Comfrey Tea in 2l Bottles

Two litre bottles are so incredibly useful in the garden – from cloches to pots, I’ve put them to a fair few uses.  The latest use, though, is as a container for what has been promised to be one of the smelliest of home-made fertilisers: comfrey concentrate.   There are two ways to make comfrey fertiliser – as a ‘tea’ where you steep the leaves in water or as a concentrate where you smush the leaves and let them rot into a goop.  Either way, you use the result, diluted, on plants which like a fair bit of potash – such as tomatoes.  It also gives a fair feed of nitrogen and phosphorous – much like other fertilisers you can buy in the shops.  Why not just buy fertiliser then then?  Well, comfrey is cheap, grows fast, and I know what’s gone into making my fertiliser.  It’s not entirely ‘organic’ as some would see it – since it’s an instant feeding boost rather than a long-term soil conditioner – but with so much of my garden in containers I know I’m always going to have to use some kind of fertiliser and this seems the lesser of two evils.

So why the 2l bottles?  I have a small garden, as is often mentioned, and I don’t have any spare buckets or bins (if I had a spare bin it’d have compost in it!).  I needed something little which was on-hand and could be tucked away in a corner, but was also waterproof enough to contain the resultant goop.  Therefore I made up a container with two 2l bottles and one 1l bottle!

I took two 2l bottles, cut the top off of on and the bottom off of the other.  Taking one of the bottle caps, I drilled a small hole in it.  This was put back on the bottle which still had a top and that bottle was put, cap end down, inside the other bottle.  This leaves us with a ‘reservoir’ for the goop to fall into and a section into which to shove leaves.  The next step is to fashion a weight – I grabbed a 1l bottle and filled it with garden pebbles.  I stripped my nearest comfrey patch, until it looked rather sorry for itself, smushed them into the top of the two bottles and weighed it all down with the smaller bottle.  I then secured the (slightly unwieldy) contraption in a quiet corner with some stones / bricks.

This is the comfrey before and after:

I didn’t ravage it too much as this is only its second year and the soil its in is probably a little more free-draining than it’d like so it may take a wee bit longer to recover.

This is mostly a capital E ‘Experiment’ and it remains to be seen how well the contraption works.  If it does, I’ll be happy, if not then lesson learned and I have a wee pile of comfrey for the compost heap!


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