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Watch this video for an introduction to HOTBIN.

We brought our HOTBIN, Gracie, into the garden in the dead of winter. No one believed it a good time to start hot composting with freezing temperatures outside. We started anyway. We wouldn’t know until we tried.

Every week we have fed Gracie with our kitchen waste (~40L) – rain or snow.  It is now 4 months since we started and we have recycled over 600L of kitchen and garden waste into compost which will nourish our plants and flowers. 

How do I know when compost is Ready?

Each layer of bio waste that goes into HOTBIN will take on average 30-days to become mulch and 90-days for compost.  Every few weeks we open the flap at the bottom to check out what is ready (view the video on how to remove the hatch).  Because the waste gets condensed over time,  there is no risk of it spilling out when we open the flap.

HOTBIN compost is ready when most of the original materials are no longer recognizable (some tough woody materials may still be present – these may be sifted out from the compost and put back in the HOTBIN for further decomposition). HOTBIN finished compost is ready when:

  • It smells earthy (not putrid or drain like)
  • It is fine particles with no sign of original waste or big bits
  • It is a dark brown material
  • It is very wet and sticky – so much so it appears ‘large and lumpy’

On a recent sunny day,  3 months after we started composting, we opened the flap and pulled out the compost from the very bottom that looked great and smelled earthy. We don’t use mulch so we simply closed the flap and let HOTBIN go on making more compost for next time.  After we close the flap, the mulch and waste above it will simply drop down and fill the empty space left by what we pull out. 

Remember:  Never push the waste down.  This would compress everything and could disturb the airflow inside HOTBIN.

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