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Garden gadgets: hotbin composter

Composting has been one of the long games for the garden here at Ar Bruadair, and I mean LONG game.  As you can imagine, at certain times of the year we use a lot of compost for potting up, unfortunately though, our compost pile is slow and hard work.  It just doesn’t keep up with demand and it takes up a lot of space in our garden which isn’t actually that big.

So I’m testing out another garden gadget in the hope that it will make life a bit easier on the composting front. A hotbin composter.

Hotbin composter
Our new hotbin composter. Now we’ve taken out the old one, we’ll have to paint that bit of fence.

It’s much smaller than our current compost bin which Kate built a few  years ago, and doesn’t require turning which is blooming hard work. The makers also claim that we can have good, rich compost in 3 months or less. That’s a huge difference to our traditional compost pile.

So today has been spent emptying the compost pile and dismantling the wooden bin Kate made so that I could get the new bin in place.

Much neater, but still has capacity for 200l of compost.

It’s obviously early days as we’ll have to start from scratch filling the bin or at least a third full to get it really working but I’m quietly confident, after all Jim McColl (Beechgrove Garden) recommended this particular bin.

How it works

Our old home made compost bin

As the name suggests, this one works on heat. It’s designed to run at temperatures of between 40 and 60 C. So can handle all of your waste including cooked foods (meats) which you wouldn’t normally put in your compost pile.

The high heat means it works faster at breaking down your waste, hence why you get usable compost faster. The heat also means you can compost weeds and seed heads, which normally you would let anywhere near your compost pile.

It’s about the size of a wheelie bin, and is made of the same stuff that car bumpers are made from. So it’s really light but the 2 inch thick walls insulate the bin meaning it keeps in the heat generated as the waste breaks down.

It early days but we’ll definitely keep you updated on what we think of it.

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