Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Comfrey is Planted

Yesterday was a very busy day in the garden. My favorite part was picking the harvest. I had lots of raspberries, in fact, too many to eat on my breakfast cereal. I'll have to think about how I'm going to store them. I'll probably just freeze the extras right now since it is easy. When I get enough I'll do something more fun like ice cream.

I picked the mustard because it was bolting. I've had real trouble growing this giant red mustard. There is nothing giant about it in my garden. Of the five plants that I've put in over the weeks, three of them have wilted and died. One bolted. If you notice that one it really isn't that big. One is still hanging on, but I'm not optimistic. Its too bad. I really like the sharp flavor of the leaves. They are too strong to eat straight in this hot weather, but are good mixed into things to provide a little bite.

After the harvest, it was down to work. My Russian comfrey showed up yesterday afternoon. I've been hemming and hawing a lot about planting this. It is really a nice plant for its ability to fertilize other plants. Its roots go way down and bring up valuable minerals. I've been wanting to grow it for mulch for a while now. Currently I buy straw for mulch, but it would be nice to create at least some of my own. At the very least it is fabulous on the compost pile. Comfrey's flaw is that it tends to be invasive. It will seed itself everywhere and once the roots are there (remember they can go way down into the soil), it can be impossible to get them out again. So do I really want an invasive plant in the garden? Well I bought the blocking 14 variety that doesn't set seed. This should at least remedy one problem with it. I'll have to keep a close eye on it though to make sure it doesn't spread too far.

I decided to put it in the weird corner of the garden. I found it very hard to work in the corner since it is so sharp an angle. Before I just threw some dwarf iris there, so I wouldn't have to take care of it. Since the maple roots invade that spot, not a lot of things like to grow there. I figured that might help keep the comfrey in check. Pulling up all the iris was a chore. It hadn't been touched in about eight years. It was just a mass of iris tuber that I had to cut through to pull it out. But now you can see the after photo of my three comfrey plants. I know it looked prettier before, but hopefully they will start growing.

Then I had to compost it all. My friendly lawnmower guy left a huge pile of grass yesterday too. So I hacked up the iris tubers and I snipped all the leaves into bits to help them decay and mixed them with the grass and leaves. I'm thinking I need a machete for my next garden tool. It would have been useful. Just put it all on a block and whack it to death. I now have three compost piles (four if you count the plastic one in the garden). I can't get the vision of the Count from Sesame Street out of my head. "One compost pile; two compost piles; three compost piles; hahaha." You'd think with my kids being 19 and 21 I would have forgotten that show already. But it is programmed into my brain now.


  1. Good on ya planting comfrey! I've been wanting to plant some in my future orchard, but haven't found any seeds. Hope yours does well and doesn't completely overrun everything.

  2. Those raspberries sure look yummy. Looks like you had a busy day in the garden what with the harvesting and the removal of those irises, but your compost piles do multiply.

  3. Your photo of the raspberries is so good I can almost taste them.
    Raspberry jam sounds good to me.

  4. Wow, your raspberries look so delicious! I can just imagine eating them. Wow.. I wish I had better luck with berries. Maybe next year, I'll try raspberries. Did you grow them from seed or buy the bush at the store?

    The rest of our bountiful harvest looks so delicious!

  5. I'm jealous of your raspberries. You have so many. My little guy would devour them. I planted some this past winter and can't wait until I'm harvesting some like you.

  6. I think I got them in the mail from Pinetree. I'm not totally sure since I put them in 16 years ago.

    I used to make jam of them years ago. I don't eat much jam anymore, so quit making it. But I might make a small jar of freezer jam. I can't can it since I can't seem to find some of my canning supplies anymore. I think the pot was taken to the attic when the roof was leaking and it was never brought back. Too bad. May favorite jam is actually not raspberry, but jalapeño jam. Yummy.

  7. All your produce always looks so nice. No holes, no funny colored spots.

    I'm jealous.