Back in spring I bought myself a Hotbin, which is a super-posh composting bin, that takes all cooked food waste, as well as gardening waste, and cooks it up into compost really quickly.
I emptied it for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I thought it would be a good time to share how I've been finding it. Spoiler alert, I love it!
It's clean, not-smelly, compact, gets really hot and steam comes out of it - what's not to like!
Filling the Hotbin composter.
There's a set up process with the Hotbin, you fill it with twigs at the bottom, then either add a lot of waste to get it heating up fast, or add little bits of waste as you have it (both these methods are described on the Hotbin website).
Once you've done that first step you continue to add a mix of waste to the Hotbin regularly. I find my compost stays hotter if I add waste every other day, but sometimes I go a week between topping it up if I'm busy or the weather's bad, and it still works good.
The mix of waste you need to put in the hot bin is as follows,
Food waste - raw and cooked food waste is fine
Garden waste - chopped into smallish pieces so it breaks down quicker
Shredded paper - a handful or two of shredded or ripped paper or card - I find shredded paper works best and I shred it with a pair of those special shredding scissors with 5 sets of blades.
Bulking agent - a couple of handfuls of bulking agent - Hotbin supply partially composted wood chippings, but you can make your own and I often cut up some twigs to use instead.
Use half the volume of shredded paper to waste, and another fifth of bulking agent to get the mixture right. I like to mix everything up in a trug before popping it in the Hotbin, then I tip it in and mix it with the top layer of compost.
Emptying the Hotbin Composter.
I put off emptying my Hotbin for ages, because I thought it might be tricky, and because I was worried if it hadn't have worked I'd have wasted a lot of money! But I shouldn't have worried it was fine.
Once I'd opened the bottom hatch I started digging the compost out. Eventually the top, unfinished layer of compost collapsed down, but it happened slowly enough that I was able to shove a trug in place and catch it.
Emptying the Hotbin was a surprisingly un-smelly and quick job, it took about 45 minutes to empty including spreading the compost. I've spent entire days emptying compost bins before, so I was really happy with this! I got about 4 small trugs full of compost out too which was more than sufficient to spread by my fruit trees.
The finished compost.
The finished compost is dark brown, it smells good (am I the only one who smells their compost to see if it's ready?!), and it's also really, really sticky. This is normal apparently, due to the large amount of humic matter in the compost.
It was easy to spread, although a bit clumpy, but I'm sure my garden worms will work on that over the winter and by spring my garden beds will be lovely.
My most favourite thing about my Hotbin composter.
I just love that it comes with two thermometers (one on the lid and one on a probe to poke inside) and that steam comes out of it. It's so satisfying to see it working!
Don't forget to check out my other gardening blog posts!
Disclaimer - I received a teeny little discount on my Hotbin in return for the promise of reviewing it. I was going to buy one anyway, and as always all opinions are my own. I've also borrowed a graphic from the Hotbin website - I hope they don't mind and it 100% belongs to them.