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  • Anyone got a hotbin?

    I have two compost bins on the go, but they take forever to turn into anything useable. I confess at this point that I don't turn them (very hard work...)

    I was looking at alternatives, or indeed additions. Maybe keep a traditional bin plus something else.

    A hotbin is pretty expensive, so is it worth it? Seems to produce liquid I could use to feed tomatoes and other pots (saving money in the longer term), plus compost, likewise.

    https://www.hotbincomposting.com/com...tbin-mini.html

    A wormery would be a possibility, but OH seems strangely resistant to the idea of it coming inside in the winter.

    It also produces liquid and compost.

    There are just two of us producing kitchen waste, and the garden is just over 80 foot long. Would one hotbin or wormery suffice?

    Any recommendations?
    Mostly flowers, some fruit and veg, at the seaside in Edinburgh.

  • #2
    The key to quick compost is getting the pile hot. It does require more effort than a cold pile though: gathering enough ingredients to make a pile ≥1 cubic metre in size, maintaining the correct moisture levels and turning frequently to reintroduce oxygen and moving colder areas into the centre of the pile.

    The Hotbin is insulated so can retain heat without needing to be as big as a pile, and it uses 'bulking agent' instead of turning to prevent compaction and reduced oxygen levels. They charge 39 for 100 L of their 'bulking agent' aka wood chip though!

    A wormery would be cheaper and would easily handle 2 people's kitchen waste once the worm population is high enough. If you run it properly a wormery doesn't smell, but you do have to take precautions against fruit flies and fungus gnats.

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    • #3
      I've had one for a year now, and am happy with it.
      It takes a bit of practice to get the mix right, but then you get a nice toasty bin even in winter. And you can put cooked leftovers and even small bones in it . It does need quite a lot of feeding though, I live on my own and bring back every apple core and vegware container from my office lunch. And every bit of scrap paper for shredding as it needs quite a bit of that too.
      I use wood chippings from my garden as bulking agent, at a pinch I get a bag of bark chips from the local DIY store.
      Location: London

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      • #4
        I did have one but I missed the brief - I couldn't get it hot enough , so it was binned in favour of 'normal' compost. Although, many people say they are fab, so they read the brief.
        aka
        Suzie

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        • #5
          I have two large (1m x 1.2m) compost bins. They only get turned once, the secret is to get the mix approximatly right so stock piling wood chip/cardboard etc for when you mow the lawn is a good idea.
          I did go for hot compost in the early days when I was short of usable compost, but now I have production going I just let it do it's thing and use it as I want.

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          • #6
            I currently Bokashi all my food waste except bones. I have two 25 litre boxes that are in rotation, when 1 is full I leave it to ferment and start filling the other. When that is full, the fermented one gets thrown on the compost heap and the whole lot gets a tumble. This all takes place out doors and even though I live in Greater London I have no problems with vermin in the heap. Liquid is drained and used diluted as a feed. All my paper rubbish goes in the compost along with garden waste.

            A couple of times a year I empty the tumbler into a dalek and leave it until spring, it is then used in my containers mixed with MCP. Again only 2 adults so not a lot of rubbish to start with, I probably only get 75-100 litres home made each year. ( I don't have a lawn to bulk it out.)

            That said I got a reduced price on a 100lt hot bin so I will be installing that into the system some where. I believe Penellype‎ has used one for some time... check out the search engine for other threads as this question pops up from time to time.
            V.P.
            The thing I grow best are very large slugs!

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            • #7
              Well OH ordered a large hotbin and it was installed a couple of weeks ago. He's responsible for managing it. He had it up to 60 degrees in 24 hours, and it has been up as high as 66 degrees. It will be interesting to see what temperature he can achieve in the winter when there are no grass clippings. They seem to be instrumental in getting the high heat.

              There has been a large yoghurt tub worth of leachate. I was nervous of using too much and was watering it down a lot before putting it on my plants, but the hotbin site says it won't scorch the plants and is ok to use neat. Here's hoping!
              Last edited by Babru; 02-06-2020, 03:58 PM.
              Mostly flowers, some fruit and veg, at the seaside in Edinburgh.

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              • #8
                Hi,

                Sorry, I missed the baot on this discussion... sounds like you are off to a good start

                I just bought a Green Johanna hot composter. I have 5 daleks and two bokashi bins, (love them!) but I still want more, lol. I considered a wormery but my OH also was not keen. So this looked like an interesting idea - it needs a shady spot, so the place where my dalek failed should be good. Waiting on delivery (ha-ha!), so we'll see if this fits the bill.

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                • #9
                  I'd never heard of a Green Johanna before, looks interesting. Certainly a more reasonable price than a hotbin.

                  OH is up at 67 degrees now, he's very excited! I'm excited at the thought of lovely compost soon - I hope.

                  I have one question for any hotbin owners reading this. Can I put biodegradable food caddy bags in the hotbin? We've been emptying our existing compost bins, and I've had to pick out remnants of these bags - they look like mushed up plastic, and that's after two years of lying in a dalek, with admittedly no stirring of the heap.
                  Mostly flowers, some fruit and veg, at the seaside in Edinburgh.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Babru View Post
                    I have one question for any hotbin owners reading this. Can I put biodegradable food caddy bags in the hotbin? We've been emptying our existing compost bins, and I've had to pick out remnants of these bags - they look like mushed up plastic, and that's after two years of lying in a dalek, with admittedly no stirring of the heap.
                    No, at least the green food caddy bags didn't work for me in the hotbin; as an experiment I ripped a few up to help things along, but the pieces were mostly still there after 3 or 4 months.
                    What works very well is compostable food containers like Vegware (made from sugarcane, looks like cardboard).
                    What didn't work was compostable cutlery, still there after several rounds of composting.
                    Location: London

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MelanieSW View Post

                      No, at least the green food caddy bags didn't work for me in the hotbin; as an experiment I ripped a few up to help things along, but the pieces were mostly still there after 3 or 4 months.
                      What works very well is compostable food containers like Vegware (made from sugarcane, looks like cardboard).
                      What didn't work was compostable cutlery, still there after several rounds of composting.
                      I think it depends on what they're made of.
                      My Gardening Which magazines now come in bags made of a special compostable plastic derived from potato starch. After one run through my normal (not hot) compost bin, which is about 4 months, they are usually about 80% gone, and the last few scraps can be fished out for a second run through, after which they are completely decomposed.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ameno View Post

                        I think it depends on what they're made of.
                        My Gardening Which magazines now come in bags made of a special compostable plastic derived from potato starch. After one run through my normal (not hot) compost bin, which is about 4 months, they are usually about 80% gone, and the last few scraps can be fished out for a second run through, after which they are completely decomposed.
                        That's good to hear. I suspect it has to do with thickness? The compostable food waste bags are usually made from cornstarch, but quite thick so they don't leak too quickly.
                        Location: London

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                        • #13
                          Possibly thickness, yeah. The magazine wrappers are pretty thin film.

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                          • #14
                            I had put a damaged compostable plant pot in the dalek and it was completely unchanged after two years. Maybe made of the same material as the compostable cutlery.

                            Mostly flowers, some fruit and veg, at the seaside in Edinburgh.

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