Gardener's notebook: how to use eco-friendly wool in your garden, from compost to twine


When you think of wool, you might not think about gardening, but wool products are having a revival in the garden world.

The popularity of wool for clothing and textiles has generally been in decline since the 1950s. But over the past few years an increasing number of wool based products are available to gardeners who want to take a more environmental approach.

These products are helping gardeners cut down on plastic use (of which there is still far too much in the gardening world), source materials locally and in one case, even repair environmental damage caused by the demand for peat-based compost.

Dalefoot Compost


Founded by husband and wife duo Professor Jane Barker and farmer Simon Bland, Dalefoot produce a range of organic peat-free compost, blending wool with bracken on their farm in the Lake District.

The wool in their compost improves the water holding capabilities, something that is increasingly useful in hotter, drier summers.

As the wool breaks down it releases essential plant nutrients like nitrogen.

Dalefoot also fortifies their compost with comfrey, resulting in a compost that provides nutrients for a whole growing season. They produce compost for almost every application in the garden, from sowing seeds to improving clay soil.

The company specialises in the restoration of peat bogs across the UK, last year saving 3.8 million tonnes of carbon through their projects.

They are beginning to experiment with wool as a material used in the restoration process of peat bogs, instead of more conventional materials that are often flown around the world.

Order online or find at good garden centres;

Wool Pots

 (Wool Pots)
(Wool Pots)

Friends, Graham Hull and Tom Lind were shocked when they read that the UK sends five hundred million plastic plant pots to landfill each year.

They were also surprised to learn that shorn wool is often burnt by farmers who are unable to sell it.

Together, they set out on finding a solution.

The pair designed Wool Pots. Unlike plastic pots, the wool pots wick up water from the base, and are knitted in a way that maximises the oxygen flow around the roots.

Once planted the pots break down in the soil, releasing nutrients, and the roots continue to grow happily.

Wool pots start from £7.99 for a pack of 10;

Twool Twine


Jute is a gardener's best friend, and as long as it is made from natural fibres, most gardeners will know that it eventually breaks down.

All good. Right? Well not quite.

The UK imports over four thousand tonnes of jute each year from Asia.

Since 2010 Kim Stead has been on a mission to change this, and has founded Twool, producing garden twine from wool collected from regenerative farmers in Dartmoor.

Stead has also found that the waste product from processing the wool makes a great material for lining pots and hanging baskets to retain moisture.

Spools of Twool twine start from £3.25;



If you’ve received a delivery of something that needed be kept cool, you might have been surprised to find wool insulating your package.

WoolCool, the company behind these insulating sheets, has discovered that they can also be used in the garden, primarily as a mulch or membrane, suppressing weed growth and locking in additional moisture.

The insulating properties of wool mean it can also be used to protect pots and sensitive plants over winter.

Hortiwool pads £10.00;

Wool Jumpers

Wool might be a bit itchy (although you quickly get used to it, or can wear a long sleeve tshirt underneath), and a pain to wash if you want to keep it looking its best.

But aside from getting caught in the roses, wool jumpers are excellent for gardening.

Never too hot or too cold, and the natural oils help repel water when it inevitably does rain.

You can even repair them with twine.