HOTBIN COMPOSTING IN AUTUMN
Autumn is Coming –
Here are a few tips for managing your HOTBIN after your garden clear up!
Time for the big autumn tidy up which means lots of waste. Unlike a traditional heap the HOTBIN will not freeze and continues to work over the winter providing you with a nice batch of spring compost.
To get HOTBIN composting in autumn here are a few tips to help you manage the tidy up.
Tip One: Shred waste where possible. A pile of hedge trimmings that fill a barrow will be a few cm high when well shredded. If you do not have a shredder, careful use of your hedge trimmer or lawn mower can suffice:
- Hedge Trimmer – pile up the waste on soft grass, cross cut repeatedly.
- Lawn Mower – pile waste on the lawn and run over it repeatedly with the mower.
We do not recommend either technique if the twigs are more than 5 mm thick.
Tip Two: If you have lots of brown fallen leaves and the grass is not too damp for one last cut, it is worth spreading the leaves on the lawn and cutting and shredding both in one go. The grass/leaf mix will compost super-fast in the HOTBIN.
Tip Three: Where you have too much, ensure your stock pile is protected from the rain. A large bag of wet cold leaves will be significantly harder to get hot than a dry cold bag of leaves. You will be amazed how quickly a mound of waste can be composted if you maintain 60C using the “little and often” technique.
Tip Four: Do not be tempted to add or squash everything in. Fast composting requires heat and heat requires airflow. If you compress it too much airflow will be restricted. Adding bulking agent (particialy composted woodchip) helps maintain airflow throughout the waste. If you add a lot of cold waste it will take longer to reheat. You are better off adding a 20-30cm (one foot) layer every 2 days over one 50 cm layer in one go.
Tip Five: If your HOTBIN is already full, then check your base layer to see if it is worth removing now. Even if the base does not look like perfect compost, it might be better to remove and use it as winter mulch or for digging in. This is not always easy to assess – if you need help view how does HOTBIN compost look and feel.