Cossack Comfrey, Nettle Nosh and Worm Wee


From – an interesting business selling organic plant fertilisers and a helpful website to visit.

You can make liquid fertilisers yourself, with little effort but this comes with a warning, since the smell of the macerating greenery, in the case of nettles and comfrey, can be quite… rich? Well, actually, Awful…. Isabel Hardman writing in the Guardian Gardening blog, describes her bucket of elixir as looking and smelling like Black Death… read on –

From the Guardian 15th June 2009 – I shall be trying Chilli con Aphids as they are out and about already, enjoying the mild weather. No frosts or significant cold periods to have checked the population.

Time for a brew: how to make comfrey tea and more

Guest blogger Isabel Hardman of the blog Fennel and Fern reveals her favourite recipes for potions to aid the organic gardener

Comfrey leaves make a great ‘tea’ for feeding plants. 

My next door neighbour is eyeing me with suspicion. It’s not just that 10 minutes ago I trotted home from work and swapped stilettos for wellies. Neither is it my stubborn refusal to borrow his Roundup. There are, believe me, many reasons why he should fling disapproving looks at me through his clematis. But the main reason is that I’m crouched over a bucket containing something looking – and smelling – like the Black Death.

I love making potions for my garden, and fragrant comfrey tea is just one of them. What could be more satisfying than brewing up your own organic recipes? Or, for that matter, cheaper?

Over the past few years, I have learnt to raid my flowerbeds and fridge to keep my plants happy. And the results are marvellous. Slugs bypass pea seedlings. Sunflowers and pumpkins swell visibly, fat and content after a homegrown meal. And instead, I can spend my hard-earned cash on important things, like plants. Here are four of my favourite recipes:

1. Comfrey tea
– A nice bundle of comfrey leaves
– A bucket of water
Brew a fertiliser with more potash and nitrogen than commercial feeds. Place chopped comfrey leaves at the bottom of a bucket. Weigh down with a brick, fill bucket with water, and cover for three weeks before diluting, one part ‘tea’ to 10 parts comfrey.

2. Garlic gourmet

– 2 garlic bulbs, peeled and crushed
– 1 teaspoon chilli powder
Slugs stay well away after smelling this brew. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the chilli and garlic, and simmer for 30 minutes Decant into a spray bottle and apply to your plants as needed: boiling the garlic up is a bit stinky, so I try to be pretty conservative with the spraying.

3. Tomato-tastic soil
– Fresh garden compost
– Powdered milk
– Eggshells, crushed to a powder
– Comfrey leaves, shredded
Banish blight and coax more crops with this soil mixture. Combine one part comfrey and one part eggshell and powdered milk to 10 parts soil and stir well. Use for potting up tomato plants: growing in containers can help to defend against blight.

4. Chilli con aphids

– 8 chillis
– 500ml water
– Soap flakes
Dice the chillis, and add, with the soap and water to a spray bottle. Shake well and spray over plants suffering pest attack

From Gardeners’ World, a step by step pictorial guide to several such teas…

For Worm casting tea – there are lots of videos out there on t’internet – it is more involved, but converts swear by it!

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