Feathers and environmental protection

One of the upsides of the Internet is having access to quality press from around the world. Now, I wouldn’t like to claim that the media are a true reflection of the state of a nation but they can give different perspectives.

A case in point is the New York Times. This morning, I’ve been reading an interesting article on Icelandic attempts to reforest their island. The article shows you what has happened since the Vikings cut down their forests a thousand years ago and now the struggle to grow trees again.

I’m having enough of a struggle growing my own trees due to the thinness of my soil. Being in a new build property may be the reason for the paucity of top soil rather than because it has all blown away – but I certainly don’t want to lose the rest.

Thus, a kind donation of feather-filled pillows from the friend we took to Helmsley yesterday is a step in the right direction. These are going in the compost bin, though maybe not all at the same time in view of how many she gave me. But the organic matter they add to the soil in the long run can surely only be a good thing.


As mentioned in previous posts, the jury is out regarding the effectiveness of hugel beds for building soil in my garden. Clearly, they must be adding organic matter but equally clearly far more OM is needed and on a continual basis. I’m not keen on building bed after bed – too much labour, apart from the disturbance to the soil – so it looks like homemade compost as mulch is the preferable option.

About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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26 Responses to Feathers and environmental protection

  1. So we are not off the wall in putting feathers on our compost

  2. gaiainaction says:

    That sounds like a real good idea Helen and I wish to check your follow up on that, real interesting!

  3. We have a similar issue, with lack of soil. We have more stones than soil lol, as you know. Do you add any type of algae to your compost? It would bulk it up and add lots of nutrition.

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I have added seaweed – we’re a long way from the sea, so it’s only when we’re at the coast that I collect, rather than making a special trip, but I hope it is doing the soil some good 😊.

      I guess you must be able to get algae fairly readily?

  4. Wow I didn’t know you could add feathers to compost bins – you are a wealth of information πŸ˜€

  5. skyeent says:

    Compost making should be the right direction Helen. Have you visited the centre for alternative techology in wales? They are in a former slate quarry, and have a demonstration area with the slate waste growing vegetables – one bed with no additives, one bed with top soil each year and one bed with compost each year. The one with compost grows far and away the best crops…. I’m sure I’ve read that feathers make a good slow release fertiliser. You could try putting some directly in the planting hole when planting a shrub or perennial as well.

    • Helen says:

      Not been to the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales but I had heard about the experiment. At one of the Walled Gardens I’ve visited over the last year (unfortunately, I can’t remember which) they did an experiment with Charles Dowding’s no-dig practice and found the same as the CAT.

      I’m sure the feathers are a good slow-release fertiliser! And I think some will go in the hole for my soon-to-be-delivered apple tree. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. I have never heard of adding feathers to compost. I learned something new. I hope the compost is successful for you. It is a learning curve to have a healthy compost. I add ash, crushed egg shells, leaves, grass cuttings. old potting soil from indoor plants and kitchen vegetable scraps to make our compost. I made the mistake to not pulverized egg shells. I now put them in the food processor. good luck
    Honey

  7. I’m a great believer in growing the soil πŸ™‚ Loads of organic material .. and mulch!

  8. I’ve just looked up more details on the feathers. Who knew? Great idea reusing someone’s old pillows, Helen. https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/composting/ingredients/composting-bird-feathers.htm

    • Helen says:

      Ha – I made the mistake of emptying the pillow case into the bin on a windy day. Won’t do that again!

      • Okay, it’s unkind of me to laugh but…that was funny. Lessons learned and hopefully you had a few laughs. Yesterday I was trying to tap out coffee grounds from my husband’s coffee machine into the kitchen composter. Instead I knocked over the composter and flung coffee grounds all over the kitchen floor. LOL

I love to read about your own experiences and any other feedback you have, so look forward to your comments below.

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