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!

Wednesday 16 April 2014

HotBin refurbishment

At the end of last year I found that my Hotbin was not working as well as before - it seemed to have stopped getting up to the 60 C zone despite my feeding it with compostables as before. I dug out the bottom compost and refilled it but it just did not seem to be working as well and would not go above 40 C any more.


I chatted to Tony Callaghan at HotBin and he suggested my Hotbin may have "stalled" - an unusual situation only experienced in bins which had been working correctly but had then stopped getting up to 60 C.

He suggested I join in a trial he was running to check out a "fix" for this very unusual situation. I was keen and so was sent a part which needed to be retrofitted to the HotBin. To do this I needed to empty out the Hotbin.


 It is quite easy to put the HotBin on its side.

Lots of compost in the bottom. Compostman dug it out for me and


I put it into buckets, waiting to be used for tomato plants.

We took out the base plate and when we looked at it, as expected the holes were clogged up and not letting water drain out or air to move up.

  The holes were plugged with a very gooey sludge like material which sat there and did not drip off.

 The base was very wet and the air mesh was blocked. This bin had definately stalled!

I gave the HotBin a good wash out

The "fix" is a length of perforated pipe, inserted through the Base plate and which sits in the corner of the Hotbin allowing more airflow through the material. Compostman made the hole and inserted the pipe.

HotBin put back togather and refilled with some compost, grass, paper and guinea pig bedding and droppings. Ambient temp was 16 C, HotBin thermometer within a hour of refill read 30C.

I also took the opportunity to have a tidy up behind the lean to and sort out the cold frames and potting area.

At the end of a hard afternoon of work it all looked much tidier.

I will update on how well the HotBin is working later in the week but it is all looking very promising so far.

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