This time last year, after much deliberation, I took the plunge and bought a HotBin composter. In a nutshell, the idea is that the insulated bin superheats the garden and food waste up to 60C, reducing the time it takes to turn it into compost.
Does it work? Yes, if you’re willing to put in some effort and follow the instructions. I say this because to achieve optimum conditions in the bin you need to mix in enough shredded paper to stop things getting too wet (but not so much that they’re too dry) and enough bulking agent such as bark chips to maintain airflow through the compost (otherwise you end up with a smelly, anaerobic sludge).
In the last year there are times when I’ve had the HotBin purring along at 60C or even 70C. But there have been other times when I’ve had a smelly sludge on my hands – all too literally – because I haven’t got the mix right. However, any problems have been pretty easy to rectify and there are loads of tips and advice on the HotBin website to help you.
And what about the compost itself? The nature of the HotBin means the compost you get out is damp and chunky, but you can sieve it if you want it finer and it’s great for mulching fruit bushes.
I’ve tried slow composting in home-made pallet bays (too slow, too attractive to rodents and too space-hungry in my small garden). And I’ve tried wormeries (too fiddly for my liking). The HotBin is the best way I’ve found to turn waste into compost quickly in a small space.
Has anyone else got one? What’s your preferred way to compost?