How to Hot Compost
Hot composting isn’t too different from traditional styles of composting. Simply throw your food and organic waste (as explained below) into your compost bin, and let the microorganisms get to work as they break down and decompose your waste. The difference here, is how much more heat is trapped and retained during the process, producing your nutrient-rich compost in much quicker time than traditional composting.
What is Hot Composting?
Hot composting is a method of composting that relies on the generation of heat to accelerate the decomposition process. This heat is produced via an optimised condition inside the compost bin, made easier by the innovative design which speeds up the microbial activity to decompose your waste in much shorter periods of time.
The hot compost bins in our range includes the HotBin in 100, and 200 litre sizes, and the Green Johanna 330 litre, which comes with an optional Winter Jacket too. Our hot composters are perfect for tackling your food waste throughout the colder months, and are a well worthy investment if you produce higher volumes of food waste in your family.
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Hot composting is a great way to produce rich, organic compost in just 30 to 90 days (x32 faster than traditional composting), all year round! It’s capable of decomposing a wider range of food and organic waste too, and simultaneously kills pathogens and bacteria in the process whilst it breaks down the waste, minimising the risk of diseases and viruses being spread around your garden.
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Setting up a Hot Compost Bin or Pile
The size of your compost bin or pile is important when starting your hot composting journey. Too small, and there’ll be a lack of heat generated. We recommend a size of around four by four feet for a sturdy hot composting pile. The hot composters we stock have of course been designed with the ideal size in mind, ranging from 100 to 330 litres.
Ideally, and we know this isn’t always possible in the UK, but you should locate your hot composter in full sun, as shade will cool the composter down and slow down the process of decomposition.
When building up your pile for hot composting, we recommend having all your organic waste to hand from the start. In traditional composting, waste is added accumulatively, but for hot composting, a larger pile is required from the get-go to ensure heat is retained within the pile and stays there for the duration of the process.
Materials to Include in a Hot Composting Bin or Pile
When hot composting, the carbon to nitrogen ratio is much more important than in traditional composting, to ensure the microbial activity is more synchronised to generate the heat required. Ideally, split the ratio of your pile in 25 parts carbon to one part nitrogen. Here are a few suggestions for what to put in your hot compost bin:
- Dry corn stalks
- Shredded paper
- Small twigs
- Dry leaves
- Grass clippings
- Fruit and vegetable scraps
- Deadheads and trimmings from garden plants
- Coffee grounds and tea bags
Just be sure to finely chop the material (such as twigs and straw) before throwing it in, to quicken the decomposition process and give your composter a helping hand. Mix the ingredients together, along with a drop of water to moisten the mixture, which eases the composting process along.
Materials to Avoid in a Hot Composting Bin or Pile
Below is a list of material we recommend not putting in your hot compost bin or pile:
- Meat, dairy, and bones*
- Diseased plants or weeds
- Cat and/or dog faeces
- Synthetic materials (plastic, rubber, etc.)
- Pesticides and/or chemicals
*most animal bones, meat, and seafood can be composted, just at a much slower rate. If you are to throw them in your hot composter, be sure to cut the bones and carcases up into smaller parts first.
Harvesting and Using your Compost
Monitor the temperature of your hot compost daily. Once the pile start to cool down, consistently measuring at 50°C or below, it’s time to turn the pile, which will help aerate the contents, catalysing the microbial activity.
If your content appears too wet, you should additionally turn it, and throw in shredded newspaper or other materials high in carbon to soak up excess moisture and keep the ratio intact.
Our hot compost bins produce rich, dark, and crumbly compost within 30-90 days. Once your finished compost is ready, you can dig it straight into the ground, sprinkle it on top of, or mixed into your flower and vegetable beds, gently rake it into tree beds, blend it with potting soil to condition and nourish your house plants, or simply spread it on top of the soil on your lawn as a soil amendment.
So, there’s a quick guide for how and why you should start hot composting this year. It's the perfect solution for all-season gardening, and to minimise and transform your organic waste. The hot compost bins we stock have all been especially designed to produce the richest, most nutritious compost, and are available in a range of sizes and colours to accommodate for all gardens and homes. Browse our selection of HotBins and the Green Johanna, and GetComposting today. Together, we can make a difference.