As an avid gardener, I am always on the lookout for new tricks to help my plants look and grow their best. I 'm also a keen conservationist and sustainability freak. So when I heard about the wool pellets from Wild Valley Farms that can be used as a soil amendment and plant food, I was tickled and couldn't wait to try them. The results have been satisfying so far with future outcomes predictably rosy. What exactly are wool pellets? They are really just what they sound like. When it is time to sheer sheep, the belly and tag hair is deemed of low value and isn't used. The folks at Wild Valley Farms, however, decided to come up with a way to use the wool rather than throw it away. Wool can hold up to 20 times its weight in water. That makes it an excellent soil amendment for moisture retention. But it also contains calcium, magnesium, iron, sulfur and other nutrients all in a slow release form. Wool pellets have a fertilizer ratio of 9-1-2, which is perfect for plants that like plenty of nitrogen. Therefore, making this throw away wool into a product that could enhance plant growth while being easy to use seemed to make sense. Wool pellets are a fertilizer for your plants and a moisture conserver, but they also expand with water to increase soil porosity while wicking excess moisture away from plant roots to prevent over watering. That means you can give your plants a good soaking and don't have to worry about boggy roots. You can also go on vacation for a week and plants will not need to be watered. Wool pellets reduce watering frequency by 25%. In areas that are hit by drought and have high water rates, that can mean the difference between gardening and giving up. As a soil amendment, a test was conducted with tomatoes and wool pellets. The competing tomato crops had peat, perlite and blood meal; peat and perlite; peat, wool and blood meal; peat and wool. The crop with the most growth was a mixture of peat and 5 to 10 % wool. Plants were visibly larger and healthier, even without the blood meal additive. One 8 ounce bag of wool pellets can be used over 15 square feet or to amend 6 gallons of soil. The nutrients in the pellets release gradually and can last up to a year. The product is also organic, renewable and sustainable. As an added bonus, wool pellets repel slugs and snails in a non-toxic form that is safe for pets and children. The product acts as an irritant to these soft bodied pests and sends them on their way. One application provides 6 to 8 months of protection. With all the attributes wool pellets offer, using them in the garden is a smart and sustainable choice. And if they make your gardening chores easier, that is another benefit. All natural wool pellets from Wild Valley Farms is a product you can feel good about using from a U.S. company with committed values and innovative ideas.

Bonnie Grant