Our Story

Fertile Fibre how it all started and how it got to where it is today….

Rob and Kim Hurst-Chealsea

Fertile Fibre was the brainchild of Robert Hurst way back in 1989. Robert and Kim Hurst had been growing aromatic and scented foliage plants and herbs since 1976 as The Cottage Herbery  - always organically & to medal-winning standards.

 At this time Robert was a hop farmer in Worcestershire and was able to use a by-product of this process, known as “hop waste”, to grow his plants.  A tentative search of coconut importers was able to track down a supplier of coir - which was, back then, a waste material. Robert, being one of the first to use coir, was able to explain the importance of low salt levels.  It was at this time Robert approached W L Dingleys for help in producing an organic nutrient and with Bob Ubenski assigned to the task, it was not long until the right nutrient was identified and production started. With the help of the late great Geoff Hamilton they were able to make, trial and analyse different recipes until they had the right combinations for production of the three original Fertile Fibre mixes - Seed, Multipurpose and Potting.  There was no marketing budget or sales material - so it all started by word of mouth  - the word soon spread. Robert was not only producing award-winning plants in his own compost but also growing organically and peat-free, which hadn’t been done before and to this day he claims to be the first.

Both Fertile Fibre and The Cottage Herbery grew throughout the ’90s.  As sales of Fertile Fibre grew year on year, Rob and Kim found they were getting further away from their great love of growing plants and to allow them more time to devote to the nursery they sought a buyer for Fertile Fibre.

Matthew Dent of Fertile Fibre Ltd

Matthew Dent bought the business in August 2004 and moved production to Withington Court. Matthew was no stranger to the farm as he had been renting Robert’s hop yards for the previous ten years and had seen Fertile Fibre grow from the start. Robert was more than happy to pass the company on to a friend. Robert has stayed on at Fertile Fibre helping with enquiries and spearheading product trialling, which is still done in conjunction with the Cottage Herbery. Since 2004 production capacity has steadily increased over the years to meet demand. The compost ranges have been expanded to include vegan and biodynamic composts which have proved just as popular as the traditional, well tried and tested Fertile Fibre mixes. We continue to work closely with the Soil, Vegan and Biodynamic associations to meet the increasingly strong emphasis on quality and traceability and continue to source and manufacture exciting new products to meet the needs of our customers. We remain proud of the fantastic peat-free, organic composts we make and look forward to a future when everyone grows wonderful flowers, fruits and vegetables in 100% peat-free compost.