handle daily "use".

Don't defer to me about Comfrey, mine died.

THe questions are in black and the questions are underlined.

I have been testing growing comfrey in aquaponics, and it does great.    Now the next question in my mind is how does one use this in the typical chop and drop operation or making a compost?

 

 

Use it as a "green" in compost.  In general, it is a protozoa and bacteria food.  If you want to save it in the "green" state for composting, pick the leaves and then dry them.  They will keep their 10:1 C:N ratio.   It is not possible to kill this plant.  You can cut it down to the ground and it comes back. 

 

 

How much of the plant can you trim back in the typical chop / drop?

 

The whole plant.  Well, I don't know about aquaponics comfry plants.  I would try to prevent comfry roots from plugging up the system.  They have a long tap root that can get into your autosiphon or filters.  I would use the whole plant for composting and they just restart babies for future plants.

How do earthworms like comfrey or BSF?

 

Chickens love Comfry.  I use my chickens to keep the plants under control.  I have not tried BSF with Comfry.  About worms.....  You can put it in your worm bin, but I would through it in your normal composting bins.  Worms don't eat organic material, they eat the micro biology that grows on the decomposting organic material. 

 

Has anyone made compost tea with it?

 

Yes, I have made teas with it.  When you make teas with leaves, it is called , "green tea" as apposed to compost tea.  It's used for foliar sprayes and disease suppression.

I have 3 excellent plants and I am ready to harvest it, but not sure how to.    I don't want to kill the plant but find the best methode.

 

Can you please describe the method you are growing these plants?  I'm growing other perennial plants in aquaponics with really good success.

I agree about comfry being indestructable.  In my soil even a piece of root generates a new plant.  I'd take caution in the AP system, least it take over.  It will grow in any ground and under all conditions.  I planted it 20 years ago for my chickens and have never been able to get rid of it.  I've tried.

Ok, took your advice and chopped them down, got 1 1/2 5 gallon bucket full of leaves.     took the 1/2 full bucket and filled with water for a compost tea, and feed the rest to my BSF and worm bin ( glad to see red wigglers are coming back )   

 

Took your advice and removed the comfrey from the aquaponics and transplanted it.  

 

Tc, if I get down that way again I will bring you some.    

Paul,

Thanks for the info.   I did grow these plants as a fertilizer for my smaller plants, and food for the BSF / earthworms.   

Yes, good info about earthworms eat bacteria, I have been raising worms for about 2 years now.

 

How long do you leave the leaves in the water for the compost tea?

 

Please see the pics for my method of growing using self watering container / Aquponic grow bed.

 

Thanks all for the great info!

 



Paul Holowko said:

 

Yes, I have made teas with it.  When you make teas with leaves, it is called , "green tea" as apposed to compost tea.  It's used for foliar sprayes and disease suppression.

I have 3 excellent plants and I am ready to harvest it, but not sure how to.    I don't want to kill the plant but find the best methode.

 

Can you please describe the method you are growing these plants?  I'm growing other perennial plants in aquaponics with really good success.

Oh, and the above are not the only ones who eat Comfrey, my roommate's cat loves it too!

Interesting discussion.  Before today I had not ever heard of Comfrey.

I looked into it further > http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/afcm/comfrey.html

Interesting indeed.

Recipe for Comfrey Tea:

Fill 1/2 bucket with comfrey add water 80% to top. 

Cover and leave in shady area. 

After a week monitor (can take up to 5 weeks). If you have foam on top then it is ready to use. Once complete dilute about 10:1.

If goes beyond foam stage then it has become anaerobic and do not put on plants directly. Just add it to compost pile. Once complete dilute about 10:1.

 

Comfrey is an excellent starter for compost pile.

 

Comfrey is an excellent dynamic accumulator of potasium and to a lesser extent phosphorous, magnesium and other trace elements. This means that it may be sucking up all those nutrient up in your aquaponics system. The reason they are beneficial in this way in soils is because they are excellent at drawing these nutrients from deeper soil layers.

 

Yes comfrey is medicinal and nutritious. Definately a plant worth growing in your garden.  

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