How NOT To Make Comfrey Fertilizer

by Daisy on 09/13/2013

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This post originally had a different title.

In the interest of full disclosure which is our informal policy here, after I actually made the fertilizer, I had to add the NOT.

It all began well.

I cut a lot of comfrey and packed it into a five-gallon bucket.

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I left it, covered in plastic, for several weeks under the carport.

It stewed in its own juices, so to speak, until it broke down into a foul-smelling, soupy mass.

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As disgusting as that sounds, things up to this point were going as prescribed. It is supposed to break down and it is expected to smell bad.

Today, however, I decided to strain out the solids and collect the liquid so I could use it as fertilizer.

I gloved up carefully because I didn’t want to get the stinky, brown comfrey all over my dainty hands.  Then I put a strainer over a beat up old enamel pot and poured in the comfrey.

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After draining politely for a few seconds the comfrey became impatient to be released from its bucket and charged out of the pot with a sploosh and a splash and soaked my (only partially waterproof) gloves.

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It wasn’t pleasant but I could deal.  Most of the comfrey stayed in the strainer.  It wasn’t straining fast enough for me, though, so I cast my eye around until it landed on my 6-pound chopping maul. Nice and heavy, I thought. I retrieved it and used it to mash the comfrey lump and make the juices drain more quickly.  It sort of worked, but I grew weary of mashing that thing around. It does literally weigh six pounds.

So I smushed it into the comfrey lump and left it in there, deciding that it would help press the juice out like a weight on a cheese mold and walked away to do something else. Seconds later a crash let me know sticking a heavy axe into the top of a lump of mush in a lightweight enamel pot was not sustainable from a physics point of view.  All my valuable comfrey juice was spilling out over the driveway. The lump was lying on the ground, tossed from the strainer.

Getting over my glove thing, I threw them off and set my bare hands to scooping up the comfrey liquid from the asphalt.  Yes, I would smell for days, but I wasn’t going to let weeks worth of comfrey distillate go to waste.  I scooped and scraped and got *most* of the comfrey back into the enamel pot and put the comfrey lump back into the strainer.  I smushed it some more with my hands now that I had a new, closer relationship with the mush anyway.

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It was then I noticed the hole in the enamel pot spewing a steady stream of brown gold back onto the driveway.

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I tilted the pot up so the hole was above the liquid line and scooped again.  I know you are waiting for me to have tipped the thing over again, but I managed to keep it upright this time.  I strained it (only spilling a medium amount in the process) and measured 40 oz. finished product.

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I’ll post again about the uses and the whys and hows of using comfrey fertilizer. Right now I think I just need to lie down for a while.

This stuff better be good.



{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Nancy W September 13, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Your post made me laugh out loud, sounds like something I would attempt! Can wait to hear more!

Cinnamon Vogue September 13, 2013 at 12:21 pm

That was funny Daisy!!! Now I know what comfrey is also. 🙂

Jeff Atnip September 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Caught you with your plants down.

Judy S September 13, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Thanks for the uplifting story!!!! Funny. I will think about comfrey fertilizer but what a series of mishaps.

Mary@Back to the Basics! September 13, 2013 at 7:16 pm

WOW! Sounds like my week! Enjoy your weekend.

Farmer Liz September 14, 2013 at 2:35 am

thanks so much for sharing this, it gave me a smile after a similar frustrating day. Glad I’m not the only one!

Pam September 14, 2013 at 4:10 am
Karin Fields September 14, 2013 at 7:40 am

HYSTERICAL!!!!!!

Oma8 September 14, 2013 at 8:44 am

Pam thanks for the heads up on comfrey.
Don’t think I will use on my organic garden because this would probably be me trying to make comfrey.
I love your posts and thank you for the smile for today.

Chris September 14, 2013 at 9:04 am

🙂 Remind me, if mine survive, to just cut up the leaves & scatter them under the other plants. (Don’t want to scare the kids with too much ick factor.)

Mary September 14, 2013 at 9:09 am

Thanks for this, b
Very funny. Please let us know how the plants liked it, I believe it’s very good for tomatoes. Do you need to water it down before you put it on the plants?

Daisy September 14, 2013 at 10:03 am

Mary–Yes. Dilute it 15:1, that’s 15 parts water to one part comfrey. I will update with more info and hopefully be able to tell how it helps some day.

Debie September 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Had to laugh when I scrolled down & saw you were using a literal (chamber) “pot” just like my great-grandma used to keep under the foot of her bed for “night use”! Of course straining fertilizer was a much more suitable use than my friend’s. She thought it would make a good container for serving popcorn!!! Ewww! :^D

Daisy September 14, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Debie–Ew indeed!

Sandy September 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I so enjoy following along your adventures. Thank you for sharing.
Can’t wait for part 2.

Mark September 15, 2013 at 4:43 am

Comfrey does stink. High protein content… think rotting meat and you get the picture of the smell without having to experience it! And nettles make an awesome addition to a comfrey brew. Between the two plants you cover almost every nutrient requirement any plant might need.

Daisy September 15, 2013 at 6:05 am

Mark–Aha. Hadn’t put that together. Thanks, and will have to grow nettles.
Sandy–Thank YOU!

Kirsten Mcculloch September 18, 2013 at 12:01 am

Oh dear, that is exactly the sort of thing I would do! But, at least you didn’t give up, and still got some of the fabulous brew 🙂 I’ll look forward to hearing how it goes on the plants 🙂

Lee September 20, 2013 at 4:24 am

Gawd ! My aching sides, love your how NOT to instructions, most instructional !
Great to see the semantics of “production” 🙂 🙂 “:)

NASIM NATTABI October 15, 2013 at 8:45 am

Is it possible to use it on my veggie garden?

Daisy October 15, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Yes, it is very good for veggies.

Debbi esvelt November 30, 2013 at 7:11 am

Hurrah! This nasty stuff works! I’ve made it and used it in my veg patch for years and swear by it to encourage flowers and set fruit. It smells almost exactly like what I cleaned off and neighbor’s dairy floor in my youth!

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