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!

Saturday 3 November 2012

Hotbin update - a look inside after 90 days.

 So, another Hotbin update:-)

It is now just about three months since I last looked behind the compost hatch of the Hotbin - so I am expecting to find some lovely looking stuff when I open it up

And I was not disappointed at all. The compost is beautiful; a little on the wet side but it will soon dry out if I leave it in the barrow under cover for a day or two.

I got nearly two wheel barrows full of compost from out of the Hotbin , the hens were mad keen to get to it but I managed to shoo them away for long enough to harvest the "black gold"

once I had dug out the finished compost the top surface dropped down into the cavity.

I shall use this compost in the polytunnel to enrich my winter crops and also spread some on the veg raised beds, before I cover them over for the winter.

So, how do I feel about my HotBin, after four months? Well my overriding feeling is one of admiration for the design and the way it works so well. I am impressed at the way it has "eaten" so many refills of material (more than 3 of them a week since the start) of mainly green waste (weeds, potato haulms, grass etc) since I got it. I am impressed , if not surprised, at the temperatures I have seen and even more impressed that I can safely compost bindweed and weed seed heads and roots - nothing much is going to survive cooking in a Hotbin at above 60 C!


The Hotbin is easy to use. When I add new material, after a spike in temperature of around 65C on the same day, over the next couple of days the bin surface level drops down to a settled minimum and the internal temperature settles back down to around 40 - 45 C. Lots of steam emerges when you open the lid.

At this point I refill the Hotbin with more waste on the top.  Obviously as time passed over the last three months there was more material building up in the bottom of the HotBin, so I could put less and less in the top, as there was less room.

I stopped measuring all the waste I have put in, but I estimate I have put several thousand l (ish) of waste, by volume, into the HotBin over the last three months (based on my experience after four weeks, ) This has then been worked on by thermophile bacteria and then detrivores to reduce this material down to compost  at the bottom of the HotBin.

As we approach the winter and I have stopped mowing the grass I am finding it difficult to keep the bin well fed, and I may stop altogether and just let what is inside compost down. This is partly becasue I need to divert my waste peelings etc to keep the wormeries going through the winter.

In conclusion, yet again the Hotbin does exactly what it claims; makes compost in 90 days! And that chicken carcass I put in at the end of August, when I took the first sample of compost out after 30 days? No sign of it at all :-)

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