Comfrey Heaven

Thank you again, Freecycle!

A while ago I put up a wanted notice in my local Freeycle group for comfrey plants. My first contact fell through, and then I forgot about it, until yesterday, when a local man contacted me. I went by this morning and  discovered… heaven!

L and S live in a cul-de-sac that is all lawns. Azaleas and arbor vitae abound,  but it’s mostly grass: sloping, cut very short, and sprinkled. Then you get to L and S’s place which… stands out. Their tiny bungalow is hardly noticeable in the dark jungle that is the front yard, darkened by towering pine trees and scraggly, half-bald spruces, all overgrown with vinca. There’s a rusted old car in the driveway, and paint cans. It smells sweet: something is flowering, but you can’t quite see what…

Now follow a side “path” of rotten boards sunk into the mud to enter the backyard and have your mind blown.

It used to be all raised vegetable beds, L tells me, but she could no longer work them, so they decided to let it grow into a raspberry field. And boy, did the raspberries oblige! There is also mint of all kinds gone rampant, and lovage, and wildflowers. Oh, and comfrey. Patches, like islands in a sea of raspberry canes, of two varieties, near to a hundred of them, some as tall as me!

I dug and lifted while chatting with L, hoping she wouldn’t find me greedy, but thinking they might need help clearing the comfrey a bit.  Now I know what they mean by invasive, uncontrollable, and “compost crop”. L says by June these plants will be even bigger, leafier, fatter…

After a good half hour I had hardly made a dent, but it was all I could fit into my station wagon. L also gave me some of each of the four kinds of mint she could find, and some lovage.

Such dear and interesting people. They were the first to know what I was talking about  when I explained the intended permaculture setup at our place. L and S went all the NOFA meetings since they started and saw J.I. Rodale speak. For decades they grew their own vegetables, organically of course, but now they are happy with their 400 pounds of raspberries each year. Only they and their friends are getting on in age and can no longer do all that picking.

I offered my leftover asparagus plants in return for the comfrey and will go and help L clear a patch for them. And they invited me to come and help pick raspberries, and we’ll split the pickings!

I’ll get a picture of the transplants when it stops raining. I am so glad for the rain: my barrels empty out too fast now that all the beds are in operation, and the transplants do well in the rain.

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  1. Wow! Score! I’d love to find someone in my area who wanted to thin comfrey. It’s one of the plants I’m hoping to add a lot more of.

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