Diluted comfrey ‘tea’ is a mainstay of organic growing: rich in potash (for flowers and fruits) as well as the two other macronutrients, nitrogen for leafy growth, and phosphate for root development. It also mines health-boosting minerals. It’s completely animal-free and as sustainable as you can get, fertiliser-wise: no miles and the residue is completely compostable.
I’m in love with plant breeders’ ingenuity, patience and creativity. As a grower, I value that connection with with milennia’s worth of crop specialists. There’s a basic instinct to observe and improve, a particular intelligence, and faith too.
Lawrence Hills was inspired by the Quaker Henry Doubleday (read the story here from the Garden Organic website) to perfect a variety of comfrey that wouldn’t self seed and was
particularly high in nutrients.
I enjoy the variety name, Bocking was the site in Essex, 14 refers to the trial number. The image of Hills with the plant speaks so much, as well as delighting with the superficial retro nerdiness.
See my lovely new comfrey bucket bought in Brixton market – made in Iran, a cooler for some delicious pomegranate picnic punch. It has a simple tap at the bottom, and an air excluding lid that wedges in, held in place by the handle.
Use gloves and long sleeves when handling as it’s bristly (‘hispid’ is the botanical term) and phytotoxic (you might get a rash if your skin is exposed to sun). Squash the leaves in to the brim and add some water. Come back four weeks later for a right pongy brew.
See the flower unfurling – a process called ptyxis.