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wool/fleece

 
henry stevenson
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Location: Devon, UK
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I was watching a-z of gardening or such like on BBC this morning and they were on R. They showed an old segment (filmed a few years ago) that was filmed up in Yorkshire about rhubarb. They showed the rhubarb crowns growing outside for three years onto discarded wool/fleece. Apparently the wool slowly releases nitrogen over a period that suits their growing methods.

This got me thinking about hugel beets and whether including wool as a layer would benefit? Any disadvantages anyone can think of?
 
Rosalind Riley
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Location: Kent, South-east England, UK
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Hi Henry

I use fleece sometimes in my runner bean trenches. Holds a lot of water and seems to rot down well. I keep a few ewes and keep the "dags" from when they are trimmed up before they lamb. (We lamb late - in late April/early May - as we can't do it indoors.) The dags are naturally pretty dirty which of course probably helps them rot and certainly adds nutrients.

I haven't tried hugelkultur but I can attest to wool being useful in the garden.
 
Irene Kightley
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I totally agree with Rosalind.

I've used all the waste wool from our sheep and goats over twenty years in our garden for stuffing into mole holes, mulching, putting around fruit trees and for protecting plants from frost.

If it's used sensibly and pulled apart to aid its decomposition, I can't think of any disadvantages at all.

I've used it on hugelkultur beds here to very good effect.

 
Matu Collins
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It's only just this year that sheep farmers here are able to sell the fleece for wool. They have banded together to create a local wool blanket cooperative. Before that, many farmers would just throw out the wool, but some people would use it for mulch and swear by it. I might tuck it into a hugelbeet, but I might be more inclined top use it as mulch/erosion control as a top layer. Funny looking maybe, but good mulch. Also, people who have used it for such say the lanolin is great for the hands.
 
Daniel Morse
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Location: SW Michigan
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Why could the farmers not sell their wool?

I am using sheep wool insulation in my house. Installing it now. It is great stuff.
 
Matu Collins
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Posts: 1967
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Nobody wanted the wool. They couldn't pay someone to take it away. It cost more to clean it and card it and spin it and weave it than anyone would pay, I guess.

The"localize" movement has finally taken hold and may have made local wool blankets valuable enough to people.
 
Daniel Morse
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Darn, I would have grabbed a bunch and processed it into insulation for my home.
 
Matu Collins
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I know, I can think of a few uses myself. But hey, value for farmers is good.
 
Daniel Morse
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Oh, I agree. We just finished corn and beans this week. I get it.
 
Irene Kightley
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Both Rosalind and I have mentioned using waste wool or "daggings" which is dirty wool cut from around the anus/vulva of sheep/goats or where ticks or felting have damaged the wool.

I always try to use good wool as much as possible for a more "noble" use before using it on the garden.

 
Rosalind Riley
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Irene Kightley wrote:Both Rosalind and I have mentioned using waste wool or "daggings" which is dirty wool cut from around the anus/vulva of sheep/goats or where ticks or felting have damaged the wool.

I always try to use good wool as much as possible for a more "noble" use before using it on the garden.



Absolutely! But alas I find my lovely fleeces sitting in the loft unused because I haven't time to process them. I am making a peg-loom rug from carded fleece - I sit outside carding for a bit, or even do it indoors with a big sheet over my knees, and just tease it out and weave it straight in. But to be honest, it's taking a while even though it is a quick way to weave!

NB Although I have "notify when a reply is posted" I seem not to be getting notifications beyond the first time... hmmm...
 
Irene Kightley
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Can you post photos of what you're doing ? I'd love to see your work Rosalind.

When there's too much wool to do what you want to, then I'd be tempted to give it away or use it for the garden. There will be more next year.
 
henry stevenson
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Location: Devon, UK
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I'm glad to see that my post has sparked something off and seems to have inspired a couple of other people (not to mention the lurkers).

I'm definitely going to experiment with wool as a mulch. Thanks for all the input.
 
Rosalind Riley
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Irene Kightley wrote: There will be more next year.


Well, all too true, although I have just lost my last Gotland ewe to a tragic and sudden bout of pneumonia, so I shall only have white wool after this. I'm making sure to weave in some of her lovely charcoal-coloured fleece.

To be honest, I'd feel a bit shy about posting my rather rudimentary woolcraft! My knitting is pretty good (modesty!) but mostly with commercially-spun wool.

Henry, you go for the wool-mulch! Isn't it great the inspiration you get on this site.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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I used the daggings in the construction of my hugel bed. I put it on top of the wood before I added the soil.

Rosalind - sorry to hear about your Gotland girl. it's a shame we aren't closer as I could let you have a fleece from one of my Gotland girlies to play with.
 
Rosalind Riley
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Thanks for your kind thought Katy. I still have a couple of Gotland crosses - white but amazingly long curly-ish staple.

We built a hugel bed at the weekend - tiring but satisfying. I am saving my dags for the bean trenches though!

 
henry stevenson
Posts: 52
Location: Devon, UK
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Whilst doing some googling on comfrey last night I ended up following a bunch of links and got here: http://www.sluggone.com/about

So it would seem that another use of wool as a mulch might even help against slugs.

Edited to add that I'm not suggesting buying this product, but using actual wool.
 
Rosalind Riley
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Location: Kent, South-east England, UK
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Hi Henry

I too have seen this product advertised - so I went out and wrapped a bit of spare fleece round some of my tender seedlings hoping that it would discourage the slugs. Alas, a false hope - I don't think it made much difference at all. I suspect the fleece used for the pellets has been chopped up a bit to be more irritating, and then felted into pellets. Not beyond the scope of domestic initiative, possibly, but a bit laborious.

Maybe I just should have used more fleece?

R
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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