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At last, success with my hotbin composter

At last, I can truly celebrate success with my hotbin composter. It’s taken a while but finally I am seeing my hard work pay off and I’m getting some lovely usable compost.

You guys have been with me on this journey as I’ve battled to get the ratios right, the moisture level under control and enough waste to keep the bin hot, but thanks to some of my lovely neighbours who now give me their kitchen waste and old newspapers, we are winning this battle. Just to refresh your memories, we got the hotbin composter a few seasons ago now and we were full of excitement at the claims that you could go from kitchen and garden waste and in 3 months have lovely rich compost for the garden. And for me, the big claim that you didn’t have to turn it was a big win as I had struggled physically with turning a large, traditional compost pile.

I have to be honest, there wasn’t 100% success straight away, although truth be told, it wasn’t that far away. I found that generally, we just didn’t have enough garden waste (we don’t have a large garden and we don’t have a lot of shrubs etc that give us prunings) and we definitely didn’t have enough kitchen waste and we absolutely weren’t able to feed enough brown like paper into the bin. So the result was that anything coming out of the bin in terms of compost was very wet. We also struggled to see the bin maintain those hot temperatures advertised. It did get hot, we just struggled to maintain it. However, we knew the issues were not the bin itself, more about getting our process down, so that has been my mission over this past year and I’m happy to say that we have just had our first batch of new compost that wasn’t soaking wet, didn’t smell and was almost usable straight away – hurrah!

I say almost usable as it is still a bit too course for my purposes and will need to be sieved (filtered) and to do that I will need to dry it out a little. But that’s a whole different battle in the Scottish climate. Overall though, I am seriously chuffed.

It’s been a week now and I still haven’t managed to get it dry enough to sieve because it’s pretty much rained non stop, but hopefully, some good weather next week will let me lay it out on a tarp, get it dried and then sieved so that I have some lovely fine compost for pots etc. Until then, it will just have to live in a sack behind the shed.

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