Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically, which we share with Chickens, Cats, Guinea Pigs and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I work as an environmental educator, writer and Forest School leader at Moors Wood . I am a Master Composter and spent 10 years as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council. I offer talks and run workshops and events where we talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. We also make crafts and have fun.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun. To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!


Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Why compostwoman?


As you may have guessed from the title of this blog and from my blog name, I am passionate about composting.Apart from making my own compost from the green waste we generate at home, I also "spread the word" about the benefits of home composting to my fellow man. - I am a MASTER COMPOSTER.


And what is a Master Composter, I hear you cry?

Master Composters are volunteers who encourage people in their local community to start composting at home, and offer support to people who are already home composting and may be having difficulties or need encouragement.
Anyone can be a Master Composter – you do not have to already be an expert in composting as Master Composters are trained in 'how to compost' before they start their activities. There are Master Composters of every age group and they come from a wide variety of backgrounds. This contributes to the effectiveness of the scheme – Master Composters can reach parts that other compost promoting activities cannot reach as they talk to their friends, family and neighbours, attend village fairs and it has even been know for a Master Composter to hold a compost-themed children’s birthday party!
Master Composter schemes are county-specific as they tend to be run by the County Council or in some cases the District Council, or by the Wildlife Trust for the county. The Master Composter scheme is administered by Garden Organic ( formerly HDRA) and the organising body for YOUR county, for more info see

I joined my county scheme last year and have had a lot of fun spreading the word about the benefits of home composting - benefits to the environment, to the council tax payer ( that's YOU) to the health of the nation as we grow more food from the compost we generate, to the reduction in CO2 emissions as a result of home composting, to the re-connection with the cycle of sowing, growing and harvesting food, to the glow of saving money AND growing food to feed your family - and all from stuff you were going to throw away!

As a Master Composter I get paid expenses so am not out of pocket and I have the warm glow of doing something I believe in and having fun in the process!

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Organic gardening

I am a long term subscriber to Organic Gardening Magazine and on its website this month is a really good item about organic gardening.

So I am going to reproduce it here and if you want to know more go to

http://www.organicgardeningmagazine.co.uk

Why go organic/

10 reasons to go organic

1. It’s healthier for the soil
Your soil will become healthier. A rich, healthy soil is the answer to almost everything! Artificial fertilisers damage the soil, weaken your plants and pollute the water supply.

2. It’s magic!
You'll discover the magic of composting. Compost is a rich source of food and nutrients for the soil, and is created by recycling waste organic material (garden waste, food waste, paper and cardboard), so it is therefore a 'double positive'.

3. It’s safe
You'll never have to worry again about all those poisons lurking in the garden shed or under the kitchen sink, that your children and pets just might get hold of.

4. It’s healthier for you and your family
You can be absolutely confident that all the delicious food you grow and bring fresh from your garden to your kitchen doesn't contain any potentially damaging pesticide residues (and hasn't been transported halfway round the world!).

5. It’s satisfying
You'll begin to adopt a more holistic way of thinking and looking, discovering the ways in which everything is connected and interacts, and being part of this connectedness can become an enormous source of satisfaction.

6. It’s wildlife-friendly
Wildlife will regard your garden as a haven from the ravages of intensive farming. Birds, bees and butterflies, hedgehogs and worms will all become your friends and contribute to the health and well being of your garden.

7. It’s eco-friendly
You will realise that your garden is part of a much wider environment and that by your eco-friendly practices you can make a contribution to the sustainability of the planet. You'll find yourself looking for new ways to work with nature rather than constantly feeling you're fighting against it.

8. It’s good for biodiversity
Organic gardeners delight in the rich diversity of the natural world. Instead of just growing the same half a dozen varieties every year, you'll discover there are a thousand different types of tomato or lettuce or potato or tulip or whatever takes your fancy. You can save your own seed of rare or unusual plants and even, if the idea appeals, become a guardian of a particular variety, thus preserving it for future generations.

9. It's therapeutic
Organic gardening is about balance and harmony. Gardening can become an enormously therapeutic activity when you discover ways of relieving yourself of the struggle to 'keep everything down'. Plants want to grow! It's what they do. The organic gardener is simply looking for ways to co-operate with and support them.

10. It’s supportive
You'll find you belong to a worldwide family of friendly, like-minded, enthusiastic, knowledgeable people, who will be only too happy to share their experience of gardening and growing, and enrich yours.

If you're new to the idea of gardening organically, and in the past you've been used to using weedkiller and pesticides and artificial fertilisers, you may think there's a mountain to climb to become organic.

Although gardening organically is really an attitude of mind, you can go a step at a time; no body's going to send the organic police round!

The organic attitude is about 'live and let live' (except, perhaps, when it comes to slugs and weeds!). And there are simple, easy steps you can take to move towards a more sustainable and eco-friendly way of working.

Farmers market

On Saturday we went to Woolhope Farmers Market - excellent!

Lovely veg from local Shared Harvest, who provide us with our veg box ( see previous post)

and beautiful pork from local "The Squeaky Pig Co" who produce the most wonderful free range pork meat, sausages, bacon etc....

and Herefordshire Nature Trust provise "Wildplay" sessions for the children........

a really good morning was had by all.....

Monday, 26 February 2007

Snowy Weather

A picture of our garden in the snow- very pretty but also very cold!...




Posted by compostwoman at 12.00

Nest boxes for Birds

Today we put up some nest boxes on various outbuildings. My husband built some boxes which were suitable for various birds, he built a robin box, a blue tit box and also a bat box. These will hopefully be inhabited very soon and I can regale you all with pictures and stories about the birds and their young.If anyone reading this is interested in building and erecting nest boxes, the RSPB have really good and very clear instructions at the following site:-

http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/nestboxes/nestboxes/making.asp

a similar RSPB site, more suitable for children is:-

http://www.rspb.org.uk/youth/makeanddo/activities/nestbox/index.asp

This is from the RSPB Wildlife Explorers club set of pages and I can strongly recommend any children joining this club - we are family members of the RSPB and my daughter loves the stuff she gets sent!
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