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!

Tuesday 1 July 2008

An update on the contaminated manure issue.

An update on the contaminated manure issue.

For those who didn't read back a bit, this has arisen where animals eat (or are bedded down on) grass/silage/hay originating from farms where the hormone-based herbicide aminopyralid ( and some others apparently) has been sprayed on fields,...and the manure becomes contaminated. Crops grown in this manure become deformed and fail to thrive, even after the manure has been cstacked for a number of months.
See the RHS page on this
See the Observer article from 29th June 2008

What the Observer article doesn't mention is that apparently some people are also getting the same problem from bought in compost....apparently made from such stuff as composted hay. ( which presumably was sprayed with the same stuff!)

There is more on the PSD ( Pesticides Safety Directorate) site

I can't help feeling this has big implications for composting in general. Who knows where this stuff has been sprayed? I KNOW ( because I emailed them to ask!) at least one Peat Free Compost manufacturer makes their bagged compost from composted timber, composted Park waste and composted Household Waste Site green waste. I don't know if Council Parks departments use it.

All I know is I am watching my plants for signs of this terrible problem and keeping my fingers crossed I have used enough of my home made compost , to have avoided it!

A good link to an allotment group who have got affected plants is here
and their blog is at

Hmm time to make EVEN more compost at home I guess!


  1. Is it me or does anyone else find it a little strange that the pesticides safetly directorate don't say let us know of you problem but email the manufacturer of the problem!!!

    TiffKat the devistated allotment holder(with as much as 25% of our site effected too so not alone).

  2. TiffKat I agree with you.....and what are you supposed to do with all the produce you can't eat?..The advice is to dig it into the soil to speed up the decomposition of the herbicide....but that might be quite hard for some folk..

    I am SO sorry about your crops btw...

  3. compostwoman: It's great that you are raising awareness of this issue, I feel like I'm banging my head against a wall trying to get the Govt Agencis interested.

    Tiffkat: I'm sorry to hear from another affected allotment holder. I've lost my toms spuds & beans to contaminated bags of compost, but because I spread it all over my veg plot even those plants that look OK are NOT to be eaten (according to the advice from the RHS).


  4. Jk I am sorry about your crops, also.
    Apparently this was discussed on Gardeners QT today, so it might be worth using the "Listen again" facility on the BBC?


Hello! Thank you for reading my blog and for commenting. I try to reply as quickly as I can and I really appreciate your interest in my life and doings here in The Compost Bin.