In my last 2 blogs I’ve mentioned the feed within Dalefoot Composts, but I wanted to learn more about the science behind this plant-based ‘manure’.

Unlike other composts on the market, that contain instant feed for the initial 6 weeks of growth, Dalefoot Composts feed for longer, releasing the beneficial feed as and when it’s required. We know that bracken is high in potassium and that the nitrogen lock-up is similar to peat, but Dalefoot Composts, when in use, also contain beneficial microflora, such as good bacteria, fungi, algae and actinomycetes.

The loose structure of the compost allows earthworms to move freely through the medium introducing beneficial air within the soil and compost, and the worm excretions contain polysaccharides that help bind the soil particles. Good fungi produce a glycoprotein called glomalin, another sticky-like substance that further helps bind soil particles. Lignen, also found in bracken is a complex organic polymer that supports tissues of most plants.

The sheep’s wool releases nitrogen slowly and has increased water retention. It reduces the need for water by up to 50%, particularly important when faced with hotter, drier summers and the impact of climate change in general.

The Soil Association has approved Dalefoot Composts for organic growing. Being rich in nitrates and ammonium, plants grown in Dalefoot Composts produce strong, green healthy growth, making it better value in the long run. Dalefoot Composts may be considered an investment purchase, but knowing that they have a long life after their initial use makes them even more appealing.



Mark Lane is the UK’s first multi-award-winning garden designer, published gardening writer and BBC gardening presenter (BBC Morning Live, BBC Gardeners’ World and RHS Flower Shows). Mark has also appeared on BBC Celebrity Mastermind, BBC Pointless Celebrities and BBC Celebrity Weakest Link. He studied Art History at UCL, went into publishing and had a meteoric rise, becoming the Publishing Director for the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Managing Editor for the leading Arts publisher Thames & Hudson. Following a car crash in 2000, Mark retrained as a garden designer. Mark is also the gardening expert on QVC with his own shows ‘Garden Design with Mark Lane’, ‘Love Gardening with Mark Lane’, ‘Garden Solutions with Mark Lane’ and ‘My Garden Escape with Mark Lane’. Mark has a regular column in the Daily Express, Garden News and Grow Your Own and is the gardening expert for Stannah. Mark is to become one of the first Ambassadors for the National Trust, and is also an Ambassador for the charities Groundwork, Thrive, Greenfingers, Leonard Cheshire and Melanoma Fund, Patron of Core Landscapes, Equity Ambassador for BALI and a Trustee/Co-chair for Gardening with Disabilities Trust. Mark appears on many radio stations and is a regular speaker for the horticultural industry and is a disability advocate.


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© Barker and Bland Ltd t/a Dalefoot Composts 2014 - 2024. All rights reserved.
Barker and Bland is a limited company registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Dalefoot Farm, Heltondale, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2QL. Registered number: 8312959

This project is supported by the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas.

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