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 16 June 2009

A very catch up post!

Gosh, I have not posted for more than a week!

The reason being, it is *that* time of the year! Like many of you I am madly busy in my veg patch, the first crops are now ready to harvest (new potatoes, carrots, broad beans, spinach, courgettes, shallots and onions, strawberries, cucumbers, salads.....) and weeding weeding weeding is a priority!

As is grass mowing and compost making...Compostman has been scything the long grass and the comfrey today, and I have been filling up the newly emptied compostbins.

The compost has been dug out of them to go in various raised beds, and I have been planting climbing french and canadian beans up beanpoles cut from our own woodland ( feel very smug about this!) as encouraged by the Small Woods Association, of which I am a proud member! and who I occasionally work for...If you want a great place to go, visit the Green Wood centre in Coalbrookedale, its wonderful!

In the last 10 days I have also done 5 full days of Master Composter stuff which I organised, booked, transported the display etc to and from (and made sure the lovely other Master Composters had a good time )

This is me joining in the drumming at the World Environment Day stands at The Big Event.

I spent Sat and Sun this weekend just gone at Hellens in Much Marcle, at The Garden Festival, which is the Hereford Waldorf School Summer fair. A wonderful place and a very worthy cause to help, and it is a pleasure to go and do a stall at such a lovely event.

While I was there I did an interview on BBC Hereford and Worcester..click here to listen...go to 45 mins into the programme.

Last week I started the first session of a new Eco Club I have been commissioned to run at a school near Bromyard and I went to a meeting of the new Transition Town Ledbury group and have been asked to join the Steering Group, to help get things "transitioning".

So lots of outside activities going on here, must be because it is approaching Midsummer! I DO feel energised and buzzing with life at the moment, I must say, despite still feeling a bit rough from the nasty flu bug thingy.

At Compost Mansions, as well as all that harvesting and weeding and compost moving and making, I have earthed all up the spuds again, harvested a lot of new ones, planted out climbing beans, mowed(with the push mower!) around the edge of the veg patch and I have cleared all round the clearing and log circle in the wood. I have potted on numerous brassicas and salads both for home and for the school garden use.

I am preparing for a couple of days of school party activities in the wood at the end of this week which is very exciting. I have also been writing course notes and brochures and web pages for my environmental activities in the wood and I have planned a series of courses to be held here in the wood in 2010, training early years practitioners in "having fun in the woods" type of stuff.

AND we now have a house wreathed in scaffolding, as we are having a few bits of work done/doing a few bits of painting on the roof and up the top of the walls and Compostman is going to be putting up THE SOLAR PANELS !!

Yes, the ones which he was going to do last year, but then he had to have an operation so couldn't . But now he is well again and we are SO excited about the fossil-fuel-free hot water we will be getting.

Having scaffolding and building work going on does make it more "challenging" to try to get on with anything, however......

And sadly as a result I have been unable to do much in the way of housework AT ALL as there is too much other stuff to do..

So thats a shame ;-)


  1. I like your priorities - housework definatley at the BOTTOM of the list!! I love this time of year but boy isn't it busy. Don't forget to sit down for a cuppa yourself now and then.

    Rosie x

  2. Wow, you have been busy! Still, there's autumn and winter for blogging, spring and summer is all about being outdoors. Enjoy :)

  3. gosh you are busy. could you possibly do a post on the solar panels? very facinated by this, about the initial cost,any grants, temp of water when it comes out and forecasted savings... demanding arent I! I am hoping to convince the other halfto invest in these.

    Are you keeping notes of how much you are harvesting? I have seen a dramatic downturn in our produce compared to last year at this time. Do you think this is due to not replacing the compost?

    we have moved our compost bin and it never seems hot so have had a very poor amount??? gosh this growing lark puts you through the mill!

  4. I promise to do a post on the Solar Panels, the cost, the savings, the works!

    Compostman is a qualified Solar Panel fitter and he spent all his professional life working in research on this sort of stuff...so we have a LOT of data about it...and I suspect the process will be very well photographed ;-)

    And I have a professional interest, as not only am I an engineer as well, who worked in this sort of field for many years BUT I now work as a Sustainability Advisor..so I am using our experience as a "case study" on how to ......

    Oh dear, I think I shouldn't have said that...I have probably jinxed it all now............
    I have not noticed any down turn in harvests so far...in fact I am earlier and have more this year...

    BUT I DID change all my compost ( I always do...) so that may have something to do with it....?

    I hpe your harvest gets better, anyway as it is early days yet....

  5. Wow, you are very busy at your place. When you day you have used your compost do you mean all those bins we saw when we visited? Fiona and I are going to be rebuilding ours in the autumm based on your design.

    And don't worry about the housework. Do what I do, if it looks too bad there is always the garden to enjoy, LOL


  6. Yes I do Margaret!

    I have dug out 5 of them , used the compost in the raised beds and refilled them already. I have actually just taken delivery of 3 more bins, 2 "Daleks" and a huge 850 l one, and made another wooden one to add to the line as well...

    mmmm compost.....I love it....

  7. Well you do look busy.... but the good sort of busy :)

    Do you find being a Master Composter takes up a lot of time? Was the training very long? They are recruiting for some in Gloucestershire, and I'm not sure whether to apply or not...

    - Sera x

  8. Sera the initial training was 2 days, one at Ryton Garden Organic.

    You have to commit to doing 20 hrs in the first year.

    I do a lot more ;-) but thats just me!

    Its good fun and I strongly recommend it. I think I have had a big impact talking about compost, in terms of reducing Carbon Dioxide emissions, and its such an essential part of gardening.

    Go for it! I bet you would enjoy it....

  9. Sera shuld have said, its 30 hours not 20.........

  10. Blimey, you have been really busy. All good stuff though. Love the sound of the Eco Club. We've now got a recycling club at our school, which also does other stuff like litter picks, energy watch as well as recycling. All great fun :-D

    AND...I know what you mean about the housework :-D

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