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Great start but now gone cold!

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  • Great start but now gone cold!

    I purchased my hotbin about a month ago. Read all the stuff online about creating the perfect base layer and everything came up to temperature fantastically within 4 or 5 days. 60 degrees easily) Since then everything added according to instructions (shredded paper etc) with the provided bulking agent but since the end of last week noticed a decline in temperature. I am now down to 35 degrees internally and less than 20 degrees by the top thermometer. The bin is 3/4 full now and has about 7 litres of food waste added every 2 to 3 days with shredded leaves from the garden and other chopped trimmings. I have stopped adding cooked food so it is just food peelings etc and stale breads etc going in now. The only thing I can think of was that I piled in the pumpkin ( about 10 litres of waste) in one go after Halloween. Was that too much in one go? Since then it's literally gone of the boil. I've been so careful to add all the nec ratios of paper etc so am feeling very🙁 And trying now to get disheartened.

  • #2
    I find I need to keep putting regular amounts of grass clippings in, otherwise mine goes cool/cold too. The last few lots of grass I've put I have also had some fallen autumn leaves mixed in (they had fallen on the lawn) and they also seem to reduce the heat generated. Are grass clippings going in yours fairly regularly?


    • JL1967
      JL1967 commented
      Editing a comment
      I was adding grass until about mid October but then stopped as I stopped mowing the lawn. I mowed last week when it was dry enough and have added grass clippings with the latest round of waste together with more kitchen peelings.i also gave the bin a good rake and stir and added some more bulking agent. I'm at 32 to 35 degrees before latest feed. I'll update later in the week. Fingers crossed.

  • #3

    the nice people at hotbin advised me to empty the bottom 30 cm of the hotbin and return it to the top with more bulking agent and paper giving everything a good stir. This I did and carried on. Didn't think anything was happening and the About a week later my bin suddenly took off and is now showing an impressive 60 degrees outside when it's only 5 degrees. I have also started to add more cardboard as we were getting a bit of an amonia smell plus some pelleted chicken manure. Don't know how long this will last but love seeing the steam when I go and fill it up !


    • #4
      For me, it has to have the grass clippings, otherwise it goes cool. I don't know whether other materials can get the near going, eg nettles, comfrey etc, anyone out there know please?


      • #5
        Hi there Spadelessade,

        Can we ask how full your HOTBIN is at the moment and what temperature it is currently operating at internally within the top 5-10cm of waste?

        We look forward to hearing from you.


        • #6
          It's probably about a good 3/4 full at the moment EnlightenedElm - and it's currently at about 40C, down from about 50+ which it went up to about a week ago after I'd put the last lot of the usual mixed stuff in: fresh grass clippings, shredded paper, cardboard, kitchen waste and bulking agent. It's probably ready to have the bottom 1/3 emptied to be honest - I'll try and do that this weekend - if it's not too cold and windy as is forecast!


          • #7
            Hi Spadelessade.

            Please do not be too worried at the moment as your HOTBIN is still working at hot composting temperatures.

            If the bottom 1/3 is ready to be harvested and you can find a dry day (we know this could be a challenge over the next couple of days), it would be beneficial to empty it as this should remove the more dense layer of material from the unit and allow more oxygenated air to circulate through the HOTBIN. In turn, following a feed of new waste, bulking agent and shredded paper, you should observe an increase in the HOTBIN's internal temperature.

            We hope that this helps.


            • #8
              Hi again EnlightenedElm - thanks for your helpful reply - I will definitely remove the bottom 1/3 in the next few days, as you say weather permitting! And I'm sure that will waken things up a bit, as it always has in the past for me.
              Should I be worried that it's only if I add grass clippings that the temp seems to go up? Would you say that chopped up comfrey and/or nettles would have the same effect? I can harvest some of those when I'm out walking especially if I know they help the temperature as well as grass clippings does.
              Many thanks for your help.


              • #9
                Hi Spadelessade,

                Fingers crossed it should again!

                I wouldn't be too concerned that only grass cuttings make the temperature go up, although this is slightly unusual. A good feed of 'easy to digest' waste types such as nettles, comfrey, chopped vegetable peelings should however, help to increase your HOTBIN's internal temperature.

                Going forward, following the removal of the bottom 1/3 of material, if you can give the HOTBIN a good feed (at least a caddy worth of waste in terms of volume if possible) of vegetable peelings and comfrey (along with a further 1/5 of the waste's volume of bulking agent and a further 1/2 the volume of shredded paper), this should help to raise the internal temperature over the next 12-48 hours.
                Give the HOTBIN another feed after 2-3 days with some fresh waste, bulking agent and shredded paper and keep an eye on the internal temperature.

                Please keep us posted on how you get on and ask away if you have any other questions!


                • #10
                  Thanks for this EnlightenedElm - I'll definitely do all you say and let you know how it goes!

                  Just a quick thought - do I need to add cardboard as well? I usually do as well as the shredded paper.
                  Thanks again.


                  • #11
                    In our experience shredded paper absorbs moisture in the HOTBIN considerably better than cardboard does so if you have access to enough shredded paper to add just shredded paper and no cardboard, I would personally omit the cardboard. I hope this helps.

                    We look forward to hearing how you get on.


                    • #12
                      Dear EnlightenedElm,
                      1 1/2 days ago I emptied the bottom 1/3 of the Hotbin, and filled again with the following:
                      2 caddies of kitchen waste
                      several good handfuls of bulking agent
                      Lots of shredded paper (1/2 a trugful)
                      Carrier bag of chopped up weeds: nettles, comfrey, dandelion leaves, other stuff I don't know the name of!
                      Up to now the internal temp has remained at a disappointing 10C - do you think it needs more time?
                      Thanks for all your help.


                      • #13
                        Ok so it's now a couple of days further on from my previous post, so I fed my bin 4 days ago, but tit's still sitting sulking at 10C, so I'm guessing it won't get any hotter now. Think I'm going to have to get the lawn mower out and feed the Hotbin with some grass clippings - I was hoping the chopped weeds I added 4 days ago would have got the temp up, but sadly they haven't. I really wish I knew why!


                        • #14
                          You are right, some grass clippings should give everything a good boost!

                          The only reasons people struggle to get up to temperature are:
                          1. They are not feeding the HOTBIN enough waste
                          2. The aeration has got blocked and the air flow is restricted
                          Depending on how full your bin is and if you still have space at the top you could try the following...
                          • Stock-pile a weeks worth of waste (a couple of caddies if possible)
                          • If possible add about half a mower hopper of dry grass clippings
                          • Add the necessary quantities of shredded paper and bulking agent
                          Before adding this material give the pile a realy good stir with the rake to try and get some more oxygen through the heap and break up any dense layers.

                          It might help if you watch this video first on the HOTBIN YouTube Channel.

                          Hope this helps


                          • #15
                            Thank you Wiseoldbloke - I've just watched the YouTube video you suggested and I think tomorrow (when hopefully nobody is watching or they'll think I'm mad!) I'll get the lawn mower out and get myself some grass clippings. I'll then add a new mix and hopefully that will sort things out.