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default Comfrey/nettle feed maker

Post by Chilli-head on 4th April 2020, 9:13 pm

Ok, I finally got around to a long planned experiment.  I have heard a few times of this arrangement that allows the goodness to be extracted from nettle and comfrey leaves without an awful smell, so time to give it a go.

The principle is a vertical pipe, which is stuffed with leaves, weighted down, and the liquor that dribbles out he bottom collected for use as a feed. Here's my version:
Comfrey/nettle feed maker 20200410

Under the current circumstances, it is made from what was to hand.  Black 100mm pipe was the core from a roll of floor covering that has been in the garage for ages.  Bottom cap - from a postal packing tube in the skip.  Bungee fixing - spare from pole lathe construction, outlet pipe is scrap plumbing bits, the "weight" is all that remains of a nice Cremant de Bourgogne from Naked wines - empty bottle filled with builder's sand tied on a length of wire.  The wire allows it to be lifted out to top up the leaves. Our local bottle bank isn't being emptied at the moment, so the collecting vessel is another wine bottle.

Now to see if it works.  If the claims that it doesn't smell turn out to be false, it may become quite unpleasant getting to the shed !
Chilli-head
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Post by freebird on 5th April 2020, 8:25 am

Looks good CH. I have neither nettles nor comfrey, and as both were the bane of my life at the other house, I'm reluctant to introduce them. If I did have them, I would be making something similar though.
freebird
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Post by Chilli-head on 5th April 2020, 9:43 am

When I took our allotment, there was a pretty much dissused fields on two sides of the site, and a paddock on the third, houses on the other.  Needless to say,  we are now surronded by houses. But the bottom of my plot met one of the fields at an ill-defined boundary.  It was rotivated down to a line marked by a couple of pegs, and some heeled in native trees and shrubs which I guess was a planned hedge - there was a label with the council's name on it tied to the bundle.

When the houses came along, a combination of a TPO and surveying of the actual boundary left a no man's land of about 5m width between the end of my plot and the builder's fence, which is technically the allotment site, so I guess I could annex it.  But it is overgrown with nettles and worse, and behind those heeled in trees which are what you see behind the shed.  I've thinned the trees a little for greenwood, firewood and pea sticks, but otherwise left it for the wildlife. There are plenty enough nettles and comfrey to share with the bees and butterflies !
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Post by Chilli-head on 27th April 2020, 10:01 pm

It works ! I had a look today and the champers bottle had gone down a long way, and I have maybe 100ml of juice. And it doesn't smell at all !

I've refilled the pipe with more nettles and comfrey - now all I need to know is how much to dilute it. And whether the feed works...
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Post by freebird on 28th April 2020, 10:01 am

According to Mr Dowding, it should be diluted 50:1. So glad to hear it has worked and doesn't smell. There is both comfrey and nettle at the allotment (though not a huge quantity), so think I will gjve it a go too. Charles D sits a flowerpot over a small bucket. I really need whatever fertilisers I can lay my hands on this year, though I have resorted to buying a pack of growmore.
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Post by freebird on 29th April 2020, 4:45 pm

Just come back from the allotment with a builder's bucket full of comfrey and nettle .....
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th April 2020, 10:46 pm

I've made one small modification today - a cover over the top of the tube to stop the rain diluting it.

Thanks for the tip on dilution. I'll give it a go - mostly I want it for squashes.
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Post by Ploshkin on 1st May 2020, 10:29 am

Ooh I've missed this thread. I was going to give this a go but I was looking at bigger diameter pipe and struggling to find something to fit over the bottom. But, if the dilution is 50:1 it sounds as if your 100mm pipe will produce plenty. I think I will get back on to it.
Are you doing a mixture of nettles and comfrey or one of each? I have plenty of both.
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Post by Chilli-head on 1st May 2020, 2:16 pm

I have been shoving in a mixture - what is to hand really. But as I mostly want it for squash and leafy veg, that's probably ok ? I guess tomatoes would be better with just comfrey.
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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd May 2020, 2:18 pm

My collecfing bottle was almost half full today, so ~300ml. 50:1 dilution is 100ml to the gallon.  I mixed up a guessed gallon to water the strawberries and rhubarb this morning.  Let's see if it helps !

I think bigger would be better, it would be easier to stuff the leaves on the top of a 6" pipe. I'll keep my eye out, but 4" is much easier to find - at least I can test the principle with what I could find in the garage !
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