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Oak leaves? A bad idea?

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  • Oak leaves? A bad idea?

    New to hot composting and have been struggling to maintain any decent temperature with it.

    I originally bought one because of the vast quantity of oak leaves we have in our garden. I read some advice somewhere that oak leaves (dried) would make good material for hot composting as they provide some bulk to work along with greens. I'm sure I saw someone saying that they just put in a 50:50 mix of grass and leaves and rarely used paper. I can't get that to work though.

    I started with sparse amounts of leaves and the more traditional mix of vegetable and plant cuttings, paper and bulking agent. I put a load of leaves and grass in that I picked up with the mower (so the leaves were broken up) to get the bin up to the minimum height and things seemed to start heating up. I also added shredded paper. However, it didn't maintain the heat. I added more and this time put in a couple of handfuls of fish blood and bone meal, and the kickstrter bottle. For a few days it was up at a glorious 45 but now is really cold again.

    I was hoping people could offer advice:

    - Has anyone had any luck with oak leaves? What mix do you use?
    - Should I still be adding large amounts of paper along with the leaves?

    I can take a picture of the inside and the layers under the hatch if that might help.

    Cheers in advance!

  • #2
    I have a whole mixture of leaves in my garden (including oak - no idea where they come from as I can't see an oak tree anywhere), but too many of them in the bin at any one time can cause issues. Dried leaves are harder to break down than green leaves, so I store mine and use them in small amounts over the winter. I normally run the mower over them several times to make sure they are are chopped really well. To much can form a layer that stops air flow. So used in small amounts, I've hand no real issues with leaves. Regardless of what you are composting, you still need some bulking material such as bark chippings to keep the air flow going.


    • #3
      Thanks HotBinDjinn . I think I'm going too heavy on leaves so will cut back. Will just have to store them for longer.

      It doesn't help that our green waste collections have been cancelled for some time so getting rid of the excess leaves this winter is going to be tough. I was hoping the Hotbin would be the answer but I don't think so anymore.


      • #4
        you still need some bulking material such as bark chippings to keep the air flow going


        • #5
          Cutting back on the leaves, putting in more shredded paper and more wood chippings seems to be working. Now regularly feeding and the temp is getting up. Was just under 40 yesterday but has been steadily climbing. Hoping it is in the green zone today. I'm putting in a handful of leaves at a time with a caddy of waste. Thanks for the help both of you!