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A patient newbie

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  • A patient newbie

    I have had my hotbin for a few weeks and am patiently waiting to fill the base layer. As I have a small garden and little ‘easy’ garden waste to add, I am relying on kitchen peelings and suspect this is making my base layer rather wet.
    Having read other’s experiences I can see excess leachate is a common issue at the start, so I am going to be patient and take my time to get the ‘paper’ content right.
    Any advice from fellow small garden composters would be appreciated as I get started but I will be sure to come and ask questions and seek reassurance. Thanks

  • #2
    Update: I actually decided to take a little advice having read earlier posts and emptied the hotbin (which was steaming hot at the centre) to put a few inches thick base layer of woody material. That really got the temperature soaring and I confidently increased the paper content to counter the wetter kitchen waste.
    That’s the good news. The bad news is, I had leachate run off that was clear following really heavy rain yesterday and the bin has cooled again. This was clear, just had some sediment held in the water and no smell. I concluded that it is rain but can’t see how it gets into the bin unless through the air valve at the top. Not sure what to do about that really....?


    • #3
      I am also a new user and despite putting what I consider to be loads of cardboard, shredded paper and woodchip, I am getting litres of leachate out weekly. Today I have shredded yet another bucket of cardboard and added it to the top layer without adding kitchen waste/ green prunings, etc. The temperature in the middle of the heap is 50C but only around 30C on the lid. We have had some really horrendous rainfall here just recently and I think it must be getting in through the valve at the top and saturating and cooling the heap. I will have to try and rig up something to keep off the rain and yet allow steam to escape, although there is none at the moment. My paper shreds from a friend's office are long continuous ones and not the cross-shredded ones I do for cardboard but the surface area exposed to the compost wouldn't be greatly diminished, I would have thought.


      • #4
        How are you getting on now? I read your post about the rain - we also get loads here - and I have rigged up one of those pond plant pots upside down over the valve. It has a solid bottom but open sides to let the steam out. And I have sealed the other openings around the filter block with waterproof tape. We’ll see....