Free Organic Fertilizer – make it at home

Make your nutrient-rich fertilizer using comfrey leaves.

Comfrey is a perennial plant that can be invasive. I planted mine under the fruit trees as we keep the grass mowed around them, thereby also controlling comfrey plants. Comfrey is a very deep-rooted plant so it brings essential minerals and vitamins up to their leaves. These minerals and vitamins also bring benefit to the fruit trees.

Cut back comfrey leaves three times a year. The purple bell-shaped flowers are also bee attractors and other pollinating insects and a beautiful garden addition. A side note – chickens love comfrey. I would imagine it would boost the nutrient value of the eggs. It is a perfect permaculture plant.

The leaves contain incredible nutrient value: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, as well as many of the B vitamins, and micro-minerals like zinc, copper, boron, magnesium and manganese. It has a high carbon to nitrogen value, which means it does not steal nitrogen from the soil as the leaves break down.

I bought a lemonade dispenser from Walmart to brew my leaves as it has a lid with a bowl that presses down the leaves, keeping them submerged. With the spigot on the bottom, it is simple to drain the liquid out. It is perfect for doing this job. The longer you leave the leaves steep in water, the stronger the brew will become. Over two weeks and the leaves become more of a slurry. The spigot does help control some of the smells as you dilute it. NOTE: I use a mortar and pestle for crushing eggshells fine to make eggshell tea, and I place the mortar and pestle on top of the lemonade dispenser to keep the lid tight which reduces the smell.

Now a warning about this smell -this is not a brew for the weak of stomach as it smells VERY like barnyard reminiscent of the pig barn.

A comfrey tea brewed for a couple of days requires minimal dilution, but for the full value, if you leave it for two weeks or more, the dilution needs to be 15 parts water to 1 part comfrey brew. After six weeks, all the leaves will have broken down into a thick mixture. If you are using comfrey tea on young plants, be sure to dilute it even further.

Use comfrey tea as a foliar feed. Diluted ,it will not burn your plants. I give my vegetables a drenching, mainly just at the flowering stage, as this provides excellent nutrients for the plant to begin fruit production. Your plants will love this natural fertilizer, and you will visually see healthier plants.

You can chop the comfrey leaves and lay them at the base of plants for a slow release of nutrients.

I throw excess leaves in my compost, or if there is slurry left over after the comfrey tea is complete, I toss the rest in my compost bin. It does help speed up the composting process and boosts the nutrient value of your compost.

If you do not have enough comfrey brew to foliar drench all your vegetables, then these plants specifically benefit from comfrey tea -Brussel sprouts, onion, hot peppers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes.