It’s the height of summer; a time of the year when many plants in the garden are producing lots of flowers and fruit and veg are starting to ripen. This is also a time of the year when these types of plants benefit from weekly feeding and the best type of plant food to keep them pumping out their flowers, fruit and veg is one high in potassium. You can make your own homemade comfrey plant food to give your plants a nutrient boost.

What is comfrey?

Comfrey naturally has high amounts of potassium in its leaves and so choosing a variety that produces the largest leaves is a sensible idea, although any variety of comfrey can be used.

The best variety is one called ‘Bocking 14’.  It has huge leaves and, importantly for people with small gardens, doesn’t self-seed.  You’ll most often find it for sale at plant nurseries or online, but don’t worry if you can only find a small plant, at this time of the year it will very quickly grow.

Making comfrey plant food

The easiest way to make the plant food is just pick a load of the leaves (stems too) and put them in a container full of water. Leave this for about 10 days before removing the leaves and stems and that’s it. Then, you have your own potassium rich plant food for hardly any effort or time.

However, one big warning to bear in mind – it does have quite a potent smell. Therefore, you probably want to keep it towards the back of your garden.

The good news is that, for just a little more time and effort, there’s a way of making comfrey food that doesn’t smell as much. So, here’s what you’ll need and how to do it…

  • A length of drainpipe approx. 45cm long
  • A fencepost to fix it to
  • Alternatively, a length of wood about 1.3m long to act as a stake
  • Screws to fix the drainpipe to the post/stake
  • Funnel, ideally one with a built-in filter at the base
  • Empty container, 5L plastic water container

First, if using a stake bash that into the ground first.

Then, attach the drainpipe to the fencepost or the stake using the screws, leaving just enough room to fit the funnel and water container under the bottom of the drainpipe.

Place the end of the funnel into the empty container and position under the bottom of the drainpipe.

Next, fill the drainpipe with comfrey leaves and stalks, firming them in tightly.

You might have to cup one hand under the bottom of the drainpipe whilst doing this in order to stop the leaves falling out.

The next stage is to simply let nature take its course.

The leaves will naturally start to decompose creating a concentrated liquid that drips into the container. The joy of this method is that because air can get into the drainpipe, it won’t smell.

Store the liquid in a cool, dry place such as a garage, out of direct sunlight.

When you come to use it, dilute it using one part comfrey liquid to 15 parts water. Then, you can continue to make and store this free plant food all summer long until the plant naturally dies down in the autumn.

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Take care of your plants by giving them the nutrients they need to thrive. Make the most of what nature has to offer by making your own comfrey plant food.

Find out more about growing veg at home:

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