Composting Weeds with HOTBIN

Composting Weeds with HOTBIN

Are you asking yourself, "Can I compost weeds?" I have asked myself this too, while reminiscing about battling with garden invaders during those long spring and summer weekends in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois? The fact that I had to spend part of my weekends killing weeds as opposed to enjoying warmer days, makes my experience with weeds memorable.Well, I'm here to share some insights.

Composting weeds can be an integral part of your gardening routine, helping to reduce weed resurgence while also enriching your garden. With the right techniques, you can turn these unwanted plants into nutrient-rich compost, and the solution is as simple as adding home composting to your weekly routine.

That said, composting weeds isn't as simple as throwing them on a pile. Weeds are tenacious, with invasive root systems that can remain viable unless properly dealt with. This is where hot composting comes into its own. Without heat above 100°F sustained over several days (like achievable with a HOTBIN), you risk creating a compost that could reintroduce viable weed seeds into your garden.

Composting Weeds: HOTBIN Makes the Difference

Back in the day, I used to dry weeds after pulling them from my garden beds. But even with fresh mulch and a protective plastic cover, the weeds returned, waving hello just a few weeks later. You can dry weeds and add them to a cold compost pile, but beware – this method carries the risk of reintroducing weeds into your compost and, ultimately, your garden.

You can compost and eradicate invasive running roots/plants like weeds from growing back in our gardens with HOTBIN. Indeed, if you are following general weed advice and removing them when they are still young, you should be able to break them down easily and make excellent compost quickly.

However, to minimize or avoid the risk of spreading them back to your garden as ‘contaminated compost’ you need to use heat to destroy them. Even the most resilient perennial weed cannot survive sustained hot composting at temperatures of 100°-140° F.

Here are are Five Tips for Efficient Weed Composting with HOTBIN:

  1. Maintain your HOTBIN composting temperature consistently between 100-140°F.
  2. Never add weeds or seeds to a HOTBIN that is not up to temperature, 

    or you risk spreading weeds in your final compost.

  3. Shake soil off roots and add weeds and seed heads into the top layer of the bin —the hottest part.

  4. Avoid vigorous stirring of the heap for a week, as this could cause weeds to fall into cooler layers where they could potentially survive.

  5. Test Your Final CompostPlant a few small pots with your final compost and water them. If nothing germinates, you can be confident that hot composting has destroyed all weed seeds. YES!

BEWARE: Bear in mind that complete eradication of weed seeds is challenging. They get dropped by birds, carried by the wind, and can lay dormant in the soil for years. But with hot composting and a vigilant gardening practice, you can keep your garden thriving and spends more time enjoying the warmer days in your garden relatively weed-free.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published