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 26 August 2012

Polytunnel and garden in August

So, August. Hmmm. Supposed to be warm, dry and sunny, normally. But here in the UK we have had yet more gloom, lack of sun and lots of rain.

I have given up with Carrots in the veg garden - I know I could probably get a last gasp sowing of an early variety like Nantes in the soil, but after the total failure of 6 different sowings of multiple rows of carrots ( not one carrot!) I have given up. I have sown seed in pots in the polytunnel and that will have to do.

Peas, likewise I have abandoned. I had a few handfuls of Mange Tout  in July and that is all and the plants were again smashed to bits in the last downpour at the start of August.

We have harvested the Onions as the stems were bending over and wilting - the harvest this year is down from the usual 60 lbs or more to about 30 lbs. They are drying in the polytunnel at the moment. The Shallot harvest was pathetic - about 3 lbs of shallots are stored.

I have finally got a  couple of Courgette plants going outside and am beginning to harvest one or two courgettes from them. The Pumpkins however are dead - again overwhelmed by water from the sky I think.

The Leeks are doing well, as are the Parsnips. I have had no Dwarf French Beans from the plants yet, although the plants themselves are doing OK.

I AM now harvesting Climbing French Beans (hurrah!) and the Blue Lake are looking good and I hope to get a good crop to freeze.

 I do not know if the Celeriac ( under the long white mesh tunnel) will do well - the plants are still very small.

In the netted raised beds the Kale and Calabrese plants are doing well - small heads have formed on the Calabrese. The PSB plants are hanging in there - if I can keep the Cabbage White butterflies away they should be OK.

The Spinach ( under the white mesh) is good as well.


Our potato harvest is well down on last year - but at least we managed to cut off the haulms before the blight damaged the actual spuds in the ground, so we have about 60 lb of stored potatoes to eat from now on. Normally we store about 150 lbs to eat over the winter so I guess we will be buying them this year.

Unfortunately the blight has got inside the Polytunnel for the very first year since we have lived here. We are surrounded by blighted potato fields here and have been so for about a month so I am not surprised, but I AM saddened.  My poor tomato plants :-(

You can see the blighted foliage on the tomato plants - I cannot move the peppers outside so I suspect they will get it next.

But I am eating Kale from the polytunnel plants already and have all sorts of green leafy stuff growing for the autumn.

I stripped all the tomatoes off the plants and brought them inside - hopefully some will ripen and I suspect I will be making a lot of tomato based chutneys!

I will be cutting down the blighted tomato plants and putting the foliage in the HotBin.

How is your garden growing? has the weather affected you?


  1. I think you have gotten all the rain we didn't get this year. Only in the last few weeks have we gotten any rain. We only had about 3 inches of rain in total over three months this summer along with temps hovering near 40C for weeks. NOT good for the garden. My rain barrels don't do any good if it doesn't rain.
    I do hope the weather moderates for all of us soon although I fear this may become our 'new normal'.


  2. My new Rocket Garden is growing away brilliantly, but unfortunately has been discovered by caterpillars they are hatching out and keeping me busy for at least 20 minutes twice a day picking the little buggers off.

    I have some courgettes about to produce - hurray....at last, but like yours my tomatoes are all about to be picked off and left indoors to ripen, I had to pull off all the leaves as blight had struck.

    It's been a dismal year and I don't think much will be stored away, thank goodness for lots of last years crops still in the freezers and larder.

    Sue xx

  3. Sadly, this has been a year of extreme weather gardening for all of us. We're still in a severe drought and have been setting new records with the heat this week. The curly kale seems to be the only plant that is unfazed by the heat.

  4. It heartens me to know that even you with your wonderful green fingers, has had total crop failures this year. So far I have had a couple of handfuls of French beans (dwarf, in pots), FOUR, yes, FOUR only runner beans (!!!) and one courgette which I had to pick half sized as the slugs had nobbled it. However, the soft fruit has been good and apples not looking too bad either. Tomatoes a total failure . . .

  5. We've had a poor harvest too and although we've had some nice fresh veg to eat, there is not much to put away for the winter at all. I begrudge the amount of effort put in to produce so little and still have to go to the supermarket. Grrr! Still, got to live with the weather. We'd love to have the opportunity of a polytunnel to extend the season.

  6. It sounds like you have done better than me. The rain seems to have multiplied the numbers of slugs this year and these little pests have been eating their way through my plants and crops. It's been war...but they have won :(. Thanks goodness for freezers and leftover crops!


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