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 and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats 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 am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

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!

Saturday 31 May 2008

WHO is eating my strawberries?

The culprit!

Every time the polytunnel door is opened Ginger tries to get inside to eat ALL the strawberries she can reach.

Friday 30 May 2008

Beautiful Butterflies

The children at school have been following the life cycle of the Painted lady butterfly.rearing them from egg to butterfly...and here are some on the herb garden at school...

Beautiful, arn't they?

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Squatters in the bird box.

After the sad news about the baby blackbirds and the robin...some GOOD news! We have Great Tits in the nestbox on the shed next to the polytunnel!

Monday 26 May 2008

Sad day.....

We had this Blackbird nest in the Climbing Hydrangea on the north face of the house...I snapped this last week , but sadly three of the birds were killed by something...

now we have discovered that the last baby bird has died in the nest...

I guess the 48 hours of non stop rain and wind into that wall may have had something to do with it...

also a baby robin flew into one of the kitchen windows today and broke its neck...

despite all the windows having RSPB bird silhouettes......

Mother Nature can be sad sometimes...........

Sunday 25 May 2008

Busy making more beds....

This is the rather messy area I constructed some raised beds in earlier on in the year...its all a bit overwhelmed with comfrey at the moment!

So I decided to clear it up, use some of the comfrey in the compost and add another raised bed there.

The tools I used...no petrol powered tools used today!
The bed where I have some Early spuds and some Artichokes growing...now visible as the comfrey has gone!

This last picture is of the main veg garden with some of the carrot bed snugly covered up to protect it from the carrot fly!

Other woman make beds in bedrooms...I make them outside to grow veg in :-0 !

Friday 23 May 2008


I have been very busy this week, I had an Eco club session on Tuesday ( Pond dipping...good fun!) and then on Wednesday I was gardening with the school children all afternoon...it is looking good in the Organic veg garden!

Thursday and Friday I attended a First Aid in the Outdoors" course as part of my Forest School Leader training...phew! hard work but good fun and VERY needed!!

This course was, like the one I did last year, run by the very good Anubis Training.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Something is eating my Spindle trees!! ( and the Bird cherry and the Acacia.....)

I have found out what the nasty little caterpillars are...the Spindle ( or Cherry...or Acacia) Ermine Moth...I shall have to remove the stems which have them weaving away, apparently...hmm a bit tricky on a 50 ft Acacia tree!!

Monday 19 May 2008

Update on the growing tomato experiment

Remember, I am experimenting with growing mixes in the polytunnel? One half of this picture has plants grown in MY compost and the other half has plants grown in my usual potting compost.

18th May 2008

May 2 2008

April 25 2008

The plants are identical, from the same sowing and were selected to be as closely matched in health, size etc as possible.

I shall take regular photos and we shall see what happens!!

Sunday 18 May 2008

New compost bins!!

I still have some compost bin corner posts left over in the garden shed so I have recently taken delivery of some extra boards for my compost bins from the RecycleWorks

...so I can add a few more bins to the line already in the garden.

So, we spent a bit of time today adding 2 more bins on the end of the line, having first cleared the weeds and grass away...

Compostman is currently cutting down all the finished daffodils in the garden and pulling up nettles so I had LOADS of material waiting to be composted!! I also had a collection of old cardboard waiting to be mixed in with the greenstuff....It really helps to build up a collection of "green" stuff and "brown" stuff when filling your bins, as a full bin works more efficiently and composts quicker and hotter.
I started off with a layer of well composted bark shreddings from one of the storage bins then added a mix of paper bits and grass clippings.
I then added a layer of grass clippings and a layer of very damp cardboard bits on the top.
Then a layer of nettles ( without the roots- they go in a "weedy " bin to make compost which is only used in the bottom of holes...)and another layer of card on the top....
I repeated the layers of green stuff ( nettles/comfrey/grass) and brown stuff ( card/paper) until the bins were full to the brim.

They will heat up FAST over the next few days and then the level will drop...and I can top them up again with alternating levels of green/brown stuff....

making compost is really easy...especially if you can get a good pile of stuff together first!

Thursday 15 May 2008

Tools ( for self reliance)

Whilst at the Blossomtime event I was browsing a "Tools for Self Reliance" stall and found a wonderful old scythe...just what I have been after to tackle the long grass and nettles around the garden and wood...

it needed a bit of tlc, which compostman gave it..a new metal strap to hold the handle in place and the blade needed sharpening,
compostman has been trying it out on the daffodils and nettles around the garden...

There is something very satisfying about using a scythe, the swish sound as the blade cuts through the long stems and the fact you can hear the birds singing while you work which is not possible if you use a petrol strimmer to do the job!!

Monday 12 May 2008


I LOVE the scent of Lilac....and we have several flowering at the moment in the garden...so I have picked some and their scent is filling the house now.....
Also there is LOTS of Honesty, and Sweet Cicely and a few Blue and White Bells left....so enjoy


Saturday 10 May 2008

Day 5 of Forest School

a day in the woods, making things,

baking things over a campfire

oooooooooo it was SUCH fun!!

planning sessions for children to have fun in the woods...

Oh I am SO inspired....

Friday 9 May 2008

More Forest School.

I have spent another 2 days this week on my Forest School Leader training course...we spent a day doing academic stuff and natural crafts today and OH! what fun it was...

We did some natural material crafts...painting with natural dyes.

and this is a garland I made out of dogwood, ivy, dandylions and buttercups

Wednesday 7 May 2008

An experiment

I grow the indoor tomatos and peppers and Aubergines in large pots standing in trays inside the Polytunnel. The reason being that the polytunnel ( errected by the previous owners, not us!) was sited on a load of subsoil and rubble dug out from when the garage was built...so the ground is NOT suitable to grow directly into!!

So...I use builders buckets with holes drilled in the base as large pts and plant into them, it works very well, and then the compost goes on the veg garden at the end of the growing season.

I usually grow in bought in Organic peat free potting compost BUT last year I used some of my own compost and made it into a growing medium, which worked well.

So THIS year, I am experimenting. One half of this picture has plants grown in MY compost and the other half has plants grown in my usual potting compost.

April 25 2008

May 2 2008

The plants are identical, from the same sowing and were selected to be as closely matched in health, size etc as possible.

I shall take regular photos and we shall see what happens!!


Oh what fun!

I spent the Bank holiday Monday either drinking cider OR running my compost stall to promote home composting.....and also chatting to our neighbours and generally eating apple themed cakes and drinking lots of tea..........

compostman and compostgirl walked across the field from our house to join in the fun...

here is compostgirl with a willow whistle made by Paul Hands of "Bees and Trees"....
and then we all watched the WONDERFUL Leominster Morris Men dance the May weekend in.....and bless the apple blossom....