You’ll have some great compost after adding all of your garden and food waste into the HOTBIN for 90 days.
Check if your compost is ready to use!
Look at this video to see if your HOTBIN compost is ready.
HOTBIN compost is usually very sticky and moist, potentially quite lumpy and perhaps even looking as though it needs to be sieved or composted further before it can be used. Tests show that rather than being ‘poorly’ composted in this state, it’s actually quite the reverse.
HOTBIN compost appears to have a very high humic substance content which is great news for your soil and plants as it provides water and nutrients to the soil. The plants interact with the humus via the root zone so it is logical that it needs digging in. Yes, rain will leach nutrients down and earthworms will eat compost on the surface and expel it underground.
Ready? Let’s look at some ways to use it!
- Indoor Plants: add 1cm around the top or remove from the plant pot and add 1cm in the base twice a year.
- Established Flower Beds: add 2cm top dressing yearly). Some recommend late fall as a good time to spread compost over a garden bed.
- Lawns: normally using compost to top dress the lawn is an autumn activity; however, sieved compost is a great way to kick start the gardening season: it will help reduce fertilizer needs, control moss and reduce the need for watering.
- New Flower Beds: when constructing new flower beds, sieved compost should be dug in adding a ratio of 30-50% compost to soil.
- Vegetable Beds: be aware that not all crops like a rich soil: potatoes will but peas won’t for example. Spread 5cm of compost across planting beds in early spring and again after harvest. As well, throw a handful of compost into planting holes at transplant time and later add compost around crops during the growing season as a side-dressing for an extra dose of nutrients.
- Tomato or Cucumber Beds: make a tomato or cucumber bed in your greenhouse. They love deep beds with lots of compost; about 30% compost to the overall soil mix will be ideal.
- Containers: compost’s ability to absorb and retain water is especially useful in containers that dry out quickly. No single recipe is recognized as best for all, but a general mix is 2 parts compost | 1 part vermiculite | 1 part coarse sand | 1 part coconut coir. We suggest you use sieved compost when starting the container.
- Trees: spreading compost around the roots of your trees once or twice a year can provide them with important nutrients and can help protect against disease. Be careful not to spread too close to the trunk though.
- Improve Clay Soils: spread 10-15cm of compost “as it comes” from your bin and mix into top 30cm of soil. The bed can be planted immediately. Improve Sandy Soils: sieve compost adding only the fine parts; add 5cmannually.
- Too much compost being produced? Save it, re-using the plastic bag that arrived with HOTBIN woodchips and keep your compost for later use. You can also make a present of compost to fellow gardeners.pdf
Bonus: A Note on Leachate
Released during the HOTBIN composting process, leachate can be used as a liquid fertilizer. Excess water in the HOTBIN will drain towards the bottom of the bin dissolving humic compounds from the compost to form this dark brown liquid. You can find more information on how to collect leachate here.
Nothing beats your own experience of using compost to find out what suits your garden best. Please send us your stories and videos of how you are using your HOTBIN compost via firstname.lastname@example.org.