Were you in the Bedfordshire area on Bank Holiday Monday?
if you drove past a shifty, cagoule-wearing individual skulking in the greenery of a grass verge, hacking away at plants, that was probably me.
I'd eyeballed a huge stand of comfrey plants on either side of the road several times before deciding to swing by and bag a few sackfuls for my compost heap. (I bang on quite a lot in my book about what a wondrous plant comfrey is but you can learn more about it here, too.) I have got a Bocking 14 comfrey (ideal because it doesn't set seed) on my plot but I needed serious quantities to kickstart the compost, so I filled a few sacks.
As I cut down the plants in the drizzle two bizarre thoughts occurred to me: one, how would I explain what I was up to if I found a dead body and had to report it to the police? (It was one of those slightly scuzzy laybys bejewelled with the occasional stray crisp packet as well as the lilac and blue of comfrey flowers, and I think I've been watching too much police procedural drama of late). Second thought: how far would I go in search of good fertiliser? I am sure if I lived near the sea I'd be regularly combing the beach for seaweed in the rain, too.
Other than putting it straight onto the compost heap, you can stuff some leaves into an old pair of tights or string bag and stick the lot in a bucket of water - ideally lidded to keep in the smell and keep out the mozzies. After a fortnight to a month, when the water really stinks and is black - drain it off and dilute with 10 parts water and use as a liquid feed. Works a treat, but make sure anyone with a good sense of smell is downwind or you might have to apply the smelling salts.
Incidentally, I found myself chuckling knowingly when I saw Joe Swift planting comfrey on a lovely-looking bed on his allotment on Gardeners World. "Joe, Joe, Joe", I said to the telly. Why give space in a nice bed like that when you could stick that comfrey somewhere inhospitable and it would still thrive? I caught myself: I had become what I most despise, the annoying person who leans on their spade and shakes their head at your technique as you toil on the plot. Actually although comfrey will grow pretty much anywhere, it's a rather attractive plant as a centrepiece to a herb bed (which is what Joe was working on, I think) and I am sure it'll attract a lot of bees, too.
As I said in my previous post, I am giving up my allotment. I know the theory - well most of it anyway - but I just don't have time to carry it out. Thanks for all your kind comments, everyone: it's lovely to know you're all going to keep reading.