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!

Friday 11 May 2012

Well worth growing!

At this time of year it is hard to find some fresh crops to eat - April and early May are not called Hungry Gap months for nothing! Leeks, Parsnips, Potatoes, Cabbages and some other brassicas etc are coming to the end of their life, stored veg begins to sprout/soften/go off and sometimes it is nice to have something fresh and green, rather than root or stored veg.

I grow some Kales and Purple Sprouting Broccoli, some outside and a also few plants inside the polytunnel for when the weather is really foul and I can't face harvesting from the outside veg patch.

All of these can be sown now, to harvest either soon ish or in the winter months.

Stuff I grow which I am still harvesting

Asparagus Kale, from the Heritage Seed Library (HSL) . Soft buttery flavoured leaves which I like to nibble on, raw, straight from the plant. Wonderful picked and cooked immediately.

Nero de Toscana Kale - ditto slightly stronger flavour and an interesting , crinkled texture.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli - I have 8 outside plants, started harvesting the shoots in Feb and have finally just finished picking the last crop of shoots!

The hens get the tough leaves, still attached to the stems, to nibble on - finally they are allowed to eat it!



Broccoli Raab, I am growing 40, 60 and 90- day varieties from MoreVeg seeds and the 40 day variety is ready in the polytunnel now - I have sown more as we are eating the first lot I sowed in March. Another plant I eat raw when in the polytunnel. A spicy version of Purple Sprouting Broccoli I think, but not as strong flavoured as Mustard Greens - something else I grow as a salad leaf.

I still have a thriving patch of Perpetual Spinach which I planted seed for last April, the plants are still going strong and giving me lots of tasty leaves.

We are also now eating Rocket, Mizuma, Mustard greens and Asparagus Lettuce (seeds from HSL)   Again an early planting in the polytunnel but you could grow them on a windowsill inside and get good, early crops.

Something I am very pleased about this year is my sucess at growing Watercress "Aqua" - never tried this before as I thought it needed clean flowing water ( like the watercress beds in Hertfordshire near where I grew up as a child) but no! you CAN grow it in a pot! and it is lovely!

Some of these can be grown on a windowsill or in a conservatory, even if you do not have a greenhouse or polytunnel - so why not try something new this year?


  1. That is an impressive hungry gap! It looks bountiful from where I'm sitting!

    I am interested in your watercress - how long did it take to grow?

  2. I planted that back in Feb? but I have been picking it for at least a month, now - and really there are too many plants crammed into the pot, I could have probably sown half the number of seed and still had enough to cut and eat several times a week.

    Really easy to grow, just keep it a little damper than usual for salads, once the seedlings are a reasonable size.

  3. Asparagus is the ultimate 'hungry gap' crop: at its toothsome best in late April and May. No veg garden should be without some!

  4. Very informative! Thanks for including the pictures and descriptions. I wish I was as organized as you are.

  5. could you do a post about the watercress. I am also really interested in this.

  6. Soilman we used to have a large asparagus bed here, but if finally failed and the area got infested with bindweed - the space is more productive growing other stuff AND we have a lot of asparagus growers around us so can get it very fresh indeed! I like your blog btw!

    tpals, thanks :-)I am only organised in the polytunnel and garden and hens etc - the house is a bit of a tip, mostly :-)

    Sol - I am composing one :-)

  7. The gap is well named isn't it! We've just finished our potatoes, just a few garlic and swede left, plus freezer stuff of course.
    Like you I've been experimenting and come across a useful one - broccoli "Raab" - we had some fresh picked yesterday, it's very quick and the taste was excellent.

  8. Just picking up on interest in watercress by Gardening Shoe.
    I grow Land Cress, which is also very easy to grow and is a good fresh green leaf right through winter, it's only just now bolting to flower. To us it tastes just like watercress.

  9. Great article, like always! I am very much impressed with your work..

  10. Great article, like always! I am very much impressed with your work..

    Thank you for post..


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.