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!

Sunday 19 June 2011

Blasted foxes. Have just lost 3 more hens.

Blasted foxes.
Have just lost 3 hens to one. RIP Queenie the Blue Orpington, Vanilla the Cream Legbar and Pearl the White Leghorn.
They were killed right by the hen house, at about 3 pm this afternoon, with us around and about the garden! All other hens v.traumatised and 2 looking like they are in deep shock - may lose them overnight I suspect, they do not look at all good. Am so cross, and upset.
 I am very upset. I loved them all, Queenie was a bit useless in the egg laying department but was so pretty.
 Vanilla I got as an egg and Ruby Dorking hatched her out ( and then was killed by a fox - !)

 and Pearl was just lovely. 

am seriously thinking of giving up keeping hens - if they are going to be killed like this it just feels so sad..
Vanilla's mama Ruby Dorking was hatched out by Sweetiepie the Marans, who didn;t get killed by the foxes, today...despite being 5 and senile( even by hen standards! )
So am watching second generation of my loving care being killed, here...so sad.
I am SO fed up -

Thursday 16 June 2011

First ripe tomato of 2011

Harvested (and ate straight away!) the first ripe tomato from the polytunnel on Wednesday evening. Mmm delicious!

It was a Latah - an early variety and now I have picked several more.

I normally eat the first ripe tomato (Gardeners Delight or Yellow Perfection) from the polytunnel about July 12 th...but will be picking ripe ones from those bushes next week, by the looks of it...

Tuesday 14 June 2011

From enemies, to best friends.

These are pictures of Tabitha and Cassie. When Cassieopea arrived with us as a rescue kitten back in Sept 2010, Tom and Tabitha ( siblings and our existing cats) hated her. On sight. Tom just hissed, but Tabitha attacked Cassie at every opportunity.

Look at them now! They LURVE each other! They sleep together, wash each other, hunt and play and are just BFF, forever.

Funny the way things work out, isn't it? Lol.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Cold nights

Was worried to see on the Max/Min thermometer  it was only 2.3 C in our garden in the middle of Fri night.
Last night it was 1.9 C !  1.9 C !  At 3 am last night! ...It .was very cold and I was worrying about my plants ( veg and polytunnel) and couldn't sleep.These sorts of temperatures are NOT what you expect in June, here.
I had covered up as much as possible with horticultural fleece, but I don't have enough to cover it all up! Fortunately everything looked ok, this morning 
Today it is raining! Hurrah! we have had so little rain and my garden is looking very parched. the veg patch now looks green and lush. 
I have spent the afternoon potting on various veg plants AND potting up scented pelagonium rooted cuttings. Mmm they smell wonderful! And also more cuttings of the African Violet my late MiL gave me, when Compostman and I got married. It's still going strong, after 26 years... a bit like Compostman and I :-)
I love scented perlagoniums. I have a small collection and always want more. Sadly, the large outdoor ones didn't make it through the harsh winter, despite being wrapped up in the polytunnel :- 

Monday 6 June 2011

Monday - my ear hurts.

We had biblical rain, yesterday. It is sunny here now. The veg patch looks much refreshed. Hurrah!

I have an ear infection - it hurts.

A lot.

I am going back to bed. Maybe later on today I may feel more sociable and feel like posting more!

Just hoping it is not the start of another bout of Labarynthitis!

Sunday 5 June 2011

Rainy Sunday

Have been gardening and composting all morning in the pouring rain Very Happy Only just had lunch and a sit down!

I like warm rain....

Also have washed out the rabbit hutch and now have to refill it and replace it in the run. Compostgirl has cleaned out the two Guinea pig runs and refilled them with paper and hay etc. She did a really good job of it!

Am having a bit of a sit down before I start on that, and potting up some okra plants and more tom plants , for outside growing. Will then plant some pea plants outside...


I have just planted some sprouting earlies in old growing medium bags.. I had some left over from the 400 seed spuds... so why not? If you don't plant them, they will certainly NOT grow...but if you do, they might give you a few nice spuds....

I have just eaten some gourmet baby broad beans, new potatoes ..yummy, mmmmm along with a casserole of home grown leeks, dried tomatoes and courgettes and local chicken,.......yummy yummy....and home made cider and later on, a glass of home made wine...mmmm

Wine and cider bottling

Busy day here today; Cg off out to friends all day so am going to sort out kitchen of doom and clear up some more felled beech. Have already "beech picked" the best bits of wood for turning....

I want to bottle 3 Djs of wine so before I can wash and sterilise the bottles, I need to clear out the sink end of the kitchen ( as there is "stuff" all over the benches either side and I have NO ROOM to work, there....)

Am ashamed to admit the only time this "stuff" gets put away is when we are bottling alcohol... Embarassed

I am sure the reason the stuff creeps back , is because we regularly use it around the sink/food prep area, but it lurks on the bench tops and looks messy.

I like clear benches.Very Happy

Anyway, surfaces cleared, cleaned down, bench in lower kitchen cleared, cleaned down, clean bottles retrieved from loft ( thank you Cm), assorted stuff washed up and put away so area clear to work on.
Lunch made around me by Cm, and then 30 l of cider moved on into cleanstorage and 20 bottles of plum wine bottled up.

Had a few accidental "samples" on the way, as you tend to when syphoning, Also cleaned out utility room sink, animal food prep area, cat feeding areas ( how the heck to they splatter gravy 5 ft up a wall?????)

Am shattered.

Saturday 4 June 2011

Ledbury Opposes Tesco Superstore meeting

No to Tesco meeting  ran from 6 -8 pm, was absolutely packed out and was very interesting and vibrant.

Lots of food for thought from meeting, loads of positive ideas and goodwill AND donations!

We are peculiarly lucky in Ledbury, we have a Tesco and a Co Op supermarket already ( one each end of the long High Street) BUT we still have a thriving High St with 4 Butchers, Bakers, a Hardware, 2 Stationary, 2 Book and Record, a Sweet, several Alternative, several Gift, a couple of Deli, a couple of Greengrocers ( including one organic) several phamacies and all sort of other shops and lots of lovely little cafes and resturants.

IF we get an OOT Tesco (or other) Supermarket out on the Bypass, a lot of the small shops will wither and die, and the things which make Ledbury a wonderful place to live and a lovely place to visit as a tourist, will goCrying or Very sad

Not going to let that happen to my town without a fight. Evil or Very Mad

IF you like the sound of Ledbury as it is, please visit the Fb page Ledbury Opposes Tesco Superstore and give us some support!

Friday 3 June 2011

Fri 3 June 2011

Extraordinarily hot here, have been cleaning out hen house and drinkers etc and hoeing in the garden.

2 loads of washing done and on the line -

Tesco meeting in Ledbury, tonight start of the "No" to the Superstore campaign...Compostman and Compostgirl have urged me to attend, so I shall.

Thursday 2 June 2011

Thurs 2 nd June

I think I have discovered a new talent for major tree pruning.!

Weeping Beech tree had got seriously out of hand and needed pruning.

But Weeping beech is now looking good, unfortunately you can now see the jungle where the 2 shrub beds are meant to be, underneath!

Now have a HUGE pile ( and I mean HUGE) of beech wood to shred and salvage various bits of wood for carving, turning etc.

Pleased with our days work though ( it took 4 hours to do, and the felled wood is under the tree waiting to be cleared away, tomorrow...)