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Companion Planting

Exploring which plants are beneficial to each other when planted together and which plants are best kept apart.

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Companion Planting in practice 4 Replies

Started by Vicki Hill. Last reply by Skye Sloper Dec 8, 2014.

Tomatoes and friends 17 Replies

Started by Rex Morris. Last reply by Rachel Rose Jul 12, 2011.

Companion plant to crop ratios / equations? Do they exist? 2 Replies

Started by Steph Clout. Last reply by Steph Clout Jun 22, 2011.

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Comment by Kali on January 24, 2010 at 9:47am
One tip, when collecting comfrey for the brews watch out for bumble bees! I just got stung while I was chopping a piece with flowers up to go into the bucket ready for comfrey fertiliser a la Dave. :( ( a drop of antihistamine cream is working)
Dave i was reading in my organic gardening in NZ book yesterday that seaweed takes nitrogen when it decomposes and was best to use it dried and powdered, but like vivienne I am a lazy gardener and usually just spread it around too.
Comment by Fionna Hill on January 23, 2010 at 5:42am
Vivien, thanks. Gosh this comfrey lark is interesting. I'm going to transfer to a bucket method. The juice bottles are near exploding! Fionna
Comment by Dan Clark on January 23, 2010 at 12:14am
Thanks Vivian, great info! I'll keep an eye on the group. Feel like making some comfrey fertilizer now! Are the leaves readily available in Auckland?
Comment by Dave Nicholls on January 22, 2010 at 8:40pm
Hi Vivian. I'm no expert, but There are probably two linked issues with comfrey tea. Like compost, a nasty, smelly pile indicates the work of anaerobic bacteria. When you make a comfrey tea in a bucket of water you obviously also make the decomposition anaeobic. These bacteria can be problematic for your soil. So I tend to use the 'dry' method more than the 'wet' tea. Sane thing for seaweed which is better chopped up and added to the soil rather than soaked. And I always use fresh stuff rather than the dry when I can because it loses it's nutrients quickly in the atmosphere.
Comment by Vivien Field on January 22, 2010 at 7:51pm
Dave, is it a problem if the fluid gets too smelly?? It still seems to work well, I also have a brick inside my big container and haven't noticed the flies (probably cos the container is only opened by the tap when I need the juice). I am starting to wonder if the tea I am making is any good or could be better if I compressed it more - I read somewhere else that the draining off of the fluid into another container is better than leaving it all sitting in a bucket/container like I do. But it does seem to work for me. You plan seems a little complicated for me and I like the lazy way of just shoving it in my container weighting it down with a brick and water and just bleeding off fluid when and if I need it. Except it sound like I could make better tea!! Sigh...its not easy being a lazy gardener.
Comment by Kali on January 21, 2010 at 11:57am
Thanks, Dave, I have a bucket with holes drilled in it somewhere :)
Comment by Dave Nicholls on January 20, 2010 at 11:50pm
For those who are keen to give it a go, this is the way I've found to make the comfrey juice I mentioned earlier.
Fill a bucket that you don't mind drilling holes into (it also needs handle) with wilted comfrey leaves. Weigh down with a tea plate and place a weight on top (I use half a house brick). Find a bowl bigger than the base of the bucket to catch the juice. Take a large bin bag or similar and put the collecting bowl level and flat in the bottom. Then hang the bucket up from a hook in the shed/garage/etc. Protected from the wind. Offer the bin bag and bowl up and tie the bag securely to the hook making a tight seal with the knot (to deter flying insects). From outside the bag, arrange the bowl so it is sitting directly under the bucket, supported by the bag. Then leave it for 4 weeks for the decomposition to do it's thing. When you open it up you should find a black watery residue that you can store and dilute heavily before feeding. Hope this helps.
Comment by Kali on January 20, 2010 at 10:37pm
hmm might try that dave, it certainly is smelly stuff, especially when I add seaweed as well.
Comment by Dave Nicholls on January 20, 2010 at 8:29pm
On the comfrey thread...I read Allan Shepherd's lovely new book 'The Organic Garden' at the weekend and in it he reckons that comfrey gets smelly when soaked in water (I keep mine outdoors now and let the open bucket top up with rainwater and keep the leaves pressed down with an old garden sieve wighted down with a house brick). He does say though that if you put the dried leaves in a bucket and compress them with a plate and weight and allow the black residue that comes after a couple of weeks to pass through a hole in the bucket into a container beneath, it doesn't smell. I've tried this and found no smell before. I have wrapped the whole contraption in a plastic bag though to keep off the flies. After a month you have a treacly-black liquid that can be watered down and used as a balanced fertilizer for food-hungry plants.
Comment by Vivien Field on January 20, 2010 at 3:31pm
On the comfrey thread there I was going to add my 10c worth. I got a friend to just use an old 10 litre paint bucket shred the comfrey leaves into it and then cover with water and place a piece of wood on top with a brick and leave it for a month at the beginning of spring. It worked a treat and she just grabbed a scoop of the fluid and added it to her watering can and fed the plants through spring/summer. She reckoned it worked really well so obviously there isn't too much to making comfrey tea. When it dies down here in winter it gets all black and slimey or brown from the frosts, so I just drag it all up and add it to the compost. When I have TOO much comfrey which is often I just shred it up and add it to my compost heaps. If anyone wants a piece of comfrey root to get themselves started and they live in Christchurch give me a yell, I made a mistake ages ago and tried to dig the comfrey out of where it was, all I did was make 100's of comfrey seedlings so its trying to take over the small plot its in and I am always trying to cut it back...never ending this gardening...sigh...
 

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