Tuesday, June 11, 2013

the considerate companion

in my previous post, I made mention of uncovering the remnants of what was most likely once a flourishing and productive garden. the reason I came to such conclusion was as I stumbled up the muddy slope towards the neighbouring fence, I happened to fall (gracefully) over and land not only on some sweet composty smelling soil, but too just near a flourishing patch of the ever reliable garden soldier; comfrey. 

for those of you who may not have come across this reliable garden friend yet, I am ever so happy to introduce you. Comfrey is not only one of the most vigorous and hardy nutrient recyclers; it is also a plant that can establish pretty well anywhere (read: bombproof). Its tap root breaks up compacted soils and as such brings oxygen, life and much needed nutrients back into the soil. Its lush low growing thick leaves provide a great green crop to any area and if/when cut back a fantastic green mulch. 

getting my enthusiastic thrift on, I returned to said site spade in hand and promptly dug up three huge comfrey corms (yes, total overload.) propagation ensued and happily I now have a flourishing army of comfries ready to be planted out and given away. 

one of this plants main strengths; its vigour, can often also be its main weakness too. however its probably much more to do with the planning of the garden by the gardener rather than the plant itself. the trick is to plant it in a place where it doesn't have to be moved as it has a somewhat scary tendency to multiply and spread if disturbed. a really good spot is at the bottom of the garden or veggie patch particularly if it happens to be on a slope as it can then act as a nutrient catching barrier that will catch and store all the lovely goodness trying to slip away from the site down the hill. If you're lucky enough to have some animals at your place (hello chickens and ducks), they can be a really helpful way of bringing these 'caught' nutrients back up into the garden and hence the whole system

just to add another feather to this plant's cap, the leaves are also great when made into a paste for muscular aches and pains. so there you have it, a little feature on little plant that goes a long way in the garden...

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