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Crowan
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What compost methods do you use? Anyone else using a Bokashi?
I've just bought a Hot Bin (I've read some really good reviews) but haven't set it up yet. Anyone else using one? How have you found it?

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Lynora
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I look forward to your first reports - I just read about it - fascinating. I use a Henchman Compost Tumbler - Tumblers - brilliant piece of kit!

We rarely have meat scraps, but can't say I would want to use them in compost. We have a wormery too!

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hambo
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For me just a standard compost bin with vegetable left overs and tea bags. If it gets a bit mucky with too many flies etc just some left over newspaper (dry waste) to balance it out.

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Crowan
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For me just a standard compost bin with vegetable left overs and tea bags. If it gets a bit mucky with too many flies etc just some left over newspaper (dry waste) to balance it out.

I never compost tea bags because of the plastics. I intend to set up the Hot Bin this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes.

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Crowan
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Well, the weekend was busy, so I got the Hot Bin set up last Monday (6 days ago). It's not quite filled to its minimum amount yet - mostly with food waste, cardboard and nettles - but it's getting close. Even so, it's heated to 80 degrees and is giving off steam.
So far, so good.

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Crowan
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That 80 degrees was, of course, Fahrenheit. The internal thermometer is easier to read in F.
Today, and for the last week, the bin has been pretty steady at 120 degrees F / 50 degrees C. I cut two huge hydrangeas back yesterday and put the prunings into the hot bin, completely filling it and lowering the temperature (at the top) to 80 F / 27 C. This morning the temperature was back up to 120 F / 50 C and the volume had dropped to about 25 cm below the top.
I think it's going to tick over nicely now, so I'll report again when something new has happened.

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Principled
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Hi Crowan,

You got me looking up these hot compost makers. Very expensive! Are they worth it? They sound like they are amazing, but I'm struggling with whether I can justify spending that much dosh, when I've already got one - albeit that is usually wet and soggy and takes months if not years to make compost.

Judy

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Crowan
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Hi Crowan,

You got me looking up these hot compost makers. Very expensive! Are they worth it? They sound like they are amazing, but I'm struggling with whether I can justify spending that much dosh, when I've already got one - albeit that is usually wet and soggy and takes months if not years to make compost.

Judy

If you can hang on a couple of weeks, I'm intending to investigate the end result (we have visitors until then - I don't think they'd appreciate emptying a compost bin for entertainment) and I'll let you know how it goes.

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Principled
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I I don't think they'd appreciate emptying a compost bin for entertainment

:p

I'll wait - thanks.

Judy

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Crowan
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Visitors have gone and the compost bin is (half) emptied.

I'm impressed. I'm even considering getting a second one. We have a large garden - I don't suppose that would be suitable for most people.

There are a few things to bear in mind if you are thinking of getting one, however, as they are expensive (£185).

First, you need to keep it fed. I put in two or three 5-litre caddies of kitchen waste a week, plus some garden waste. If I got another, it would be mainly taking the garden waste.

You need to chop everything small before you add it.

You need to add a bulking agent each time you put anything in. Mainly I use egg cartons and the insides of kitchen and toilet rolls. Newspaper if I need more.

(I don't think it would be suitable for a small garden. Before we moved, I used a Bokashi system that worked very well.)

The compost was really good, and easy to get out as the whole of the lower half of the front of the bin lifts away. A good half of the total of what was in the bin had composted and it was easy to leave the rest in situ, close up the front and push it down to the base of the bin. Of course, now it has all cooled, so I am building up the next load, to use in another three months.

If you are interested, there's a lot of info.

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Principled
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Thanks Crowan,

Very helpful reply! Thank you - and for the link too.

What attracted me is that you can put weeds in as well, as the heat kills the seeds, plus food other than just vegetable and fruit cuttings as I do now. My husband has to keep going to the dump with all the weeds and the thicker-stalked plants, so it sounds perfect. I might wait till the spring though as I'm a fair-weather gardener and don't fancy emptying out the old soggy one in this weather!

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Crowan
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Weeds (and cooked food and small bones) are all fine in it - so long as you wait until it is hot before you put them in.

In the meantime, many so-called "pernicious weeds" are edible and all can be used as plant fertilizer - just put them in a container and cover with water for a few weeks. An added bonus of this is that, once you've drained off the liquid and used it on your plants, the weeds are usually drowned enough to be able to go onto an ordinary cool compost heap. (Can be smelly, though.:eek:)

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Principled
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Thanks - more helpful advice. I just love the thought that none of this is going into land fill!

I know this is not the topic, but it sort of goes with it. Heard it on the news last night: and oh dear, the announcer said something like, "It is the A9 to the airport, but people will probably call it the Number 2! " 😀

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Crowan
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Thanks - more helpful advice. I just love the thought that none of this is going into land fill!

I know this is not the topic, but it sort of goes with it. Heard it on the news last night: and oh dear, the announcer said something like, "It is the A9 to the airport, but people will probably call it the Number 2! " 😀

I think it's a great idea. We have a compost toilet and use the proceeds on the garden.

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Crowan
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Further to this discussion, Alys Fowler wrote about the Hot Bin in last Saturday's guardian - - .

She calls it "hot, sleek and sexy", which isn't generally the kind of language I think of when describing compost bins, but there you go, we're all different. Maybe I'm just too serious. I'm sure Boson Higgs will tell me if I am.;)

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Principled
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Well I don't know about sexy, but it does sound rather exciting! :p

I dread to ask, but what is a compost toilet? I have a septic tank, but I'm guessing that's not the same. Is yours down the garden or is it in the house?

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Crowan
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I dread to ask, but what is a compost toilet? I have a septic tank, but I'm guessing that's not the same. Is yours down the garden or is it in the house?

You may regret asking this – I have been known to bore listeners into sleep on the subject!
So I’ll try to be brief – a compost toilet is basically a toilet which is used to turn human ‘waste’ in compost. Many are ‘long-drop’ toilets. A diagram can be seen .

Ours is a ‘dry’ type. The liquid and the solids are separated, and stored in different chambers. Liquid goes into a bottle and is emptied when necessary. Usually this is onto leafmould or into the compost bin – urine is a great compost activator – or it is diluted with water and used as a plant food.

The solids turn, eventually, into a rich humus that can be used on the garden, or (if not fully composted when you need to empty it) into the compost bin.

Remember that urine is sterile when it leaves the body and faeces generally have no pathogens that will survive this process.
What makes the smell is the two being mixed together. Kept separately, there is no smell.

I would love one inside the house, but my partner is yet to be completely converted. So ours is in the outbuilding where our shamanic workroom is. Everyone on courses uses it, clients use it and we do during the day.

Although both earth closets and water closets were used since ancient times, by the time Moule took out a patent on his earth closet, there was already money being made by the builders (i.e. the people who bankrolled the projects, not the ones who actually built them) of the sewerage infrastructure in the rapidly expanding cities. Parliament backed the water closet. At a stroke we lost a valuable source of nutrients and we gave ourselves the problem of having to treat and clean water that had been polluted by sewerage.

I think it also contributed greatly to the modern notion of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Nothing can be thrown away, ‘waste’ has to be dealt with somehow, but we tend to live as if things disappear if we throw or flush them away.
I said you might regret asking. I get very enthusiastic about compost toilets.:D

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Principled
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Well that's quite a revelation Crowan! I'd heard of people using similar methods in the wilds of Africa, outback Australia etc (where I see the link you gave was from) etc, but I never realised you could get them in the UK.

You obviously are 100% committed to your alternative lifestyle - good for you! I'm happy to know that there is a possibility that there will be large scale energy composting from human waste in the future, like from that bus link above.

Thanks

Judy

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