First year home owner, gardner, composter, and first year I've ever kept a plant alive for longer than a few weeks! I've always liked the idea of growing my own food and permaculture but never really had a reason to start researching until now. It became readily apparent how useful comfrey (bocking 14) is and it's one of the first additions to my property. I've read A LOT about it but I do have some remaining questions for those of you with more knowledge than I. If you dont mind filling in some gaps for me or offering some other information it would be so greatly appreciated! I am located in Minnesota.
1: Can you use comfrey concentrate for lawn care? The lawn at this new house is in serious decline and while I plan to aerate and re sead this fall, I was wondering if it would work to dilute it to the same 15:1 ratio and spray it on the lawn. How often should I do it if it would benefit from it?
2: Will comfrey benefit regular trees (deciduous or coniferous) or just fruit trees? I have some colorado blue spruce with a fungus and some other trees in back that are in decline and I would like to save them if possible. All I can find online is using comfrey with fruit trees but wasn't sure if other trees would benefit?
3: Are there any vegetables or plants in which I should not mulch with comfrey leaves or use the diluted concentrate for a foliar spray? I've read that some vegetable plants don't do too well with higher levels of nitrogen (like lettuce?) but wasn't sure if it makes a difference between organic products like comfrey or if it is more so for commercial fertilizers. How often should I use the diluted concentrate in the garden?
4: I've read mixed reviews about how much sun these plants like and calling for everything from full sun to mostly shade. Any input from you guys?
5: How much water do these things like? I've read they grow well around creeks or rivers, does this mean they need a lot of water? If so, that may play a role in determining where the comfrey patch will go. I've been watering these planters a little each day.
5: In the last few weeks I have acquired from friends and an online retailer a total of 6 root cuttings that are starting in some small planters, 8 small plants (about 1yr old) in 5 gallon buckets, and 4 large plants (3yrs old with about a 14" rootball) in some 10 gallon planters. I understand that planters are not the greatest for these due to their wanting to send deep roots. My problem is almost the entire back yard will soon be cleared of buckthorn, tore up, regraded a bit or worked in some manner or another here soon and I wasn't sure where the final resting place for these will be yet and I didn't want to accidentally spread the roots where I don't want them. I am hoping to keep them alive long enough (1-2 months) to place in the ground. Is this wishful thinking? I have them in a mix of 66% compost and 34% potting mix mulched on top with straw.
6: I have one spot along the back of the house where I think I can put the large comfrey plants to get them in the ground, my only hesitation is that we may end up adding 1-2' tall retaining wall (raised bed) there and raising that ground up. If I plant them now at ground level and we then decide we need or want to add the retaining wall, would the comfrey still grow up and through that additional ground?
7: There is one spot in the yard which wont be worked over much due to a nice cluster of some really large cottonwood trees (see picture). I've seen a lot of people plant hostas around tree bases but was thinking about using comfrey instead however I am not sure how to go about it. I've read the benefits of planting comfrey in fertile holes and filling them with chicken manure, compost, etc. but I am afraid of hitting or damaging some of the cottonwood roots. I've thought about building up the tree base area with soil and compost and then planting the comfrey but I've also read that you shouldn't add anything around tree bases except mulch or it will damage or kill the tree (is this true?) Any thoughts about how to do this, I think it would look really nice. Also, how far should I plant them around the tree bases, 3'?