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 6 July 2012

Hungry Bin review (1) - putting it together and setting it up.

When I was at the Masters Conference at Garden Organic I was very interested to see a new ( to me) design of wormery.  Johannes Paul of Omlet was showing a new addition to their product range - the Hungry Bin. Omlet are selling these wormeries in the UK, they originate from New Zealand and are an interesting design,

According to the makers, Low Impact Ltd
The Hungry Bin is a unique design. It creates an ideal living environment for compost worms. The worms convert organic waste into worm castings and a nutrient-rich liquid, which are both high-quality fertilisers. The liquid drains freely from the bin and into a tray placed below it. The tapered shape of the bin compresses the castings, encouraging the worms to move to the surface layer to access fresh food. Compressed castings are easier to handle and largely free of worms. It is a simple process to collect both the castings and liquid produced by the hungry bin.
I must admit I was very impressed by the design when looking at it on display and when Johannes offered me a Hungry Bin to try out, of course I said yes ( I never pass up the chance to experience something new involving composting and worms)

So when the box arrived yesterday, along with two large lidded buckets of worms and bedding, I was really excited (I'm funny like that!) and couldn't wait to get the system set up. Fortunately we had a dry and sunny day yesterday so I was able to take lots of photos as well

 Packaged in a cardboard box, what looks like proper sellotape to seal it (therefore compostable!) and the instructions are in a paper bag. Full marks for packaging!

All the parts nested together, like a Russian Doll

Very easy to understand instructions

Compostman stands next to the completed wormery - it took less than 10 mins to build.

In situ, behind the Barn, facing the Polytunnel - so I can feed it easily "little and often". There is a comprehensive "owners manual" to tell you how to set up the wormery once you have put it together, as well as lots of advice on the Omlet website.

Adding the bedding for the worms - when you first set it up you need to fill it half full with compost, coir, growing medium, soil or a mixture of all of them, to give the worms something to live in. I used spent home made compost from the potato planters I have just harvested.

As soon as I opened one of the worm buckets Babs was there! She must be able to smell worms at 100 paces!


A video of the worms, after I added them to the Hungry Bin

Compostgirl adding some growing medium to the Wormery

Titch was bored, so went to sleep as there were no more worms on offer.

The    Hungry Bin  web site says about the design

The hungry bin is the result of several years of design development by inventor Ben Bell, of New Zealand. Ben is a keen gardener, composter and worm farmer. He felt that the existing worm farms on the market could do with some improvement, and in true Kiwi spirit he decided to do it himself.  The original idea for hungry bin evolved from earlier models Ben created using broken kerbside rubbish bins.
I must admit it DOES look a bit like a rubbish bin on wheels!

The unique shape of the bin creates a large surface area allowing all the worms living in the hungry bin to easily access the food scraps at the top – exploiting the fact they’re surface feeders, and increasing their processing capacity. The tapered sides also encourage the worms to stay on the surface, while compressing their castings below.
I was particularly impressed by the large surface area and when I went out tonight to check on the Hungry Bin the worms were busily working in the material I had added on top of the bedding. A lot were on the inside of the lid, though. That tells me it IS going to rain, later on!
Once the compost process is complete, the hungry bin is designed to allow the simple and easy harvest of both finished castings and liquid fertiliser. Harvesting castings does not involve any heavy, messy lifting. The floor of the bin is easily removed, allowing approximately 4 litres (3/4 gallons) of castings to break away at the bottom of the taper. This allows the easy removal of finished castings from the bin. Removing the castings is a relatively clean process. Finished castings are largely free of worms.
I saw this demonstrated at Ryton - the tray really does come out full of worm casts and the material really did stay put! The only fault I can find so far is the liquid tray is easily accessable to the chickens - who will drink the worm "juice".
The lid is at a comfortable operating height, and convenient to open and close. Tight fitting, it prevents pests from entering but has sufficient venting to create healthy airflow. The hungry bin even has wheels, making moving the bin light work.
I found it easy to put material into the bin, so did both Compostman and Compostgirl.

If you are interested in buying one of these bins, you can order one from   the  Omlet Hungry Bin pages

I will write more in a few days, but so far I am very impressed with my Hungry Bin.


  1. I'm looking forward to trying one of these. The novel shape intrigues me.

  2. Seeing these are designed in New Zealand I guess would work well in Australia too? Have you ever used one for just dog droppings? (polite term!)We have and it works really well. Just don't use on food crops naturally.

  3. They will work wonderfully well in Australia and can be bought at www.hungrybin.com.au
    To be transparent I am the distributor. My Hungry Bin is powering and the fact that it's volume is greater than any other worm farm it handles temperature changes a lot better, hence suitable in all areas of Australia. It has wheels too, so you can always move it seasonally to get the best spot.

  4. They will work very well in Australia. The Hungry Bin has a larger mass than any other Worm Farm on the market, meaning the mass takes longer to heat up and longer to cool down. Perfect for a country like Australia. Add to that the wheels that allow you to easily move the Hungry Bin and you have the perfect solution for Australian conditions. Buy the Hungry Bin in Australia.

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