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Wood chippings

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  • Wood chippings

    I have a source of untreated dry wood chips from a hardware store, sold as animal bedding. I thought this might replace the bulking agent/
    paper mix that is required. Would that work Ok???

  • #2
    Wood chips really don't compost well. It's because they contain a lot of cellulose and lignin which is really difficult for bacteria to break down. Dry wood chips can form large dry mouldy clumps in the hotbin (in my experience). If you can get a good quantity of wood chips or make your own, pile them at the bottom of the garden and let them get wet and let nature get to work on it. It will take a year or so to partially compost (all sorts of fungus will get to work on it) at which point it becomes perfect as bulking agent as long as it's not too wet. They probably still won't break down 100% in the composter, but if they are small chips, you won't notice them and if they are large chips they are easily removed and used again (I use big lumps of bark). After a few more passes through the composter, they eventually crumble into nice compost. I don't think wood chips can ever replace paper and cardboard as these have less lignin and the bacterial can break it down.


    • #3
      Good observations, I was mixing the chips with partly degraded oversized woody stuff like the bulking agent to inoculate it and using that for the base layer. You have reminded me that lignin is mostly degraded by fungi, not bacteria, and presumably at lower temperatures than in a Hotbin. Although the Hotbin community may be helping with the evolution of heat-tolerant fungi? So I may well pre-compost the wood chips separately, then use them as bulking agent, as you suggest. Thanks!!