Monday, September 24, 2007

Harvesting the Comfrey!

Today was the day. The last of this year's Comfrey leaves were harvested this morning. We've had temperatures dipping into the 40's a couple of times already, and Comfrey leaves can't take the cold. As soon as they are touched by frost, they turn to black slime. But today, it looked so pretty & I know this is going to make some wonderful Boo Boo Balm! I'll save some of the dried leaves for tea - just in case there are any broken bones or anything. It's better to be prepared, right? Anyway, here's a picture of the comfrey this morning, before the harvest. The comfrey is the large leaves in the foreground, in case you aren't familiar with it. The fence in the background surrounds my compost piles. Comfrey is a wonderful addition to compost, too! It makes the compost break down more quickly as well as adding all sorts of wonderful nutrients. When I harvest it, I take all of the lovely leaves from the top for making herbal products, & put the lower leaves (which have been touching the ground) into the compost. It's a perfect plan. In addition to using comfrey in my Boo Boo Balm, I put some in my Nettle Shampoo. It's a wonderful healer.

After gently harvesting all of the leaves, my helper, Kate & I strung a line of twine across the front of the garden shed to use as a drying rack. The shed is shaded most of the day & we aren't getting any rain for the rest of the week (I think), so I decided to risk an outdoor drying. We sat on the patio, & using needle & orange thread, so I could see it easily, we looped two or three leaves loosely together through the stems & then carefully draped them over the line of twine.
You might not think so to look at comfrey, but it's actually fairly delicate! It bruises easily, so you really need to handle it with care.
After Kate & I got the comfrey all hung up to dry, we worked on weeding and pruning in the labyrinth garden, but I didn't take any photos of that. Hopefully in a couple of weeks it will be in good enough shape to show you. And I can hardly wait to be able to walk the path again.


Tina Sams said...

oooohh! I love the way the comfrey looks hanging under the eaves of the garden shed.
Hard to believe that Autumn is here already!

Beth Owl's Daughter said...

What a lovely sight (and site!), Sarah. For only about the gazillionth time, I find myself wishing I lived closer to you! I'd be in your classes in a flash!

Can't wait to check in here with you every day!

Anonymous said...

Hello I liked the practical and informative, yet interesting way in which you have written about harvesting comfrey leaves.
I am a Pediatrician in India and I use herbs extensively in my practice. So I visit herbal websites and blogs regularly.

We have similar tattoos / paints in India, too!

Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

I love your descriptions and pictures! Can't wait for the garden pictures!

Anonymous said...

Your comfrey is beautiful! Thank you for sharing the great photos. Tonight I decided to do some online research of medicinal herb growers, after watching a PBS-WORLD documentary on Kenyan Artemisia-annua growers. (Now there is a market for it in East Africa as a component of an anti-malaria drug...)The beautiful plants and tiny green seedlings inspired me to see herb growers closer to home...PA!! my home state!