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How Wool Helps Growing Plants

How Wool Helps Growing Plants

Starting seeds is a gift we give ourselves in the spring, when the April rains begin to soak the cold brown earth and the promise of May flowers feels very far off, indeed. There are many ways to start seeds, but one of my favourites is to use raw wool. 

“Raw wool” is wool straight off the sheep, before it’s been scoured and spun into yarn. When sourcing raw wool, one does have to be mindful of the environment the sheep was living in, as raw wool will be filled with any debris, vegetable matter or pesticides used in the animal’s environment. I have a friend who raises sheep on Blind Line in Burlington, Ontario. A few years back, I went to his farm at shearing season and collected boxes of raw wool that were not going to be used. His farm is organic and his sheep live a life mostly outdoors in a healthy, natural environment. 

Farmer Brett Rogers on Blind Line Farm, Burlington, July 2022

I was originally inspired by Irmgard Kutsch and Brigitte Walden’s book “Spring and Summer Nature Activities for Waldorf Kindergarteners”, wherein it is the children’s work to clean the raw wool in large buckets with plungers, after which the mineral-rich water is poured into flower beds as fertilizer. The raw wool is rinsed and spread out and allowed to dry on a large clean sheet, and then on a sunny afternoon lazily picked over to remove any lingering debris. A little goes a long way, and I’ve had plenty of raw wool for several seasons from this one initial gathering. Store clean raw wool in a sealed plastic tote or plastic bag to prevent mice and bugs nesting.

Images: The sheep have been sheered, the raw wool before cleaning and picking the raw wool after it has been washed and the children working sheep manure into fertilizer. 

Once you’ve sourced your raw wool, it’s very simple to use as a seed starter. 

Raw wool for seed starting and sheep’s manure to make a fertilizer “tea”. 


Seed Tray or Pots (Make your own from cardboard toilet paper rolls - see our Instagram Reel!)

Organic Soil


Raw Wool

Filtered Water


Take a pot and fill the bottom with about an inch of raw wool. 

Next, layer the soil on top.

Plant your seed about one inch in. Pat to cover, firmly.

Water deeply.

Place in a sunny spot in a window.

Wait for seedlings to sprout!

The benefit of using wool as a starter is it helps feed the plant with rich organic minerals, cuts back on the amount of soil you need to use, and is completely compostable, so can be transplanted out with the plant into your garden on the day!  

We hope you are inspired to connect to wool in a wonderful way this spring.

Happy Planting!

Blog Post by Kate Heming Panchal


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