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Once you have it, how do you get rid of it.

So you let that comfrey patch get out I of its bed and now it's all over your garden despite your best efforts to eliminate it. According to Lawrence D. Hills in The Comfrey Report: The Story of the World's Fastest Protein Builder and Herbal Healer (available from Rateavers, 9049 Covina St., San Diego, CA 92126 for $12.00 postpaid), there are several non-chemical ways to eliminate it:

* A bit drastic, but pigs have a fondness for comfrey and will eagerly root up the roots. They will also root up any other perennials you have in the garden.

* The comfrey can be cut close to the ground and the area used as a chicken yard, but with the same basic drawbacks as pigs. They will consume all of the new sprouts, killing the root system through depriving it of nourishment from above.

* The area can be planted to a fast growing, tightly spaced grass which will smother out the regrowth. If mowed occasionally and fed to livestock, what comfrey shoots are present will enhance the feed value.

While not mentioned by Hills, I suspect the infected area could also be covered by black plastic much to smother out regrowth.

From what Hills indicated, expect to take at least a year to eliminate the stray comfrey regardless of what method you use.

(Personally, I think the real reason Countryside relocated is because comfrey had taken over their garden area.)

Comfrey did take over the garden, but we were going to start a new one anyway, for other reasons, including more room, more sun, and to get further away from the black walnuts.

But we kept using the old spot too. That was because - for some unknown reason - the area where the comfrey had grown (and was still growing) produced fantastic potatoes. I suspect a connection.

And yes, we did start a new comfrey patch when we moved up here.

Comfrey and calves

One of the many interesting aspects of The Comfrey Report: The Story of the World's Fastest Protein Builder and Herbal Healer is a reference to a Mrs. P. B. Greer of Colchester, England.

It seems Mrs. Greer would buy badly scouring calves at a livestock sales barn. These normally sell very cheaply since they have a high death rate. Mrs. Greer would treat them by chopping up comfrey foliage and adding it to their feed bucket and noted this a long-standing practice of good husbandry in England. (This book by Lawrence D. Hills is available from Rateavers, 9049 Covina St., San Diego, CA 92126 for $12.00 postpaid.)

Comfrey contains allantoin, a substance also found in the water sac around embryos and in maternal milk, particularly colostrum. I suspect the comfrey foliage could also be put with water in a blender and included with calf starter for bottle feeding.

If comfrey does indeed quickly cure scours, there could be money to be made in purchasing these calves, curing the scours, putting on a little weight and then taking them back to the livestock sales barn. If one were to make, say, $50 on a $100 investment one month, the profit would be some 1200 percent if it could be done consistently. That would give a lot of leeway for dead or break-even calves.
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:comfrey
Author:Scharabok, Ken
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Mar 1, 1993
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