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Frustrated from Warwick

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  • Frustrated from Warwick

    I've been using the Bin since August 2020. I thought everything was going along nicely. Keeping up the temperature, paper, cardboard and bulking gets to the hopefully correct ratios.
    But..... After tinkering and removing some of the compost, its still to wet (In my opinion) I can squeeze it into a ball and it'll hold shape. No water is squeezing out though. Its not "crumbly"

    Whats the best option for me, do I empty the bin and try and dry out the compost or are my ratios of paper and cardboard wrong?

    Any advice is appreciated.

    Thank you

  • #2
    I don't know that I can offer much advice, but everyone I know that has the Hotbin suffers this same problem, myself included. I've yet to see anyone open a Hotbin and produce a beautiful spongey crumbling peat-like compost as the promotional material would suggest. I've had mine for over 2 years now running almost non stop and i've put just about everything you can imagine into it. Even if you watch YouTube videos where the compost looks half-decent, its obvious that its been sitting in the bin and cooled down for quite some time, likely given plenty of time to drain, and no fresh leachate migrating down from the active compost above.

    You could try experimenting and adding a little more cardboard or other dry material such as well-shredded leaves. I put my own wet compost into one of the standard cold composters and leave it until I need it. It drains better in contact with the ground and I find can be sieved and does eventually produce a nice final product. I know that kind of defeats the purpose of anyone wanting faster compost.

    I've watched and read a lot of material on composting in general and there is one thing I seen repeated several times. If you can squeeze it into a ball and it holds it shape and no water is coming out, it could be a high humus content that is doing that, which means its very good quality compost even if it isn't nice and crumbly.


    • #3
      I've only had my HB about a month, but as I started mine off thinking I could use my half-composted cold-bin compost pretty much 'as is' with the addition of a LOT of dry shredded cardboard and dry wood bulking, I've had to strip it out three times so far. Each time was due to too much moisture.
      I even had to remove the carbon filter (am not composting animal waste) as it was getting drenched and blocking the removal of moisture. This is OK for now, but it will need to go back in once the weather warms up just to keep the bugs out (and in).

      Every time I've stripped it out, I've ended up with the originally partially digested compost that is full of newer bulking wood and absolutely LOADS of soggy cardboard and paper!
      I know have one and a half cold compost bins full of this stuff, as well as an HB that is full to the top.
      It's currently been going for a few days at 60°C+.

      The only thing I've found that helps me is the "Quick-Start Bottle." I've been experimenting...
      Dig a hole in the HB compost about 1/3 down, put the bottle full of almost-boiling water in it, cover it up and LEAVE IT THERE.
      It adds a considerable thermal reservoir to the HB.

      I have a ThermoPro outdoor wireless sender buried in the compost about 5cm down that gives me minute-by-minute readings on the state of the HB.
      When you disturb the HB (Lid or Hatch) the effects are so much lower than when it wasn't present (obviously), and it seems to stop the bin from 'stalling.'

      This seems to be working for me, but I do seem to be composting more shredded wood and paper than I do actual green stuff at the moment. Everything from the kitchen and garden has so much moisture in it!
      I've even taken to drying grass cuttings and old vegetation on large growbag trays before putting it in the HB. I'm not saying PITA, yet, but there must be a better way. 😁

      Haven't really had the HB long enough to be able to say how good the compost is at the end, but as I am a lowly-ranked amateur of all things compost, I suspect it will take many months of trial and error for me to get anything I might be proud of. 😀

      If you find an answer that works for you, please post.


      (BTW, if you use a ThermoPro remote sensor in the bin, you might want to seal it thoroughly in several welded-shut heavy-duty plastic bags. I use the sous vide style vacuum bags, sans vacuum)
      Last edited by SusiBiker; 03-06-2021, 05:21 PM. Reason: Spelling errors


      • JohnBS
        JohnBS commented
        Editing a comment
        "cover it up and LEAVE IT THERE.
        It adds a considerable thermal reservoir to the HB."
        I've wondered about that as well. Please keep us posted.