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Deja vu with second base layer failure

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  • Deja vu with second base layer failure

    Hi everyone,
    i am despairing a bit and feel like selling the hotbin! I posted a while ago about my first base layer being an anaerobic sticky mess.m, but the feedback was that this isn’t uncommon. I cleared out the bottom (as much as I could without all the top layers falling down- some of the back baselayer had to stay in place) and kept adding to the top; temperature all good, steaming away nicely.
    Opened the hatch again to another sticky anaerobic mess! It’s steaming but around 35-40 at the bottom.
    Lots of leachate regularly. Try to add lots of paper but haven’t seen any improvement.
    what am I doing wrong?! I don’t even know HOW I’m going to empty it as it’s so solid and I don’t know if I can face another failure and cleaning it out again.
    For something I was really looking forward to this has become a very stressful (and expensive) disappointment.
    Can anyone help?!

  • #2
    Its difficult to say what has gone wrong. Even my own bin sometimes leaves me scratching my head sometimes.

    Things that have helped me:
    • Adding a lot more bulking agent (more than you think you need) - helps with drainage (broken twigs and chunky hedge trimmings work well as bulking agent)
    • Adding more cardboard and some sawdust if I'm adding a lot of fruit and veg scraps
    • Don't add too much grass clippings all at once - avoid leaves unless they are well shredded
    • Sheltering the hotbin from the rain - while mine is not totally protected its made the biggest difference to my hotbin problems
    • Don't empty the bin when its vertical - tip it on its back (gently) and dig out the bottom layer, then tip it back vertical
    • Use a aerator - Google 'compost aerator' - this alone can make my temp jump by 10 degrees and improve drainage
    • Don't be worried if the compost at the bottom is wet - as long as it isn't really smelly. The leachate from above has to travel through it, so it will always have a bit of moisture content. Put it in another bin in contact with the ground if you can and let it drain naturally and let the worms at it or put it in big non glazed terracotta pots in a shed or garage (they wick the moisture out of the compost)- it soon becomes dry and fluffy when mixed up with a fork.
    • Drain the leachate as often as you can as it takes up air space
    I hope some of that might help


    • #3
      Thanks so much for this.
      Lots of useful tips- will solider on once I can bring myself to dry and empty The bin! It really does smell; like really awful bad breath. I assume that’s what people mean by ‘anaerobic’?!


      • #4
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