If you’ve been keeping up then
your better than me you know about the Great Potato Experiment 2015. Here’s the second installment in what will no doubt be a victory for me!! If you remember, we planted one row with comfrey in the bottom of the trench, and the next step will be to use liquid fertilizer made from decomposed comfrey. Here’s what I’ve done so far, and I will add the finished product to this post when it’s ready….
Step One: Grow Some Comfrey
Mine has bloomed, made seed and bloomed some more. If you can make out the tiny bit of red in the center of the pic, that’s actually the side of the raised bed that’s supposed to contain it. It never ever does. There are a million seeds dropped there every year and that spot has actually become comfrey that I mow, which my husband will be super mad about someday when his alfalfa field (off further to the left) is riddled. This stuff spreads by root like nobody’s business! They say the seed rarely does, but I planted six seeds in six different spots hoping one would take and they all did!! It took me four years to eradicate it from my front yard! The tiniest bit of root left will grow so if you know someone who grows comfrey, that will be your easiest option. But if you don’t, find some seeds. I got mine from FEDCO.
Step Three: Make a giant comfrey tea bag. I cut everything that was hanging out of my box and put it in an old pillow case. Any kind of chemical free bag will work fine. It’s probably not necessary if you can’t find something, but it makes things a lot simpler. (You’re going to weigh it down in the water to keep everything submerged, so loose plant material would be harder to keep submerged.) I went ahead and cut my plant pieces (stocks, leaves, flowers and all) into probably 8-10 inch pieces so that they would start breaking down faster.
Step Four: Steep your tea. Put your giant tea bag in any container it will fit in, and cover completely with your prepared or collected water. I could only find a small bucket when rain was coming and I thought of it, so I’ll add more the next time my bucket fills up again (I have it in the drip line of a metal roof). Mine is fully submerged though (dispite the giant air bubble to the top of the pic) and the piece of brick will hold it down. Right now my container is only about a third full, so if I get my water level to 2/3 and my comfrey just in the bottom third, I’ll still dilute the finished product by about 70-75%. This stuff is potent, and a little goes a long way. Dilute it more than you think because too much will burn up your plants!
Put a lid on it in a sunny place and wait a week. Maybe two weeks. Well, I have a tendency to over do things so I’ll probably keep stirring mine around every day or two like a real cup of tea, but I don’t think you have to. Once you take your lid or wood or whatever you’ve covered it with off a few times and get a whiff of it you may refrain from doing it so often. It’s not that it stinks any worse than what you’d expect bubbly green brew to, but it’s at least as bad as you’d expect.
I won’t post on this again until my potatoes are like 12 feet tall and super incredible, but I’ll add to this over the next week or so as my tea gets done. (Yeah, about that friendly potato growing competition…my husband’s original potato crop is better than knee high and blooming like crazy…so I really don’t see myself catching up. By the time mine are catching up (right now they’re still popping out of the ground) his will be wilting down, so it won’t really be fair. Still a useful experiment and I’m still going to say I win.)
Just in case my husband reads this To be fair, all of the potatoes growing on my property belong to all of us, and without my husband preparing and helping tend the gardens we wouldn’t have anything near as wonderful, beautiful and prolific. (On the other hand, I hoed “his” potatoes today so if his are better it’s only cause I helped.)