Grown your own – Support species

Comfrey 13-4-21
Comfrey 13-4-21

We don’t just grow fruit and vegetables here at Tullamore Farm. 

We also grow a lot of support plants that are sacrificed to be used as mulch and for compost.

Growing support crops provides quality inputs to your growing areas at minimal cost. They can also be used to distract the birds and other wildlife and reducing the risk and need for them to target your more prized fruits and vegetables.

Cafe Metz

Things like Arrowroot, Pigeon Pea, Cassava, Bana Grass and trees like Mulberries and Panama Berries.  

One of our favourites though is Comfrey. Comfrey is a very special plant in that it also has many healing properties. We have hundreds of Comfrey plants here and the photo attached shows they are not large but they have very deep tap roots which allows them to bring a lot of minerals and nutrients to the surface.

When harvesting, we just cut all the leaves off, reducing the plant back to close to ground level. Within days it is back sprouting and each plant grown here probably gets harvested five or six times per year. 

Tests in the United Kingdom show that one plant can provide five and a half kilograms of usable leaf mass per year. We think it is more than that here. When harvesting I tend to use gloves as the leaves have really fine hairs which can be a bit itchy. 

It is wonderful in compost. Besides being full of minerals and useful nutrients it acts as an accelerator, breaking down quickly which helps to heat the compost pile.  We also use it as chop and drop by simply spreading the chopped off leaves under fruit trees as a mulch. 

We have Comfrey growing along garden borders and under fruit trees and particularly along the drip line where it will suppress weeds.  It is quite lush and has attractive white/ purple flowers. 

The minute they start to flower we harvest all those wonderful green leaves. Our Native Bees and European Bees have plenty of other tucker provided here.