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 22 August 2009

Harvest time!

It was so wet here for most of July and early August! I kept on looking out of the(very shaded by scaffold) windows and despairing at the non stop rain.

Compostgirl needed constant nursing during most of July, then I became not at all well, having caught her very nasty stomach bug (hmmm...thinks....wonder if the shading aspect of the scaffolding made my SAD kick in? That would have made the illness/CFS stuff even worse!)

Compostman was very busy with the roof and getting on with house repairs while we still had the scaffold up, so he couldn't do much in the way of harvesting produce, he had more than enough to do outside!

So things outside were left unpicked or it was too wet to do so. Which really worried me and upset me. After all just think of all that effort and time and money going to waste!

But then the rain stopped and the sun shone and I started to feel better...so the harvest has commenced!

Sunflowers and nasturtiums for decoration, lavender for healing and pot pourri, beetroot, turnips, the very last of the broad beans, potatoes, a huge marrow and some peas...

Tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, various basil's. The tomatoes were washed, sliced, put in the dehydrator and 14 hours later were in jars in a dark cupboard..... some courgettes have been blanched and frozen as well as some dehydrated.

The Rivers Early plums were very rapidly turned into jam and a lot of wine is on the go now....we tend to preserve the earlier plums and freeze the later Victorias for pies or eating as desserts.

This lot was one trip to the polytunnel!

it was dried or frozen by 12 hours later...

and the bench cleaned down and cleared for the next wave of fresh veg. This kitchen worktop is normally a homework table, a dumping ground and a general surface to put stuff on..but at this time of year it becomes "food processing central" and I am ruthless about keeping it clear and clean LOL.

The "Beth" pear tree has been amazingly prolific this year,

Compostman picking some of them...

We picked 70 Lbs and there were still pears left on the tree!

I have graded them, some are fully ripe and are in the 'fridge waiting to be eaten or preserved, some need ripening further and are in the blue stacking fruit trays. I am going to make lots of Pear chutney and some Pear wine and I have sliced and dried a lot of pears. We have also eaten a lot of them as they are juicy and delicious.

We have also lifted the Shallots, Onions and Garlic and despite the very wet weather in July it is a good harvest :-) so when they have dried off fully they can go into storage for use during the next 8 months.

Compostman has finished lifting the potatoes and despite the blight and the terrible weather we have a good crop (probably due to getting them in the ground early AND growing Early/Early Maincrop varieties to beat the blight!)

We have over 210 lb of spuds in store now which will see us through to early spring and a load more damaged ones to eat up over the next few weeks.

Onions, Shallots, Potatoes, preserved fruits, Tomatoes, Carrots and Leeks in the ground, Kale and Sprouts and Cabbage growing well, Courgettes and Pumpkins ongoing, Plums, Apples etc coming on....we have the makings of a good harvest to see us through the winter...

I do feel very tired after a hard week or so of work, but it is a "good" tired, the sort that you get when you KNOW you have done a good job of work.

I think we have nearly caught up, now.. ;-)


  1. That's what I call a harvest! And I thought I was busy with my beans and courgettes! You must have massive freezers or a huge family to feed. It's nice to see a common feeling of happiness during harvest time.

  2. AWESOME!!! What a great harvest. i cant wait to do all that. now im hungry!

  3. Now that's some wonderful harvest! Always gives a great feeling when we grow our own, despite the hard work:)

  4. We were all worried about the weather weren't we, but just look at your harvest. Brilliant isn't it!

  5. That is a brilliant harvest, especaillay considering all the things that went against you this year.

  6. Wonderful harvest, despite all the challenges!

  7. What a brilliant harvest, just what I'm aiming for next year, this year we just have dribs and drabs of preserving to do as we have not got fully into production, but lots to eat fresh from the ground.

    Sue xx

  8. Wonderful harvest! I have been debating a dehydrator but wonder whether I have room for one & whether the box shaped ones are better than the round which seem to have rather more negative aspects according to some reviews.

  9. Lovely photographs of your harvest. I.m glad you are feeling better now and are able to cope with all that goodness.

  10. The veg is lovely but, oh, the fruit!!! That is amazing! You have a beautiful harvest! Congrats!

  11. Goodness, just looking at the photos makes me feel tired, thinking of all the work involved in harvesting and processing it all. Looks like a bumper crop.

  12. First time visitor - what an excellent blog you have going here, so in your face real - i like that very much - and the pictures, wow - thanks for sharing, peace for all

  13. Oh, my, wow! I'm so impressed. This reminds me, though, why I keep my garden a little smaller. I'm a public school teacher, and school starts in the U.S. just as the garden is really getting ripe. I'd have to do without sleep to put up everything and get school started.

  14. Hello all!

    have spent the day freezing courgettes, drying pears and grading fruit....as well as making various cosmetic creams and soap and candles..a very domestic sort of day here, as it was drizzling all day...:-)

    also looking up recipies for chutney...as that is the next major task..!

    Am very tired BUT its all worth it to see bags of frozen produce, jars of jam and chutney, boxes of dried stuff and assorted other preserves stacked up.. :-))

    Also have sold a fair bit of the surplus, which is nice!

  15. Looking at your pears I am wondering if I have finally identified my mystery pear tree - mine too are very early and look pretty similar, and it's a small tree.

    If you have a sec could you look at the pic on this link and let me know if you think this is Beth?



  16. I have had a look and does it go very yellow when ripe? and the pear around the stalk end wrinkle up? if so, sounds like a Beth.

    Mine don't keep at all, but are delicious and jucy for the brief time they are around...

    Thanks for visiting my blog, btw!


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.