July 2, 2011 at 10:27 pm #496897PeterDMember
Ok, so you are measuring sugar levels. Yes, I have refractometers for that, being a wine, mead, cider and beer brewer 🙂 There are refractometers for saline solutions and for acids so a sucrose measuring refractometer is what is needed. 12 would make a nice beer as well.
I get what you say about waiting after picking. The sugars are highest in the living plants and when picked they immediately start putting the sugars into starches for long term storage.
Also on the whole fuzzy line thing, all prism based refractometers have that issue with mixtures of solutions as each constituent is modifying the bending of the light, you get fuzzy lines in brewing, and other fields as checking machine coolants and transmission fluids, not sure if either is a particularly good source of calcium nutrition.
So from what I am reading, by measuring the sugars in a plant both before and after foliar sprays you are seeing the delta or change between before and after. If the change is great then the plant is not getting optimum benefit from its current growth environment and changes their or additions such as the foliar sprays can help. If there is no large change then the plant is just doing peachy and needs nothing more.
PeterDJuly 2, 2011 at 10:49 pm #496898gringoMember
An alternative if you have a plentiful supply of comfrey, is to harvest enough leaves and cram them into a large container such as a large planter pot with holes in the base. Stand the pot over a second container such as a large rubbish bin, and weigh the leaves down with a few bricks or some other
Leave for about two/three weeks and a dark extract or”juice””will drain into the bin. Depending on how much leaf material used you could get up to
two litres of comfrey extract from this process.Store in an appropriate container with a lid,(smells a bit)and dilute to a rate of about 1/20 and either spray or use a watering can on your fruit and vegies.
Saves u a lot of money in comparison to buying liqiud fertilisers etc.
A good supply of comfrey plants can be harvested at least three/four times a year. Oh! and as for the old leaves from the planter pot, bung them into the compost, they still pack a punch as a compost activator.July 2, 2011 at 11:03 pm #496899mauziMember
The fuzzy line has to do with photosynthesis and from my experience if the line is fuzzy and say reading 8 as an example the plant is usually healthier than a straight line also reading 8. Just another signal.
If you do the test and do not get a large enough response it doesn’t necessarily mean that the plant is ok, it just means that particular foliar does not have benefit (in this case comfrey). Where it is really good is if you are not sure which foliar spray to use and rather than waste money (particularly if you are doing large areas like a market garden or orchard) it can save a lot of money by using the best foliar for the situation and be of greater benefit to the plant.
I like foliars to assist the plant while you are getting around to balancing the soil.July 5, 2011 at 11:20 pm #496900SonyaMember
Here’s a link to some lovely comfrey ointment too http://slowlivingessentials.blogspot.com/2011/04/comfrey-ointment.html
SonyaJuly 6, 2011 at 12:20 am #496901
Yes Sonya.. I just found that today myself. It looks very simple and straight forward to make. I love the color of it too!July 6, 2011 at 1:17 am #496902earthworm42Member
I’ve made comfrey,marigold and plantain balm for cuts and it’s amazingJuly 6, 2011 at 1:41 am #496903
Oooh, care to share your recipe EM42 ? 🙂July 7, 2011 at 12:39 am #496904SimoMember
Interestingly someone mentioned that Comfrey is similar in nature to Pattersons curse (which definately cause liver damage in horses). The weevils that attack Pattersons curse were released by the Ag dept in my are a few seasons ago and seem to work great at killing the weed. Now that it is winter and the weevils are active again I have noticed that the Comfrey that was growing well all summer is getting and absolute hammering from a yet to be identifed insect. I wonder if the PC weevil is also eating my Comfrey and if the Ag Dept or CSIRO or who ever had the idea to release it knew this was going to happen.
Not complaining, if not being able to grow comfrey is the price to pay for being rid of Paterson curse I’ll gladly pay it (the lesser of two weevils). Makes you wonder what else they might eat? The next cane toad maybe?July 7, 2011 at 1:43 am #496905
I’m not sure about weevils Simo, but comfrey is supposed to die back during Winter and re-appear in the Spring. Mine is still leafy atm, although it is showing signs of slowing down.. it is nowhere near as vigorous.July 7, 2011 at 2:21 am #496906AnjaMember
Mine is still going well too, although like Humbugs, it is slowing down. Still enough for the chookens though 🙂July 7, 2011 at 11:39 am #496907earthworm42Member
OK I’ll put my recipe on paper and post it soon.
and yes comfrey dies back in winter now would be a good time to mulch and fertilize
ew42July 7, 2011 at 8:18 pm #496908SimoMember
When is the best time transplant the root cuttings to propagate more plantsJuly 7, 2011 at 8:24 pm #496909
I have successfully grown comfrey at ALL times of the year.. not sure when you are supposed to do it, maybe Spring ?July 7, 2011 at 8:35 pm #496910SteveKeymaster
It can be grown all year round here as well. But then it doesn’t die down here either as it appears to in the southern states during winter.
I can’t get rid of it once I have planted it. I tried to dig some out when I got rid of a garden and it just keeps coming up through the lawn. The tiniest piece of root left behind will shoot and become a new plant.July 7, 2011 at 8:37 pm #496911
Steve post=316519 wrote:
I can’t get rid of it once I have planted it. I tried to dig some out when I got rid of a garden and it just keeps coming up through the lawn. The tiniest piece of root left behind will shoot and become a new plant.
Yeah I love how it does this 🙂
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