Bocking 4 - Does it Exist in Australia?

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by JoeMerc, Jun 4, 2015.

  1. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    The Bocking 14 Cultivar

    Note the more pointed leaves.

    Stems are also thinner than Bocking 4 which means they decompose more quickly in compost.

    Generally considered to be the best garden variety because of a high level of potash in the leaves.

    These plants are 5 months old and the hybrid vigour can readily be observed.

    [​IMG]
     

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  2. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    This is the Lime tree mentioned in a previous post which was brought back from near death with the aid of Bocking 14 Comfrey and other organic fertilizers.

    Let's not forget however, the role of a heavy downpour of rain and some TLC

    View attachment 3058
     

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  3. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    My glorious Lisbon lemon tree - which contributed to my apathetic approach to the Lime tree.

    37 years of age.

    Still a heavy cropper - though not nearly the performer it was in its youth.

    At its peak, the lemons were enormous, about double the size currently and extremely prolific.

    So much so, that the sheer weight of the fruit would break the main branches.

    The only fertilizer I have given it in the past 5 years is the fallen lemons.

    I will be interested however, to see how it performs once the Bocking 14 Cultivar hits its stride in its second year and is used as a mulch.

    View attachment 3059
     

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  4. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Bocking 14 is a natural hybrid.

    As mentioned previously it displays hybrid vigour.

    Here are 2 photos which show the rapid rate of growth.


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  5. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    25 days later a photo taken from exactly the same position.

    Note these plants did not originate from crowns.
    Crowns are the primary part of the root system from which root cuttings can also be taken.

    They were propagated from small root cuttings.
    Crowns will normally establish more quickly and have a faster rate of growth.


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  6. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Bocking 14 has approximately a 6-8 foot root system when fully established.
    Bocking 4 has approximately an 8-10 foot root system which makes it a bit more drought resistant.

    Although this post may appear trivial to seasoned growers of comfrey, one of the questions I found myself asking as a first time grower of comfrey is just what do these huge roots look like in real life.

    So I thought I would call upon my full investigative powers and dig up a bit of dirt - literally.

    When I transplanted the Bocking 14 comfrey into the garden bed, they initially had a root system equivalent to the consistency of tomato seedlings.

    8 months later a root I found after some digging around was slightly larger than the thickness of a mans finger.

    View attachment 3069
     

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  7. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Interesting podcast about the safety of eating Comfrey.

    https://www.eatweeds.co.uk/podcast1

    The picture below shows on the left Common Comfrey (Symphytum Officinale), and on the right Russian Comfrey (Symphytum x Uplandicum)

    View attachment 3070
     

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  8. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    As a first year grower of Comfrey, one thing had me puzzled.

    In the book "Comfrey, Past, Present & Future" Lawrence D. Hills says that for Comfrey planted in spring, in about December or January in Australia (June or July in England) that the plants will throw up flower stems among their leaves.

    Well December & January went by without even a hint of a bloom. Odd, I thought.

    At this stage in his life, Hills had 25 years experience growing Comfrey. Not grown near the equator, it has a life span of 25 years, so he would have seen all that can happen in the life of a Comfrey plant.

    My Comfrey had no blooms. How could he be wrong??

    Or was there something I was missing hmmmm......:think:
     
  9. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    I found my answer in said book and some credit must be given to Wikipedia :)

    Root Set

    "This is a section cut off a tap root and if placed in soil with the small end downward will throw a large number of heads which do not always bloom the first year, but yield a large crop."

    The comfrey plants I purchased came in a 50mm x 75mm tube so they were only small root cuttings and they threw up a large number of heads of which none of them bloomed in the first year, but it did yield a large crop. Because there are no blooms, energy is expended on plant growth.

    Hills is saying that root cuttings do not always bloom in the first year, which means that some root cuttings do bloom in the first year.

    I would hazard a guess therefore, that large heavy duty root cuttings (not crowns) would be much more likely to bloom in the first year than small cuttings because they are more mature.

    "Another plan is to place the sets in a damp sack kept warm and moist in the dark: shoots are thrown out, and when 1/2 inch long the sets may be planted, and the shoots will bloom the first year."

    What I believe would be happening here is similar to what happens when you keep young plants in small pots for too long, the plant life is reduced and because of this the plant flowers early in an attempt to reproduce before it dies. Plant hormones kick in to enable premature flowering.

    Plant hormones are chemicals that regulate plant growth, produced within the plant, and occur in extremely low concentrations. (Wikipedia)

    Crown Set

    "This is taken from the root of the plant near the surface of the ground and the smallest piece forms a crown set that blooms at once." (relatively speaking I believe)

    I think this can be likened to grafting where the root similar to the graft is physiologically more mature and thus is equipped to bloom earlier
    The greater food reserve of a crown compared to the root cutting will also stimulate growth more quickly.
     
  10. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Hmmm... not sure what went wrong with the last posting of root cuttings and crown cutting in last post.

    It showed 2 pics one of root cutting and one of crowns when I looked at it last.

    The system for posting pics appears to be very buggy.

    =========================================================

    A couple of Youtube links concerning Comfrey

    One analysis of the N.P.K of Comfrey and mineral accumulation

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqjW4EtUCe8


    Grow your own fertilizer – Bocking 14 Comfrey

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFDd0Osm6cY
     
  11. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Ok so my last pic has disappeared. Makes the last entry almost pointless.

    This will be my last posting in this thread, at least for now, even though I had still had ideas for future postings- but these involved pics.

    Im finding it frustrating putting pics up and having them inexplicably changed or deleted.

    Thanks for reading people.

    Hope you enjoyed this thread and learned something from it.

    JoeMerc
     
  12. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi Joe,
    I'm not sure what's going on with your photos. Your apple forest pic is attachment ID 3076. Your next pic is attachment ID 3077 (next in the sequence) ... but llamas show up instead of your root cuttings.
    Your attached pic of your winter garden bed post shows no attachment code within the post (not sure why unless you've reached your forum upload total filesize limit).
    While attaching photos to a post works ... sometimes ... there are multiple issues with doing so. There are quite limited size constraints to each photo and there is a maximum total size allowance to each forum member's uploads to the forum software. Many times members have reached their total size limitations and are unable to post more attachments, at least until they go back and delete some (and sometimes that doesn't even work!).

    The best way to include a photo within a forum post is to upload the photo to a photo hosting site, such as photobucket or imagur, or google pics. Then when including your photo in a post, select the "from URL" tab in the dialogue box, paste in the direct link to the photo from the hosting site, and uncheck the little box that says "Retrieve remote file and reference locally".
    This method works every time, there are no limits to photo size or resolution, and the forum software can't mess anything up within the database (databases are notoriously susceptible to corruption for any number of reasons). It also takes a significant load off the forum server (images take lots of storage memory) and helps keep the PRI's costs to provide these forums down. Further, you will have a permanent photo repository under your control containing all of your posted photos for future reference and they'll be protected from any disc crash events on your home PC.

    OBTW, your many posts on this subject of comfrey are greatly appreciated ... especially as evidenced by the more than 2700 views of your thread!
     
  13. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Hi Bill

    I have taken note of the constraints associated with forum software/databases for future reference and your explanation as to how to circumvent these.

    Each photo I posted, I made as small as possible without jeopardizing image quality too much, because I am aware servers have limited space.

    Thank you for that!

    It is nice to be appreciated. :)

    Joe
     
  14. S.O.P

    S.O.P Moderator

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    Hi Joe,

    My apologies also for not voicing my appreciation for your work. I love it when people "go crazy" for a plant (I've been known to do it myself) and I've read every post you've made, though the photos at times have been a little wonky.

    Personally, I use www.imgur.com with an account and it hasn't failed me yet.
     
  15. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Thanks. Glad you enjoyed my postings!

    As for the photos being a little wonky, that is an understatement. :think:

    I just noted that my patch of winter Comfrey which disappeared has now "morphed" into some guy in a grassland with some trees and a fence. Again a photo I have never seen.

    As for the imgur site, I had a quick look at it and I was almost tempted to sign up and upload something. But I decided not to at the moment because of time constraints.

    As for going "crazy for a plant" yes that is probably true. You will notice however that people who are extremely good in their field are generally a bit obsessive about what they do.

    One quote - though for the life of me I cant remember who said it, has always stuck in mind.

    A famous physicist was asked by a student.

    How do you get extremely good at your job?

    The physicist replied "Make your job your hobby".

    I would say this applies unequivocally to a certain Lawrence D Hills :)
     
  16. Raymondo

    Raymondo Junior Member

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    That photo is from another thread, on growing trees fast. Weird. I too have appreciated your posts. Keep it up. I'm in the process of planting out a mixed orchard/food forest and have put comfrey near every tree planted.
     
  17. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    Oh so that is where it came from!!

    Glad you appreciated my postings. Thank you.

    Interesting changes they have made to the forum website hmm.....

    Gees. Until a couple of months ago I had never heard of a food forest.

    I suppose if I had a bit of land I would probably do the same, given I had time.
     
  18. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    I don't know if I will add to this this thread, but given that there are no longer limits on the time allowed to edit postings, I will at least remove some of the ridiculous pics which made a mockery of some of the postings and replace them with the intended pics, as I feel inclined and when I have time.
     
  19. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    This is an edit and update of one of my previous postings, which has now been deleted.

    This is a pic for novice Comfrey growers.

    I can recall wondering what Comfrey looked like when it dies back in winter.

    The Bocking 14 Culitivar in its first year peaked in terms of size at 2.5 feet high and 3.5-4 feet in width

    I only gave it a very light cutting so it could establish its root system in the first year. I left the foliage in place to break down so it will feed the plant when spring arrives and it begins to sprout.

    I used some leaves on the lime tree, which sorely needed some help.

    What was interesting to note was that the leaves died from the ground upwards, so leaves up top are last to die.

    Height has decreased to about 2 inches.

    This is the Comfrey garden bed as it looks at the moment - 20th August 2015 in winter.

    When the comfrey has completely died off, which I expect will be about the end of August in Melbourne it will be the perfect time to give it
    a heavy manuring and compost.

    I have mentioned mentioned previously that compost alone is not ideal for Comfrey because it releases its nitrogen too slowly for Comfrey
    which grows at a rapid rate.

    However being a living organism soil still requires humus to function properly.

    Incidentally, Comfrey does not leave a lot of humus when it breaks down because it does not contain a lot of fibre.

    Lawrence Hills believed that straw deep litter compost was ideal because it broke down to a good humus in addition to providing manure.

    So a heavy manuring and the addition of compost is a better solution than simply manuring alone.



    [​IMG]
     
  20. JoeMerc

    JoeMerc Junior Member

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    This is an edit of one of my previous postings which had pics replaced erroneously.


    Root Set

    "This is a section cut off a tap root and if placed in soil with the small end downward will throw a large number of heads which do not always bloom the first year, but yield a large crop."

    [​IMG]

    Crown Set

    "This is taken from the root of the plant near the surface of the ground and the smallest piece forms a crown set that blooms at once." (relatively speaking)

    [​IMG]
     

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