Thinking the wool would help hold moisture in the soil and perhaps provide other benefits for plants, Wilde did a little experimenting and was pleased with the results.
“Wool holds 20 times its weight in water. By incorporating it into the soil, the soil can stay moist and plants don’t dry out as quickly,” Wilde said. Plus, “wool is high in nitrogen, so it makes great fertilizer.”
The wool, which Wilde eventually pelletized to make it easier to use, also creates porosity — oxygen space in the soil — helping plants’ roots expand and grow.
When Wilde was approached by another Utah farmer looking for organic steer manure, he encouraged the farmer, who owned greenhouses, to see how the wool pellets worked for his tomato plants. Hesitant at first, the greenhouse grower found the wool pellets delivered on Wilde’s promise.