I'm in SW Ontario, Canada, where it gets a little chilly at times. Last spring, I added some raised beds using 1' lattice. I put down a layer of chicken coop shavings and built the beds up with dirt and compost, with some rabbit manure as well, with mulch on top. I planted 3 comfrey plants in the new bed and had a great garden last year, but I didn't get around to digging up my comfrey to take to my new place.
A couple of days ago I broke through the snow and ice to try to dig out the comfrey, expecting no joy. I was surprised, not only that the plants were easy to dig up, but to find green shoots on the comfrey under the ice, and seemingly as many worms and other soil life as I'd find in the other 2 seasons. When gardening, I can't even dig with a hand trowel without finding at least one earthworm.
My plan is to start farming full-time, with an emphasis on MIG pasturing for cattle, pigs, and chickens. My first thought was that the comfrey would be a fantastic forage if it got such a head start with growth under the snow, but I then realised that the soil may be more responsible for the comfrey's green shoots than the comfrey. It's been around 0-20*F around here for weeks and, being raised (3' wide), I would have expected the soil to be frozen.
So, I guess my question is: What's the cause of the comfrey's growth, plant hardiness or soil quality? As a follow-up does anyone here use comfrey as a significant portion of their forage? If so, can you tell me when to expect it to start growing in the spring? I guess my third question is does anyone have any recent resources that give a break-down of comfrey's nutrition profile, ie protein, energy, etc? I've seen numbers anywhere from 10-35% for protein.
Something Ive noticed: In temperate norcal, my comfrey dies quick once the rains and coolth arrive, but the last deep dark winter we had, there was a week long false-spring (destroyed most of my first-year woody growth guys :< ) but the comfrey sprouted green and remained so when the snow and ice returned... seemed like it made up its mind to resprout and not die once it got a taste of spring.
"It might have been fun to like, scoop up a little bit of that moose poop that we saw yesterday and... and uh, put that in.... just.... just so we know." - Paul W.
Hey, sticks and stones baby. And maybe a wee mention of my stuff: