Getting Your First Compost Out

Can Winter composting equal Spring compost? 

We asked a number of new users to start HOTBIN composting in December.
This was a massive challenge – new users, new product and freezing winter – were we crackers?

Well as it happens no, a bit crazy but not totally bonkers! We had good reason to believe it would work, and we are pleased to say the majority of users got the HotBins hot  composting between 40-60C and ran them over winter hot**.

Well it’s Spring now and we are eager to find out what the compost is like?

We will add more photo’s as they come in over the next few weeks. For now here’s what  we have and what you can expect:

A –  HotBin Compost after 120 days 

B  – Taking it Out

C  – Sieved

The woodchip we supply is graded into different sizes – about 75% will compost down, but the larger lumps end up ‘coated’ in humus. Some will sieve, others will just use  it ‘as it comes’.

D – Some 90 day samples

E – Too wet

Here’s one that got to wet! You need to quickly add cardboard and bulking agent (wood chip) and give it a really good rake. If available add a box of grass – give it another 1-2 months.

F – Obsessive quality composter!

The bin was half full of good compost. However it still had quite a few large bits of plant stalks. A large box of grass mowing was tipped in and mixed. This will start hot composting again to 60. A lot of the large stalks will be re-composted down within a month.

G – HOTBIN used in batch mode

This  HotBin was filled in one go to the very top during the late autumn garden clear up. It got hot and was then rested over winter.  It’s a different take on the weekly addition of food waste – but you get a great big load of compost in one go.

H – HOTBIN – chicken Bones

This batch had 2 roast chicken carcass, 1 duck carcass and a few spare ribs. Most of the bones were completely composted.  These here may look ‘whole’, but they are brittle, soft and crumble when rubbed. Soon after this test, we started to cut the thigh bones in half with secuters – this increases speed by double and they go even faster.

As you can see the HOTBIN can be used in different ways to achieve your different composting objectives. 

(**We acknowledge a few users did not achieve the goal – for those who like the numbers, only 5% reported a problem and to date have not hot composted. We have identified most issues as valve setup, not enough waste or too little easy to digest waste each week to keep the process going. We are working with each of them to ensure they Hot compost over the coming weeks)



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2 responses to “Getting Your First Compost Out

  1. Caroline Eccles

    When i take the front off it looks a lovely dark colour but there are masses of worms in it. I assume this meanss the worms are still busy and that it is not ready? Any thoughts?

    • This one is not clear cut… as if the worms are still active and have not migrated away, then there must still be material that they can eat.
      However it does not follow that worms in compost means the compost is not mature and ready to use. If your compost is brown and earthy smelling, then compost is mature and ready to use.

      We suggest you either take the worms out of the compost and add them back into base of HOTBIN (not the hot top!). However this can be time consuming, but you get workers back into compost bin. Alternatively you can use this batch as mulching compost – in which case the worms will continue to live and work in the mulching layer.

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