While nothing beats growing from seed for both selective breeding and preserving genetic diversity, when you don’t have any seeds to hand cuttings and root cuttings can be a great way to enlarge your garden for free.
The comfrey out back has taken off quite well in the last couple of months with all the Summer rain and warmth. Comfrey is a great herb to have in the garden, so it will be good to spread it around a bit to help increase the nutrient availability to other plants, and perhaps eventually for a “green manure” to add nutrition to the compost.
There’s a few good plants in this clump. It’s had a bit of water to soften the soil and make it easier on the plant. The pitch fork is being used instead of a shovel, to get in around the roots and help separate them a bit. The comfrey being dug up is not the one that’s flowering as that might stress the plant too much.
Autumn is a good time to divide up plants as they’re slowing down a bit for Winter. This area gets severe frosts in Winter, so the transplanting is being done a little early while there’s still plenty of warm nights to help the plants get established.
Comfrey has nice deep roots that will bring nutrients up for other plants to use. The earthworm in there is a good sign. The bit of plastic bag, not so much.
Lots of plants will form clumps like this that can be divided up: Borage, african and native violets, thymes, oregano, mints and prostrate rosemary can be split up when they’re overgrowing an area. Do be careful with common mint, though. It can really take over a garden!
The clump has been separated out into four plants. If it were a less robust species, perhaps just two would be enough. Also, some of the root pieces can be dug back in as comfrey will regrow from roots.
This is quite a small piece of root. It’s something of an experiment to see if it will take off.
After being dug up and separated, the plants are looking pretty limp and sad. That’s fairly normal especially for a plant with soft stems like that. Given a good watering today and tomorrow, they’ll bounce back just fine. Et voila! From one plant, now four or more.