We’ve done the hard work for you of taking waste wool and turning it into pellets that are super easy to use: they’re light and can be sprinkled over the ground, into pots or over raised beds. But, you may be wondering if there are guidelines to make the most of them!
We’ve compiled a few easy instructions and tips below for making the best use of EcoWool pellets, including how much to use, when to use them, and for which plants. We also look at why you’ll love adding wool pellets to your garden plans.
How to add wool pellets to your garden
As I mentioned, using wool pellets is super easy.
It’s ideal to mix the pellets with soil rather than planting into pure wool as the pellets are not soil themselves - they’re literally sheep wool!
- It’s fine to sprinkle pellets directly on your garden. Keep it thick as a mulch or work them into the top few inches using a garden fork or tiller.
- If you are transplanting into the garden, as you dig a hole for your plant, you can add a small handful of wool pellets in the hole along with the root bulb.
- When planting seeds, pellets can be applied along with the seeds, and covered over as you cover your seeds. Just be careful to not add pellets too densely over the seeds. (See below!)
- You can also sprinkle a handful of pellets into outdoor or greenhouse potted plants so that the soil is no longer visible. The pellets can then be pushed into the soil or left on top.
Because sheep wool releases nutrients and breaks down slowly (3), generally they only need to be applied once per year or less!
How much sheep wool pellets to use
The amount of wool you use will depend on the size of the area you are amending, the condition of the soil and what results you are looking for.
Here are a couple of guidelines:
- 1/2 cup pellets for 4 L of soil to be used for potting plants, or other smaller spaces.
- The 700 g bag is the ideal amount for several container/porch garden boxes or planters and houseplants.
- 1 kg of pellets in a 20 - 25 square foot garden bed before planting.
The wool can be stored for an extended period of time (at least two years), so if you have too much for the project you are working on, just keep the pellets in storage in a cool, dry place. Alternatively, you can add the remainder to your compost to enrich your compost and have it ready for the following year.
Which plants to use wool pellets with
Pellets are great to use when transplanting. They also work well around plants that are already in the ground and are a bit more established.
Because wool is dense, decomposes slowly and is very effective as a mulch to suppress weeds (3), the pellets can make things a bit challenging for new seeds to sprout. This can be remedied by either mixing fewer pellets thoroughly with soil before planting seeds, or waiting for the seedlings to sprout sufficiently before spreading pellets around them.
Wool really holds onto moisture well (4), so for plants or fruit that are a bit susceptible to mold, either bury wool pellets or top the wool with a layer of straw.
The pellets can have a bit of a farm smell because its raw wool, especially when they are wet, so just consider that before using them in potted plants inside!
The chart below shows the nutrient profile of our wool pellets completed by SGS Labs in Guelph. You can work with your soil and the pellets to get the right mix you need for the crops you are growing.
LAB ANALYSIS OF EcoWOOL PELLETS containing Ontario wool by SGS Labs of Guelph.
Wool pellets are incredibly versatile, and help most plants to do very well.
Why you’ll love gardening with wool pellets
Besides being lightweight and easy to move around and spread over your garden (saving your energy!), there are many other benefits you can expect from using this exceptional soil amendment:
- Wool pellets make a great mulch (3) and are an effective alternative to plastic row covers, reducing huge amounts of plastic waste. You’ll never have to worry about plastic covers getting tears and gradually degrading, making you feel guilty for creating plastic waste again!
- Like a sponge, wool is very effective at absorbing and releasing moisture as conditions around it change. Wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in water during rainfalls, later releasing it slowly into the soil (4). This steady supply of moisture to the soil from wool is a great way of stabilizing soil moisture and protecting plants from drowning (4).
- Used as a mulch, pellets also provide protection to the soil from pounding rain, retaining the soil structure and reducing erosion (4).
- Wool’s ability to absorb moisture means that the pellets expand, aerating the soil, improving the soil's ability to retain oxygen, and building soil structure (4).
- As I’m sure you know, wool is a very effective insulator. On cold days, it will retain warmth in the soil and keep soil cool in the summer (4). This provides another way that the wool prevents the soil from drying out, and it extends your growing season.
- Wool is a rich source of nitrogen, and potassium, (NPK = 10.0.3) so it promotes plant growth while not adding to the phosphorus load (1, 5). The nitrogen is also released slowly, thus avoiding nitrate leaching and runoff before plants can utilize the nutrient. Studies have shown that the use of wool pellets can result in higher yields (5)!
- Wool pellets are also helpful for deterring pests such as slugs because of its microscopic barbs and potassium content. The barbs irritate the slug's foot, while the potassium absorbs the foot’s slime (2)!
- Due to the high density of raw wool, the material makes an effective weed barrier . As the pellets expand, they smother any germinating weed seeds (3). It usually continues to serve this purpose for two years (4).
These are just the ways that wool pellets are great for gardening. We haven’t even started to get into the ways that wool is healthier for us and the planet! Stay tuned for future content on that!!
Whether you’re running a market garden, are looking for a little support for your flower bed, or want to get more yield out of your balcony garden, you’re going to love using wool pellets!
These tips are a starting point for using wool in your gardening - if you keep an eye on your garden over time you’ll get a sense of what works well for your specific soil and crops and can adjust your wool pellet use.
Improved soil fertility and increased crop yield are very rewarding for any farmer or gardener, and none of us would complain about flower beds that grow more beautiful than ever! 🌱🌷 Start feeding your garden wool pellets today and make your plants thrive!
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And, let us know in the comments below what you have been finding works well for you when using our wool pellets!
Post researched and written by Julianna Van Adrichem, Promosaurus.