The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Growing => Vegetables => Topic started by: doganjo on May 28, 2020, 06:00:17 pm

Title: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on May 28, 2020, 06:00:17 pm
Becasue I am very impatient and also becasue I love gadgets

I have bought a Mini Hotbin.

It cost £150, and is made out of recycled materials - it's like black expanded foam gone hard

Came with full instructions including a belt to stop it bursting it's belly  :innocent: and its own  hot water bottle in case it gets cold.  :excited:

It came with a bag of 'bulking agent' - which just looks like wood chips, but smells nice.

So as per the instructions, i put a layer of small twigs on the bottom and in my wheel barrow I mixed up garden waste (grass cuttings and grass and weeds pulled up from beside it), kitchen waste (bits of uncooked food, tea bags, coffee grounds etc). torn up carbboard and paper, and the wood chips - in the ratio suggested.

Dumped it all in the bin and went in for lunch.

An hour later and the temperature had risen from 60C to 80 C
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: Fleecewife on May 28, 2020, 06:36:23 pm
That was quick!  This will be an interesting experiment.  The teabag bags are often plastic, so unless you know they are fully degradable, be prepared to fish them out of the finished compost.
 :fc:  for some rapid ready to use  :poo:
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: alang on May 28, 2020, 06:56:07 pm
Been looking at these for the last 3 weeks. They seem to get great reviews as long as you set them up correctly at first. Certainly look like they produce nice compost and kill all the weed seeds. Wonder if they could help keep a greenhouse frost free in the winter?
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: Womble on May 28, 2020, 07:24:57 pm
My Dad once made a hot box composter from a broken chest freezer. IIRC, it had an air inlet at one end and an exhaust at the other. Because it was an insulated box, it got really hot in there!  :o
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on May 29, 2020, 02:34:14 pm
Thanks, Juliet, I hadn't thought about tea bags.  I'll check the box and if they aren't compostible I'll empty them.
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: arobwk on June 05, 2020, 04:28:16 pm
Just thinking aloud here:  even if certain teabags are not compostable, would they not provide a micro eco-sphere for various microbes to populate !??  Maybe a bit like a porous lump of charcoal would ???

While I have noticed that some teabags have not broken down in my "system", I have left them in the compost mix (right or wrong).
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: Fleecewife on June 05, 2020, 04:46:19 pm
I suppose it depends on your views of adding plastic to the environment.
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: arobwk on June 05, 2020, 05:09:24 pm
And whether it's worth making best use of when already in the environment or whether better to dig them out (tea-bags say) in order to send it/them to land-fill or incineration regardless  ??? :-\ 


I dunno !  Life's micro-decisions are becoming so complicated  :)
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on June 05, 2020, 08:46:47 pm
Hotbox is doing fine, not quite reached temperature yet but admittedly it hasn't been the weather to put stuff in or check it.
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on July 12, 2020, 11:31:11 am
It's now 6 weeks and I should have got compost now, but I failed in my care of the thing - it feels a bit like one of these tamagotchies (sp) :innocent:

I keep forgetting to put everything in it every 3 to 4 days so the temperatirue dropped and I got fruit flies.  I emailed Hotbin and had a really nice informative reply saying it wasn't uncommon and that the bin hadn't got hot enough.  Gave me some instant things to do -  add chicken manure was one that had never even occurred to me, so I cleaned out my chicken shed and added a bag ful of mixed sh*t and sawdust.  Now being much more strict about what I add to the hotbin instead of throwing in my kitchen bin.
Hotbin said if I did what they suggest it should reach temperature pretty quickly. So I'll report back
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: arobwk on July 22, 2020, 04:44:23 pm
Perfect home-compost production is, from my experience, a rare thing @doganjo!


All those crumbly, ever-so sweet-smelling results we see advertised have probably required the advertiser to mince every single addition to the composter and then camp-out along side the bin to register temperatures and further churn the mix as required.  :D   


The bigger the pile, the longer it's left, the easier it is !!


I'm liking your Hotbin reports though:  ta much.











Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on July 22, 2020, 05:04:35 pm
I asked them about the wee beasties and followed the instructions.  It's now coming quite quickly up to temperature and the we beasties have gone.  I've put as much as I can into it, including some shredded paper and chicken sh*t mixed with sawdust from their coop
There's a wee bit of seepage from the tap thingie at the bottom so I'm just going to put a container under it as that'll be good feeding when diluted
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on July 27, 2020, 04:02:35 pm
Just took my first harvest of liquid feed. Nice and dark, doesn’t smell too bad. Time will tell if it’s effective

There's a fair few dead fruit flies in there so that should help  ;D ;D
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: Q on July 27, 2020, 08:41:56 pm
i just spent an hour turning a cubic metre of compost.. yours looks easier :innocent:
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: Fleecewife on July 28, 2020, 12:32:55 pm
i just spent an hour turning a cubic metre of compost.. yours looks easier :innocent:


I got one of my grandsons to turn 3 cubic metres of compost (all suitably socially distanced of course).  I didn't time him but he was amazingly fast, (the last time I turned one heap it took me a week but then I need plenty of pauses to wheeze!)  Now I'll need to tempt him back with roast lamb dinner to spread the compost  :chook: + :sheep: :poo: =  :garden:
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: arobwk on July 28, 2020, 04:35:56 pm
... There's a fair few dead fruit flies in there so that should help  ;D ;D

I'm pondering over the fruit flies:  why have they not been composted ?  Are you sure doganjo they didn't all dive in in kamikaze fashion and drown themselves as you were draining the leachate ?
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on July 30, 2020, 10:06:09 pm
This one doesn't get turned - occasionally mixed up with the mixer tool to distribute newly added stuff, and supposedly I should get compost a lot quicker
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: Anke on August 01, 2020, 03:14:45 pm
Charles Dowding has a good (new) video on his youtube channel explaining his method of composting. But it is not fast, and he turns his heap. But explains it all very well, and I am definitely working towards more "browns" in mine.
Title: Re: Quick composting
Post by: doganjo on August 01, 2020, 08:46:06 pm
... There's a fair few dead fruit flies in there so that should help  ;D ;D

I'm pondering over the fruit flies:  why have they not been composted ?  Are you sure doganjo they didn't all dive in in kamikaze fashion and drown themselves as you were draining the leachate ?
They probably hadn't quite composted as my hotbin had only just reached optimum temperature at that point.  I guess the fruit flies had died and been washed down with the juices :innocent:

The temperature does vary a bit depending on how much and what kind of stuff I put in it.