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Advice for my first Hotbin winter

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  • Advice for my first Hotbin winter

    Hi, I have been using my hot bin since late spring with generally good results (getting a paper shredder has helped a lot) with a mix of kitchen veg waste and allotment weeds and cuttings.

    As the cold weather looms I'm wondering if any long-term users have tips for keeping the bin up to temperature through the winter? I'm likely to have not much more than kitchen vegetable waste to add (which is on the soggy side) and the bin temperature is already dropping with the cooler weather. I'm a bit worried that by December the bin may be running cold and the veg waste turning into a horrible sludgy mess.

    I'd love to hear any tips for keeping the bin going through winter.

    TIA

  • #2
    Hello, yes, I'd appreciate some advice along the same lines. During our lovely summer, I had no problem keeping the temperature up in the bin. However, as soon as it has cooled, so has the bin. I've been adding paper, cardboard, semi composted wood chips and chicken pellets, to no avail, I seem to have a wet, rather smelly mix, and I cannot get the temperature up above ambient. I'm thinking of putting my bin in the greenhouse over winter to bring the temperature up. I wonder if anyone has any experience of this? Any advice would be appreciated.

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    • #3
      I started my bin back in June, so again, my first winter is looming. I did go to the bother of weighing my refuse over an 11 week period from August to October and it averaged 7.7 kg per week. And so no problems with keeping the temperature going. Well.......no problems from a lack of materials. But I've stopped mowing the lawn and as there's just two of us in the house the weekly weight of kitchen scraps will do well to top 2 kg, well below the recommended 5 kg. The bin temperature is currently is in the 60's as the last of the lawn clippings are being digested. However as the supply goes way down so will the temperature. But so what. This will be no different to the other 50 winters I've gone through with other types of bins. The temperature will stabilize at whatever (20°C ?), fungi will become the dominant species and I'll continue to convert my waste into compost, albeit at a much slower rate than occurred during the summer months. It's all part of the natural cycle of the seasons. I will just keep an eye on the moisture of the heap to ensure that it doesn't get too dry or too wet. I think there's no need to bring your bin into the greenhouse given that the insulation is second to none. Hope this helps.
      Stephen

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      • #4
        I think I may have stumbled on at least a part solution. My bin was stuck at about 30 deg. I hadn't removed removed any material for a while so I pulled out the bottom third which was decent compost, if a bit soggy, and made a good supplement to the autumn mulch on the allotment. I added a few kilos of plants weeded from the raised beds and more kitchen veg waste and hoped for the best.

        Nothing, still at 30 degrees.

        Then I remembered earlier in the year I shredded some dried Jerusalem Artichoke stems - which are long woody stems about the density of balsa wood - added them to the bin and the thing practically caught fire! I still have some old artichoke stems so at the weekend I shredded some up, added to the bin and mixed them into the top layer. 24 hours later the Hot Bin was at 70 degrees.

        I suspect they are a great source of carbon which balances out the nitrogen in all the green waste and enables the microbes to do their thing. I've still got a load of dried stems and this year's crop are drying. So I plan to shred the lot and put them in an old bin at the allotment and add a couple of handfuls with every load of kitchen and green waste. I'm guessing other kinds of semi woody stem might work in the same way.

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