Time To Take Root Cuttings and Establish a Comfrey Patch

Comfrey is often described as the most useful of weeds. It has a variety of uses in a permaculture garden and in all organic gardens for that matter. Establishing a comfrey patch is a good way of ensuring that your garden stays productive and that you can continue to harvest high yields of edible or useful crops year after year.

Establishing a comfrey patch in your garden is an easy thing to do. You can buy plants or, and this is the route that most gardeners take, you can propagate the comfrey from root cuttings. The kind of comfrey that we routinely find in the UK is sterile and produces no seeds, which is a very good thing because we want our comfrey to stay where we put it and not take over the whole garden! The problem is, once established, comfrey is almost impossible to eradicate or remove it entirely, which is why where it is a weed it can be a real problem.

Comfrey is difficult to remove because of its long roots. It is sections of these roots which we can use to establish a comfrey patch in our new or improved gardens. Now is the time to take those root sections, which can be taken from the patches of other gardens and can often be found for sale online, and plant them. Where the soil and conditions are ideal you can probably get away with planting them in situ but usually it is a good idea to place these root segments into pots and keep them indoors or in a greenhouse or polytunnel until the shoots appear. By doing this now you will be able to plant them out when the weather has warmed up. The last frost will be past by then for most of us and you will be able to give your comfrey the best possible start.

When establishing a comfrey patch, it is a good idea to mulch around your young plants to make sure that they do not have any competition from other, less useful weeds. Until they become established there may be some weeds to get rid of, though mulching will reduce the need for weeding considerably. Once established, the comfrey will grow together and nothing else will get a look in. Be sure to leave enough space between the comfrey plants to allow them to reach their full size, when they can provide a surprising amount of vegetation for your compost heap and garden.

It is also essential when establishing your patch that you make absolutely certain that you have chosen the right location and will not want to move the plants later. This is almost impossible due to the long roots. So plan your garden layout carefully and remember that the comfrey patch will be there for some time to come.

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