My initial intention was to harvest some of the comfrey growing in our guilds in Dreamland and to spread the leaves as mulch and re-plant some of the roots along the fruit trees next to the Homeland driveway “orchard”. In a roundabout way, this long line of netted trees is the first we planted ourselves – and where we have since learnt many lessons. However, up to now we have not really spent any effort in planting guilds around these fruit trees, a) because there are quite a lot of them (say about 40) so it is quite an undertaking, b) that stretch is quite dry (besides our irrigation line for the trees), and c) it is overrun with couch grass in some places and kikuyu in others. So you can’t really plant dainty Marigolds there as guild plants – they don’t survive and they will get severely damaged during the biannual kikuyu “fight”, when we try and pull out as much of the runners as we can, to coincide with our mulching and de-mulching activities. We’ve even tried nasturtiums and Lucerne in there, but they have all succumbed in the battle. So this time I wanted to start with some really deep rooted companions who would be beneficial to the fruit trees too. Comfrey with its deep roots and nutrient rich leaves as mulch seemed ideal.
So one day, when I had a break between the chicken, duck and school holiday activities, I went comfrey harvesting. Without damaging too much of the existing guilds, I got a wheelbarrow full of leaves and quite a large bunch of roots that I could split off. So not much, all in all, but a little bit to work with. Interesting some of the comfrey I harvested came from two cherry guilds, which were already second generations of comfrey grown on site. This stuff is really easy to propagate! (In fact, you have to take care where you spread it, because it is not easy / possible to get rid of.)
I was just about to leave Dreamland when my eyes fell on this little fallow terrace next to “native walk”, below the “cherry hill” where I harvested so of the comfrey. We have some Daffodil bulbs in there, and they are nice in the spring, but nothing came from the Portulaca that I sowed there to provide a ground cover for the remainder of the year. But then suddenly the penny dropped! I would like to have much more comfrey to “harvest” regularly, and a deep-rooted “miner” like comfrey could do quite well in that little terrace. It would fill the fallow ground, stabilise the terrace, mine under the hill and path for nutrients and provide some nice green growth along the path. So without moving the wheelbarrow much, I started splitting the comfrey roots and planting them all along in the little terrace. Comfrey factory in the making!
I still had enough roots left to stick some in around the top half of the trees along the Homeland driveway “orchard”, so although not completed, at least the process has been started. I can do the remainder in a subsequent run. I only had enough comfrey leaves to properly mulch a single pear tree, but I thought it better to do one properly than trying to spread it too thinly around. Rather do little by little thoroughly. In future that comfrey “factory” along native walk will surely come in handy!