Friday, September 16, 2011
Posted by Kate at 12:11 PM
I posted earlier this year about two related projects to do with the comfrey plants. The first goal was to get rid of the comfrey in the garden proper, because since it was planted the garden has expanded and the comfrey is no longer holding down the corners, but mucking up what I'd like to have as a pathway. The second goal was to create a comfrey hedge along the northern edge of the garden with some of the rootstock I was trying to get rid of.
I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the hedge is a success. The tiny pieces of comfrey root that were transplanted in late February got very little help, and yet they've grown into a row of thriving plants. I did use a hand scythe a few times to cut back weeds and grass that grew up alongside the comfrey in spring and early summer. By mid-summer the comfrey clearly had the edge and was able to hold its own. I don't anticipate that it will require any further care. From now on, and for years to come, the comfrey hedge should hold the line on any grass or weeds that would otherwise encroach on that garden border. I've run the lawn mower right up to that edge of the garden several times, shredding large comfrey leaves that hang down. As expected, the comfrey shrugs off such incidental abuse. I'm definitely thinking about where else a comfrey hedge would be of use.
The possible downside that I worried about - that rodents would make themselves at home under the protection of the comfrey foliage - has come to pass. A few times I've seen rodents darting between the comfrey hedge and the raspberry canes. But I haven't noticed any significant crop damage that I can attribute to them, and we have a prodigiously talented hunter-cat. I know he's keeping all sorts of rodent populations in check (when he's not stoned, of course). So I'm content to let that ride.
As for the eradication part of the project, that's going about as I expected it would. I have cut back lush growth in the original locations at least five or six times this year. It keeps sending up leaves, just a bit slower and less abundant each time. I didn't expect to get rid of the comfrey in a single year, and clearly I haven't. I'm perfectly fine with that. I'll keep on with the reaping next year. If it manages to hang on to sprout after that, it surely won't have much oomph in the third year of the eradication project. I'll keep you posted.
If you need more information about why I'm growing comfrey in the first place, read about its wonders.