One of my simple pleasures is composting. I use a device called a Hotbin which sits on our patio, effectively a well insulated compost box, relying on a chimney effect to promote good airflow - steam comes out of the top vent but no smell. I’ve had mine since 2012 and i never cease to be amazed when i empty it (every 3 month or so). Garden waste, leaves, shredded paper and any food waste go in and out comes this lovely brown compost that makes our rather crappy soil ( ex woodland) so much better. Over the summer and with the addition of grass cuttings, temperatures in the pile can reach 70’C but over the winter it settles around 30-40’C and the worms multiply taking over composting duties lower down in the pile. The other benefit is our kitchen bin never has any food waste in it, so doesn’t need emptying so often.


A man after my own, good stuff
I compost everything I can lay may hands on, we have zero food waste other than some meats, any extra straw/hay farm waste that I can get, my own wood cuttings get chipped & that is stored for a year or so for mulch, if its suitable or small or whatever I send it through the chipper a second time & that gets mixed into the compost.
I have 2 bins on the go at any one time, one being filled but that can get done faster than it composts, the other is the ‘maturing’ & worm farm bin & when the ‘filing’ bin is full it get turned into the maturing bin & the maturing bin gets emptied into a wood sided store heap. This is the finished compost product.
I’ve been looking at a Hotbin, & that’ll most likely be the next move, I need to go look & kick the tyres first, but not until after some significant house/garden building work is finished, (due to start Jan thro’ July) eek !!!.


We always have compost on the go. Out soil is naturally poor, so needs all the help it can get. I’ve never gone for anything fancy, just a couple of metre cubes made from timber. I find them big enough that I can have one to fill while the other is maturing/being used, so if, in our cool climate, it takes a while, it doesn’t matter.
We are lucky to have friends with horses, so a plentiful supply of horse manure which really improves the quality of the compost.
I also keep one of those plastic bins, which I use for anything that might have seeds in it, as these are often still viable after composting

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We make lots of the stuff. Currently six bins, three with nicely rotted compost, the others rapidly being filled with grass clippings, weeds, kitchen waste, and the mass of pond plants that our two ponds seem to generate almost overnight in this weather.

The only problem we have, being in a rural location near a farm, is with rats taking up residence in the bins. I’ve yet to find an effective way of keeping them out - poison’s not an option. The local farm cats help a bit, but they’ve got their work cut out in the farmyard.


Great thread … I have a number of different types of compost bin; two rotary bins, five conical bins, and two large Austrian bins. The soil here is thin, so when I created some raised beds I wanted to improve the soil; to do this I mix one part compost with one part soil and one part vermiculite.

Then along came the hens … rats have always been a problem hence the rotary bins take the hen bedding and food waste. I rotate the bens when I let the hens out in the morning. Once one bin is full it is left to mature whilst I fill the other bin. When both are full the oldest one is emptied into the conical bins.

I now have access to rabbit straw bedding - this goes into the hexagonal Austrian bins (700 litre each). So far the vermin have not shown any interest.

My raised beds are half full, so each autumn once I’ve finished cropping I let the hens roam over the beds and add my soil mix, which gets incorporated into the beds over the winter. Any wood chips are used around the paths, although I used some this year as a foundation for more raised beds (see Hügelkultur

A mate on Sark used the hot bins for a while, mainly for kitchen scraps. I was interested in how effective they were, But he did not have much success (wrong mix?) so reverted to using his kitchen garden and learnt to live with rats down by the hen coop.

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