Monday, May 18, 2009

Comfrey

comfrey
No homestead should be without the plant, comfrey. Its uses are endless and range from fertilizer to bone mender. We have comfrey growing all over the place, and add more each year.

Comfrey roots grow deep into the soil, therefore be sure to think about where you want to plant it, it will be there to stay. Also, comfrey can grow quite tall (up to 3 feet) and wide. It makes a great border plant if you need some height. It will spread and likes full sun or partial shade.

Uses for Comfrey:

Comfrey makes a wonderful liquid fertilizer. Pack a 5 gallon plastic bucket half to three quarters full of comfrey leaves and add water to cover well. Put on a lid and let sit 3-4 weeks. Drain off the water to use as a fertilizer (it will most likely smell). It is great for potatoes and tomatoes and is high in protein.

Compost piles will break down faster when comfrey leaves are added.

Boil fresh leaves for a gold dye.

Leaves can be used in the garden as mulch. They are a good source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium and vitamins C and A.

Comfrey has quite a reputation as a bone mender. I broke my finger last summer and each day for about a week I wrapped a comfrey leaf around it. I can not say if the bone healed any faster (first bone I every broke, so I had nothing to compare it to), but there was not much pain and I have not had any trouble with it since.

Livestock love comfrey- we dry it in the summer and fall and feed it to our cows as a treat in the winter.

Bees love the little purple flowers. We grow some in the apiary for them.

For sore muscles soak a cloth in comfrey tea and apply to the affected area. You can also add the leaves right to your bath water.

Mix ¼ cup dried leaves or roots with 1¼ cup vodka. Let sit 4-6 weeks, strain and use on acne twice a day.

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