Finally! Comfrey

I've wanted to grow comfrey for several years now, ever since learning about its herbal properties and medicinal use.

Until now, I've bought dried comfrey from my local health food store to use in my salves. That worked just fine, but I'd like to be able to produce my own. It has so many more uses.

It wasn't as easy as buying a packet of seeds though. I wanted the Russian variety of comfrey called "Bocking No. 14" which doesn't grow true from seed, it has to be grown from root cuttings. That meant buying some roots online.

I'd been given some recommendations of places online to buy comfrey roots, but ultimately I decided to support a "little guy" and buy them from Rise and Shine Rabbitry.

I had to wait until the rabbitry folks were able to dig the comfrey in the spring, much later in Maine than spring in Oklahoma. 

When it was time (I'd stuck a post-it note in my planner to remind me) I placed my order for four large root cuttings. The box arrived just as promised, but now I was rethinking where I should plant them, since our neighbor's cows had come visiting again and had eaten that area down to the ground. 

Plus I was frantically getting ready for all of our children and their spouses and children to descend on us for a family wedding, so I set the box down and...

...two months later I remembered the comfrey! 

I opened the box, expecting to find dried-out roots that I desperately hoped would revive if I soaked them in water overnight before planting. 

The roots were packed in a plastic shopping bag which was wound tight and taped shut. Another bag inside that one was also tightly wrapped and taped. And inside that one I found a packet of still-damp newspaper enclosing the large brown roots, with white shoots growing from the ends. 

Those roots had thrived inside their damp, dark package for two months and were full of life and vitality!

I can't say enough about the care the seller put into wrapping, packing and shipping my purchase. 

The webpage said that they include extras in the package to help make up for the shipping costs. I'd ordered four large roots, and there were two small roots in the package as well.

I did soak the roots in water for about ten minutes and wrapped them in paper toweling overnight before planting them, just in case. 

I still haven't figured out the perfect place to plant them - you would think that I could decide on a spot somewhere on our forty acres, wouldn't you? But I don't want those errant cows to wipe out the patch before it's well established.

Comfrey doesn't like containers, it prefers to thrust its roots deep into the soil. Those long roots bring up minerals to ground level, which makes them accessible to shallow-rooted plants and is one of the advantages of growing this plant. 

But I planted them - temporarily - in a metal tub near the herb garden because they needed to go in the dirt immediately. 

This way I can keep an eye on them as they grow too. I'll transplant them later to another place - or several places. Yes, two patches might be a good idea, don't you think?

Just in case...

The wire top keeps my dogs from digging in the dirt.

About a week ago the first green leaves popped out of the ground, and this morning there are four little plants. I have my own comfrey!

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