Propagating Comfrey

Easter Sunday was a grey day, it didn’t actually rain until the evening but you had the feeling that it could start to pour down at any moment. It’s pretty frustrating as there are some jobs I can’t do in the rain as they involve electric power tools.

Putting the raised beds together is one and cutting back a hawthorn hedge being another. I’ve got an electric chainsaw which is perfectly adequate to the hedge but it involves stringing two long extension cables together. Electric and water just don’t mix.

The hedge is one of those jobs that needs doing but it can be put off, I’d planned on doing it months ago but there’s always been something to just do first. I suppose it’s waited 20 years so another few weeks won’t make much difference.

Anyway, grey days and wet days are what sheds are for. I sowed some calabrese. My favourite variety being Chevalier (Organic Catalogue). These went into modules, 15 per tray, with two seeds per module. These are started in the greenhouse and will move into 3″ pots before being hardened off and planted out.

The next item to go in were dwarf runner beans, var. Hestia. The thing with these is that they can be grown in pots inside the greenhouse. If the weather goes back to wonderful then they can go outside in a bed. It’s too early for normal runner and French beans but these dwarf ones should do well in the greenhouse.

We’re very short of home grown vegetables now. The freezers are pretty empty and bought in veg just doesn’t have the taste. We prefer our own frozen veg to most bought in fresh.

Finally I sowed a load of broad beans, variety Witkiem. These are in 3″ pots outside the greenhouse but sheltered by it. Normally I’d sow direct with just a few spares in pots but since the beds aren’t built, starting in pots buys me some time.

Propagating Comfrey

When we moved I forgot to bring some of my comfrey with me. I wasn’t too worried as I put a free advert up for a chap in Anglesey who was selling cuttings and he promised me some. When I called in the favour he was moving so that was a bust.

Anyway, I told our neighbours about this and they kindlydropped a clump of comfrey off. The first job was to wash the soil off the roots so I could see what I was doing. I then basically cut them up.

The pieces at the top with leaves on should take off very quickly. I cut the leaves back to about an inch. The reason for this is that plants lose moisture through the leaves and until the root structure has developed, they cannot replace this.

The root part below was just cut into chunks, about an inch to 2 inches long. Comfrey is very easy to propagate being as it will grow from a small piece of root but this can also be a problem as you can end up with plants where you don’t want them.

Final score from half an established plant was 32 potential new plants in pots. I’m expecting 100% success based on past experience. I’ll clear a plot for them with glyphosate enrich the soil in the planting holes with some general fertiliser to make sure they take off well. Once established they’ll suppress weed growth and not need much attention apart from taking a cut. There’s more on comfrey here: Comfrey Bocking 14

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
9 comments on “Propagating Comfrey
  1. richard says:

    Hi John.

    I did all the usual with my Bocking 14 comfrey. Started them in pots, hardened them in the cold frame , put them out with good compost and fertilizer dug in. But they just didn’t seem too happy. Then today I saw the plants had been destroyed by slugs (I think). Will they recover or should I order more? I must be the only gardener who can’t grow comfrey !

  2. Phil says:

    Hi John,
    My wife and three young childern and myself have just taken on a allotment and we have Comfrey coming up all over , please can you advise how to control without using any chemicals.


  3. Phil says:

    Good job they are all young and fit because my back has just started hurting!!!

  4. Craig says:

    Friday 20th April 2012
    Hi there my family and I have just taken on our first allotment and are a little unsure what we should be planting at this time. The plot has already been ploughed and rotavated, and we would like to know what our first step should be the plot is 20 ft x 40 ft? , what preparation do we need to do in order to get started ASAP and get the best out of our first season, we realise that it will be a lot of luck and trial and error with a lot of hard work but we know the beast reward will be putting our first meal on the table with food we have grown for our selves.
    We all like the usual every day vegetables, beans, roots and salads.
    With thanks Craig and family

  5. Vincent Bodinier says:

    Hi, Could you explain why it is useful to grow comfrey in one’s garden. I am a bit confused as you wrote it is for suppressing weed growth. Is comfrey not a weed? Will it not use up nutrients to the detriment of other plants in the garden?

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