Dalefoot Composts celebrating 20 years in business
PEAT FREE compost maker Dalefoot Composts, celebrating 20 years in business at this week’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, has seen a big spike in sales this season as gardeners shift to green growing.
Sales of its premium composts, made from sheep’s wool and bracken, have doubled in the last year showing gardeners are really waking up to the benefits of gardening more sustainably. Now used by commercial growers, gold medal-winning flower and veg exhibitors and a growing flock of gardeners around the UK, Dalefoot’s peat free range boasts composts for container growing, flowers, vegetables, shrubs, seeds and acid-loving plants.
Owner Simon Bland said: “We’ve seen our sales double in the last year which is proof that gardeners want to garden more ethically and really do care about the quality of products they use on their allotment, back garden or balcony.”
The entrepreneurial couple behind Dalefoot, environmental scientist Jane Barker and farmer Simon Bland, started making compost from the natural ingredients around their Cumbrian farm in 1997. Inspired by early 20th century gardening books that mentioned wool as a garden mulch, and a desire to make good use of the invasive bracken growing on the fells, the couple invented their secret compost recipe, bagged the product up themselves and started selling at local farmers’ markets. Twenty years later the compost is sold across the UK, been shortlisted for RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden Product of the Year* and has just featured on BBC Two’s Back to the Land programme. The business employs 18 local people, and sources bracken and wool from local farmers.
Growing benefits of the compost include:
• Natural water retention of wool fibres means up to 50% less watering.
• Wool provides a steady, slow sustained supply of nitrogen.
• High levels of natural potash from the bracken promotes flowering and fruiting, healthy growth and hearty crops - NO need for any additional plant food.
• Made from 100% renewable resources with great environmental benefits.
• The compost has a similar soft texture to peat and has a wide range of naturally occurring trace elements for good plant health.
Notes for editors:
* Wool Compost for Seeds was shortlisted for the 2013 RHS Chelsea Flower Show Garden Product of the Year.