comfrey becoming a weed

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by nicole, Oct 16, 2006.

  1. Cornonthecob

    Cornonthecob Junior Member

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    According to Isabell Shipard's book on herbs Aztec Sweet Herb is very sweet, however the leaves contain camphor which may be toxic if ingested in large amounts (anyone's guess what a large amount might be). So it can be eaten, but is reccomended only in small amounts.
     
  2. cathy

    cathy Junior Member

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    Chickadee - Thanks for the piccies - they do look nice. Go well with the pretty yellow nasturtiums there too. And thank you kindly for the offer of root cuttings. I will PM you separately to discuss.

    Scottie - re Stevia. Already answered by Coronthecob and Jez. Several of my friends have Type II diabetes, and I have a low sugar tolerance myself. So I want to experiment with using Stevia as a sweetener in place of sugar.

    MonteGoulding - the link shows it as Lippia dulcis (which my poor old Latin interprets as "sweet Lippia"). Never heard of it so interested if others have any comment.
     
  3. MonteGoulding

    MonteGoulding Junior Member

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    Just found a stevia seedling at Bunnings for 3 bucks;-)
     
  4. ho-hum

    ho-hum New Member

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    Jez,

    I live in the tropics and had 100% failure rate with the stevia seeds I bought off ebay. This is my first total failure with seeds. I didnt even get any to the cotyledon stage.

    I will leave it a while and try again.


    cheers

    mike
     
  5. Jez

    Jez Junior Member

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    Yeah, from what I've heard you're a long way from being the first person to have 100% non-germination Mike.

    At least in the tropics we don't have to have the hassle and expense of a heating pad, checking temps etc, which makes it a little easier. From memory they require 25-26C to germinate.

    I figure they must be really fragile or one of those seeds like Angelica where you really have to sow them fresh for a good germination rate.

    For some reason, I'm fairly sure you can't import Stevia plants or seeds into QLD...I was going to check up on that a while back but didn't end up getting around to it. On the flip-side, I know of someone in Brisbane who bought a Stevia plant at Bunnings - just like Monte - yet rare plant nurseries and seed sellers exclude QLD sales, just like with cane sugar.

    It's a bit of a puzzle...can't see that they'd be very likely of self-sowing and running rampant, and I've never heard of a thriving Stevia industry up here which needs to protect its strains.
     
  6. Paul Cereghino

    Paul Cereghino Junior Member

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    I wonder if comfrey needs specific conditions to produce viable seed (it certainly flowers!) Like presence of a pollinator, or weather during pollination, or maturation time, or it is a sporadic seeder like bamboo or knotweed... There are ornamental plants that don't produce seed in my neck of the woods because their ecology doesn't fit local conditions.
     
  7. cathy

    cathy Junior Member

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    I have not anything that explains why comfrey is so hard to grow from seed. From what others have said, it is specifically Russian Comfrey that is sterile (yet also the most desirable to grow). I wonder if that it is because it is a cross - a bit like you can cross a horse and donkey and get an ass, but it is sterile...
     
  8. cathy

    cathy Junior Member

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    Regarding refrigerating the comfrey seeds...

    I thought I would mention something that was on an old re-run of Gardening Australia regarding putting seeds in the fridge. The article was about how they had been researching the Wollemi Pine to try and reproduce it. The botanist said they had found the seeds need to be "stratified" (I think that was the word - sounds like it means having layers separated or something). Anyway to do this they refrigerated them at 6C for "a few weeks". They then germinated them at around 27C. So it seems like the fridge is not necessarily to replicate a "cold period" in nature (my original thought) but rather due to some physical effect it has on the seeds.

    My refrigerated ones are out now but nothing yet.... I still *cough* haven't quite, er um, got around to sowing some more without refrigeration, so nothing to report yet.

    Chickadee: we went into town a day early (Tuesday) for various reasons but the parcel had not arrived. Some neighbours will check our mailbox tomorrow so hopefully the parcel is there and still OK. Thanks very much again
     
  9. FREE Permaculture

    FREE Permaculture Junior Member

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    yeah there's some seeds that need to be refrigerated to break the dormancy, sorta tricks the seeds to think it's winter i spose, then when the're taken out it's like spring time to them.
    well that's what my pack of comfrey said, place seed pack in freezer for a week then sow, that's why i thought it may of been a misprint to put the whole thing in the fridge.

    i'm growing yerba mate', and the seeds need to be stratisfied by feeding them to chooks, then you need to pick 'em out of the poo a few days later and your off, think i'll just take cuttings :)
     
  10. cathy

    cathy Junior Member

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  11. permacultureplants

    permacultureplants Junior Member

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    A few thoughts on comfrey:
    1. Yes the seed may need stratification. Put it in a slightly moist peat moss (or better still, slightly moist coco(nut)-peat. Put in fridge for a few days, in freezer for a couple of weeks, in fridge for a few days then bring it slowly back to spring then summer temperatures. Rule of thumb, simulate the seasons.
    2. Leaves (especially younger ones) are great fried in batter - a kind of fake fish. YUM
    3. Comfrey should never become a problem(weed) in Perth. the climate is too harsh. Stop watering-no comfrey.
    4. It is a good way to turn high nitrogen wastes into high protein stock feed.
    5. If comfrey becomes a problem then harvest it for comercial purposes.
    6. Bocking varieties are for a few individuals that were named. There are many more varieties and in fact every seedling is a new one. Some will grow well and others won't in given conditions. Call it a Bocking or any other name, pick the best production for your region.
     
  12. cathy

    cathy Junior Member

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    Dear Chickadee,

    Hi. I arrived at my new home today after quite a few days in the post. It was nice and dark and moist in my paper tissue inside the plastic bag, and I stayed happy and healthy all the way here. I was planted in a lovely new home as soon as I was handed over to Cathy by the helpful neighbours. I am in a nice sunny, north facing spot in a bed with some herby friends like coriander, basil and oregano. My new home is elevated with views of the ocean about 15km away over State and National Forest - it's really nice. My little brother was put in a more protected position in a pot, and the little root cuttings are all nicely tucked away in little pots too. We really like it here and hope to turn into happy and healthy comfrey plants really soon. Hopefully Cathy will post some pictures when that happens.

    Say hi to all my friends back in Melbourne.

    Comfrey Country Cousin
     
  13. gippslander

    gippslander Junior Member

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    .
    comfrey took a liberty
    its deep rooting in the granny smiths
    put orchards into jeopardy
    falluting high uncanny myths

    comfrey is taking over!
    and encapsulated rover
    cornered veggies all around
    to the homestead now is bound
    quick go and get miranda !
    it’s headed for the verandah
    close the windows bolt the door
    can’t stand gardening any more!

    cut it off! right at the socks
    behold it grows again and mocks
    it rifles with such brash bravado
    and trifles with the avocado

    its reputation with pome fruits
    that started with the granny smiths
    has stretched beyond the citrus roots
    and now is taking piths



    gl 2007
     
  14. cathy

    cathy Junior Member

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    Very cool gippslander, thank you.

    I have been meaning to give Ben an update on the comfrey root cuttings too, so this was a really fun way of getting a reminder. I was able to start 10 plants by cutting up the root. The big whole plant and all 10 root cuttings survived and are thriving. The small whole plant sadly did not make it (':('). So I now have a great little comfrey plot - well away from everything else so hopefully gippslander's poem won't turn out to be prophetic!!

    Cheers
    Cathy
     
  15. greenfrog

    greenfrog Junior Member

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    comfrey

    I was wondering if anyone had spare cuttings of comfrey, I've started a local community garden here in Deniliquin N.S.W, would it be suitable for the Riverina climate etcf. thanks in advance
     
  16. Michaelangelica

    Michaelangelica Junior Member

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    Re: comfrey

    If you send me a 500g addressed post bag I will send you a plant (Russian Comfrey Unknown variety).
    Is there no one local who grows it?
     
  17. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Re: comfrey becoming a weed

    Hi greenfrog,

    I forget how far Deni is from here, but you can dig up a little bit of mine if you want to come and get it. I've only got a few bits at the moment but there should be a bit more around soon, so i'm happy to get you started. Otherwise the herb lady at the Tocumwal markets (next one is 12 December) often has some. Do you have farmers markets there? It is usually 'the usual suspects' at the markets in this area - perhaps they go as far as you?

    It will grow perfectly in your area as we have no trouble here - it dies down in the winter but comes back stronger than ever - try killing the stuff!
     
  18. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Strictly speaking it isn't my comfrey with flowers on it - but it is A photo of comfrey with flowers on it - in the Meander Valley of Tasmania.
     
  19. Bird

    Bird Junior Member

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    will comfry grow in the tropics?
     
  20. juhill

    juhill Junior Member

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    I used to have some great plants but now my comfrey keeps dying probably because of the drought. I'm going to try and get another plant and keep it in a pot.
     

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