An odd composting question

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Primrose
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An odd composting question

Postby Primrose » Mon Feb 17, 2020 4:54 pm

A wardrobe turnout has produced two 100% dark coloured woollen sweaters with huge holes which are not repairable so the garments are only fit for disposal.

Would these decompose 100% in a compost heap and and if so, roughly how long would it practically take?

I wouldn,t want to be digging out half decomposted woollen lumps 18 months later.

If they can,t be composted in a heap, is there any other practical recyclable gardening use to which they could be put rather than just putting them in the rubbish bin in view of the fact we're all being encouraged to recycle. I,m wondering whether just cutting them into small squares and digging into the soil would help future moisture retention (and whether they would decompose more quickly in this way.

(Not needed in current storm/flooding conditions obviously but thinking of perhaps a future drought summer.
Last edited by Primrose on Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Monika » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:07 pm

I think it would take longer than 18 months for the wool to decompose, Primrose, but maybe I am wrong.
If you have hanging baskets or large pots to plant up, perhaps you could use them as liners?
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Primrose » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:33 pm

I wondered about that too Monika. Has anybody had any experience of trying something like this?
Last edited by Primrose on Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Westi » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:50 pm

Don't think so Primrose as companies are selling pure wool straight off the sheep as slug & snail deterrents (as well as feeding the soil a bit as oily). Maybe try their example to see if the slimy things don't like it? If their hype lives up to the expected result you will be able to re-purpose the wool for quite a while & have perfect hole free crops! I do think it will eventually be able to go on the compost but better to get an instant use first!
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Primrose » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:57 pm

I'm sure my husband probably has the odd holey woollen sock or two tucked away in a drawer somewhere. Perhaps I'd be better off starting off my experiment on a smaller scale?
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Geoff » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:58 pm

Anybody remember our debates with John Walker a few years back? Either on here or in the magazine he claimed to compost his old underpants among other things (though they might have had a starter culture compared with woollies). Might have to decide myself soon, wife's complaining about the holes in the jumper I'm wearing.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Primrose » Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:13 pm

I don't recall that Geoff but a couple of years ago I went to a gardening day where a keen lady composter brought along a demonstration "compost heap" in a big galvanised tub, listing all the items which had been thrown into the original composting mix, to show exactly how natural materials get broken down. .

Interestingly she had thrown in an old pair of trousers which had obviously been a mixture of natural fibres and man made ones.

What she produced after the end process (and I think this "model heap" may probably have been a couple of years in the composting process ) was something resembling two string bags joined at a waist band, where all the natural fibres had been consumed and eaten away and all the man made fibres had been left.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Stephen » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:26 am

Hi Promrose
I have certainly put the odd old wooly pullie into the compost having checked it is a wool only.
I'll try to remember how long they took to decompose but expect it to have been a bit longer than 18 months.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Primrose » Tue Feb 18, 2020 9:06 am

I suspect they might be useful as a good base for the bottom of our new compost cage, mixed in with some other starter material - when we can get round to digging it out! Not much point at the moment if it,s spread onto the soil and all the benefits are leached out by all this rain ! I suspect then it would have maximum time to start decomposing
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby jeff64 » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:20 pm

Primrose, there is a company in the north west that makes compost from sheeps wool and bracken, I think it's just called wool compost!
it might be worth a google and see what comes up.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Chantal » Tue Feb 18, 2020 10:15 pm

Gardeners world had an experiment with a woolly jumper versus regular hanging basket liner a few years back, I think in Titchmarsh days. Wool came out on top for all sorts of reasons.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby oldherbaceous » Wed Feb 19, 2020 6:27 am

Probably kept the plants warmer.... :)
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Monika » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:17 pm

Primrose, if you grow runner beans, a woolly jumper would make a good base for the bean trench, covered with garden compost and then soil. It would keep the roots moist.
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Chantal » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:32 pm

oldherbaceous wrote:Probably kept the plants warmer.... :)


I do recall that the wool had very good water retention, compared to the other baskets...
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Re: An odd composting question

Postby Diane » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:54 am

I recall that, in America, studies are taking place to research composting human bodies.
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