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!

Monday 28 July 2008

Weighing and counting the produce

Normally I just have an idea visually of how much food there is in the garden and polytunnel and adjust our eating habits accordingly. We are usually (apart from last year) self sufficient in apples, plums, berries of various sorts, spuds, onions, spinach, leeks, green beans, tomatoes, herbs, salads, courgettes and parsnips, by a mixture of growing them and freezing/bottling them for later use. We also grow most of our requirements for peppers, aubergines, cucumbers etc in the summer

AND I grow and dry herbs, rose petals and lavender ( for both culinary AND cosmetic/pot pourri uses!)

But after the disaster that was last summer, where we had no store spuds or onions, we had to buy a lot of fruit and veg and I didn't like it one bit. It also made me realise how much I take for granted being able to harvest what I want and eat it half an hour later, or eat our own frozen french beans in winter, or get a spud from the store to have Baked spud for a quick lunch.

So....I have started to weigh some of the stuff I harvest, especially from the polytunnel. I am NOT going to do it for the spuds from the garden at the moment, its just silly as there are too many! We have been eating entirely our own spuds since the start of June, but I WILL weigh the maincrop spuds when we actually DO lift them to store them

I am also not going to include salad stuff or herbs either as that would just get plain silly too! I do not buy any salad stuff from April through till October at all and we eat salad only sporadically during the rest of the year and that is only what I can grow in the polytunnel....

This year we are not yet harvesting the Onions as they are still putting on growth but they are looking good for a fine crop to store and use through the winter. The French Beans are not yet ready and the Leeks and Parsnips, although they will be good, are obviously not yet ready either. The Broad beans were rubbish this year, as were the Shallots. Carrots we are eating now are the thinnings from the rows although I shall begin to dig up the big ones soon...and freeze some of them for winter use. I have also got some more Carrots and Turnips in for a quick crop to eat and store in the autumn! Brassicas don't do well here...the pigeons massacre the lot and if they don't, the squirrels do........so I have not bothered to grow any previously.........BUT I am trying a few in the polytunnel this year so we shall see....

Sweetcorn...well I grow some as a treat but only about 30 plants and quite often the squirrels get a lot of them.

We now get 5 or 6 eggs a day from the 6 hens, even though Thursday keeps laying soft shelled eggs ( which she then treads on, the silly girl.....)

So...a lot of food and if we eat a fairly restricted diet we could not buy much in the way of fruit or veg!

And as an excercise to help my feeble memory I am going to note down as much of the stuff I harvest as I can remember!

I didn't do this earlier in the month day by day but I HAVE weighed the stuff as it comes in the house so.....

what has been harvested from the start of cropping, earlier in the month, until 24/07/07... EXCLUDING what we have also eaten !

Tomatos 8 Kg,
12 Cucumbers 500g each,
Courgettes 8 Kg,
Carrots 3 Kg
5 Kg Blackcurrants (frozen, some made into Blackcurrant Vodka)
4 Kg Redcurrants (Compostman made into 8 jars Jelly)
2 Kg Gooseberries (frozen, awaiting me to get on and make Chutney)

Tayberries ahem they get eaten before anything can be made from them I am afraid!

NO Rivers Early plums..( damn those squirrels!) and Pears likewise...and it is going to be a rubbish year for plums generally by the look of it...a combination of weather and squirrel I suspect.

THEN everyday for a few days I shall try to remember to post what I harvest!

25/07/08 2 Cucumbers 500g each, Tomatoes 2 Kg , Courgette 4 Kg, 6 eggs
26/07/08 Cherry Toms 600g, 1 Aubergine 150 g! ( first one hurrah!) 6 eggs
27/07/08 Toms 500g, 1 Cucumber 750 g whopper!, Courgettes 1 Kg, 1 Aubergine 200g, 4 eggs
28/07/08 Toms 1 Kg, Courgettes 2 Kg , 2 Aubergines 250 g each, 5 eggs

The Aubergines are a long thin variety called ( surprise) Long Purple which are really good for Ratatouille. The Tomatos are a mixture of Beef, various eating and cherry varieties.

I shall try to remember to do this every time I post...as it will help me to keep track of what we DO get from the garden! And if you ever visit at this time of year be prepared to be fed on tomato and courgette omlette, potatos and salads!

(Actually thats what we seem to be eating a lot of!)


  1. Great Blog - I am about 1/2 way through reading it, but just thought I would stop by and say hi first & before i forget!!
    Keep up the good work.

  2. Hi Ali, I have just had a read through YOUR blog, also! and put you on my blog roll!

    Gosh your branble pile WAS impressive! and the cleared, planted bed is even more so.....


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.