It feels like forever ago when we first posted a blog about our switch over to the more compact hotbin system. We’d had a standard palet bay for ages and didn’t really think composting was anything people were interested in, but when we started trying out one of the new hot composter bins it turned out that actually there was quite a bit of interest.
When we first got it, we weren’t really that caught up in the marketing about how quickly it produced compost, or how hot it ran. For us, it was the compact size, the neatness, that really got our attention. That and the fact that I didn’t have to turn the compost, which I’d been finding a real chore. However, there were other features that, over the coming years, we realised were the best bits. Well in our eyes anyway. Now just for the sake of being clear about this. We have had a love-hate relationship with the hotbin. We didn’t find it as easy to set up and keep running as the marketing material suggested. Although I did confess often that a lot of the issues were because we hadn’t followed the instructions. I also wasn’t impressed with the type of compost we got from the bin. I found it really wet and sticky.
Feel free to take a wander back in time and read through some of my early posts:
- Garden gadgets: hotbin composter
- The hotbin composter – so how are we getting on?
- The Hotbin Composter, a midway review
- The HotBin composter – so what do we think 6 months on?
- The hotbin composter – the big reveal. Did it work?
We realised early that we were just struggling to feed it as much as it needed. We didn’t have enough garden or kitchen waste to keep it happy and we certainly didn’t have enough brown material. Luckily though, since then we’ve been really lucky to have a fabulous neighbour who gives us their kitchen waste and old newspapers to help feed our bin and it is chugging along nicely now.
One of the most valuable learning experiences with the bin for me has been learning how to manage the compost. It does produce something very different from the shop-bought compost people are used to. So it took a little while for me to work out the best way to manage my compost so that I could turn it into that same dry, fine compost I was used to working with. Essentially, learning all about drying the raw compost a little and sieving it to the level I wanted was a game-changer. From then on, my relationship with the bin was definitely more on the scale of love.
So we started off back in 2016, but since then the design of the bin changed, not drastically, but the company listened to their customers and made some tweaks to make things a little bit more user friendly and luckily, we’ve now got our hands on one of the new style bins to try out. The folks at Hotbin Composting have been amazing in encouraging us to continue to give real, honest reviews and advice of using the bins and so have given us one of the newer versions to try out and compare to our existing bin. I’m probably a wee bit more excited about this than I should be 😀
The main change for me that I’m chuffed about is that you can now collect the leachate from the bin. This is the watery residue that comes from the compost. It’s actually really nutritious and makes for great plant food. They have created a little tube with a cap that feeds into the base of the bin and you can now use it to syphon off the leachate and store it. This is brilliant because before it just ran out of the air vent at the bottom of the bin and clogged up the vent and stained the patio.
So check out this week’s video and you’ll be able to see this and some of the other tweaks and I promise, we’ll keep you up to date on our thoughts and… now that we’re a two compost bin household… how long will we be able to keep going before we have to buy compost? Will two bins manage to provide enough compost for all our garden needs?