Is anyone practicing permaculture? Also, comfrey seed? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I am working on developing a one-acre site in temperate maritime rain forest in Alaska. (zone 7) Anyone out there working with permaculture?

Also, does anyone have any comfrey seed they could share? I can't find it in my catalogues.

Thank you.

-- seraphima (, March 21, 2001


I don't believe comfrey can be grown from seeds, just by dividing up crowns. Perhaps one of the forum participants who are thinning out their stands might send you some crowns.

See if your local library can get you a loaner copy of "Comfrey: Fodder, Food & Remedy" by Lawrence D. Hills.

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, March 22, 2001.

Park Seed used to carry comfrey seed (I haven't seen their catalog in a few years, so can't verify it now). As Ken said, most comfrey tends to not produce seed; this is because the nearby plants are all basically the "same" plant (spread by root division). However, there are several varieties of comfrey, some with stronger medicinal properties, some with better flavor, etc., and these can cross if they are planted nearby -- and the crosses produce seeds. The seeds produce new plants with mixed genetics and KABLOOIE your yard is full of comfrey! (Ask me how I know.)

-- Anita Evangelista (, March 22, 2001.

Page 7 in R.H.Shumway's 2001 catalogue lists Russian Comfrey (symphistum uplandicum)seeds. If this is what you want, the web address is Good luck.

-- Lynn (, March 22, 2001.

Just happened to have the Park catalog on my lap!!

Yes. They have something called "Russian Comfrey". Same family, but, I think, a different variety - if you are growing for medicinal purposes.

Russian Comfrey is: Symphytum uplandicum.... Medicinal: Symphytum officinale....

They will both have similar properties, though... the Russian is good for topical application to cuts, scratches, etc, just not maybe as potent. A lot will depend on the soil.

Both are HIGHLY ornamental little critters - and highly sought after by pharmaceutical companies - especially if organically grown!

Hope this helps!!

-- Sue Diederich (, March 22, 2001.

Comfrey will not grow from seed. Root cuttings are easily started, comfrey is easy to grow and is excellent feed for livestock, also makes a good poultice for healing wounds, has many uses. The herb no homestead should be without.see my two page article in countryside issue last year in the spring.

-- Bruce Burdge (, March 23, 2001.

Seraphima, a few days ago I stumbled on a web site on permaculture. It was incredibly interesting ! We live on a rocky hillside in zone 5-6 (on the line), most of the area is wooded. I will have several little forest garden plots by summer and plan to work them together over time. I would love to hear how your site is doing and any comments that you may be able to pass on.

-- Lynn (, March 24, 2001.

Lynn, could you please post the link to the permaculture site?

-- diane (, March 24, 2001.

A good permaculture site is They have some good links also. The editorial reviews on "Forest Gardening" and "Permaculture in a Nutshell" from an on-line bookstore are wonderfully descriptive (and enticing).

-- Lynn (, March 24, 2001.

Thanks Lynn, I am getting lost for hours in all those links etc. So much to learn!!!

-- diane (, March 26, 2001.


Hills, trees, border of zone 5-6, are you in Indiana, too ? :) What are you planning for your forest garden ? I have filberts and chestnuts coming (I think -- I was in an ordering mania last week) but I don't know what would work well in a plant guild with them. Service berries ? Pawpaws ? Persimmons ? or what understory and bush type plants? Anyone have any clues ? I have read some on permaculture, but I am still struggling for answers for plant guilds here in the Zombie Zone, -20*F to 105*F, drought to flood in one year sometimes.


-- Sara (, March 27, 2001.

Lynn, your site is very interesting. I, too am interested in perennial vegetables and foods, and am working on having a maximum variety of such for my climate, which is an interesting coastal rainforest in alaska, very similar to the Tongass National forest.

Sitka spruce overstorey, some alder, and a pussy-type willow, lots of salmonberries and wild blueberries, moss and not too many small plants except where there is sunshine. I've been clearing away salmonberries from around the blueberries so I can find them and fertilize them. Rhubarb grows well, gooseberries, currants, highbush cranberry, maybe elderberry. Trying comfrey, sorrel, watercress, mints, chives in number, asparagus, evergreen perennial bunching onions, leeks, garlic chives. Along the driveway seeding with Roman chamomile and lunaria. Going to try horseradish, cultivated blueberries, raspberries. Ducks coming next week. (lots of slugs with all this water.) Also have sheetcomposted garden area, plan to grow cold weather veggies and cold adapted warm weathers like subarctic tomatoes and Cayuga summer squash in pots on the driveway.

-- seraphima (, March 28, 2001.

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