Have you ever heard of Wool Compost?
Maybe you have, but I have not until recently come across this curios composting concoction.
A wonderful potting compost made from bracken and sheep's wool with natural water retention and slow release nitrogen. Use to grow flowers, fruit, vegetables and trees. Totally PEAT FREE. Dalefoot Composts
This compost is a real alternative to peat - with a similar soft texture. Made from totally renewable resources with great environmental benefit to help you garden more sustainable.
Sheep's wool has a high level of nitrogen that works as a slow release fertiliser and has good water retention. Bracken gives a high level of natural potash essential for fruiting and flowering. Also has a wide range of naturally occurring trace elements for good plant health.
The idea for this compost came from the old gardening books that talked of wool's natural ability to hold water to itself, and provide long-term nutrient release. Wool is still famously used to grow 'Rhubarb' in Yorkshire.
The team at Dalefoot have been great at emailing me information and images (thanks Lizzie!) about their products and helping me learn more about what they do. I had told them I'd love to write a blog post about Wool Compost, to educate others who are interested.
But, they didn't know, I had placed an order for a bag from Amazon, for sowing our first-ever seeds at our new allotment. If you want to follow my family's progress, check out our @compostguy.uk Instagram account (link below). I will update you on the performance of the compost as we sow the seeds and they develop.
Using old gardening recipes they have worked to develop a range of wholesome composts that are farm-made and do what they promise. Wool compost™ and Lakeland Gold are farm-made on a traditional hill farm, Dalefoot, in the small valley of Heltondale in the Lake District National Park. Our Whitefaced Woodland and Cheviot sheep flocks run up the bracken covered fells to Loadpot where they live and rear their lambs and graze side by side with our herd of native Fell ponies. Grazing is an important part of maintaining this special landscape that is so treasured by the millions of visitors who come to the area.
The ever increasing bracken cover is not only taking over the landscape, but also represents a problem to the hill farmer. The gathering of flocks has become very difficult through waist high bracken stands and this very aggressive plant competes with other native vegetation to the extent that other plants fail and available grazing is reduced. Bracken has become a problem - ecologically and economically - so what better, more sustainable solution than to harvest it in a managed way, thereby husbanding the beautiful hills of the Lake District and utilising a resource in a way that it used to be many years ago.
Traditionally, here in the Lake District, bracken has been used as an animal winter bedding material, which was then spread on the land in Spring to fertilise the fields. A rich source of humus with a wide range of trace elements ensured that the meadows and pastures got off to a good growing season. We have taken that age-old recipe and developed Wool Compost and Lakeland Gold.