Time to Steam Up your HOTBIN Composter ahead of Winter
The HOTBIN can work at 100-140°F all through winter, and Fall is the best time to kick-start it or ensure the internal temperature is in the ‘green zone’ or at an optional composting temperature. To keep your HOTBIN steaming hot, you will need more energy going in. That is, feeding food and garden waste regularly, in addition to shredded paper and wood-chips/mulch. Although in some areas there will be less or no garden waste, the holidays are not short of a good number of leftovers from family and friends gathering.
Just remember that although all things around us may cool down (in some places more than others), HOTBIN insulated walls will slow the rate of heat loss and will not stop working if it has food-waste to keep bacteria working and generating heat.
If your HOTBIN goes cold or below 41°F, and bacteria is too cold to generate enough heat, you can re-activate them by adding ‘hot water to the HOTBIN’s kick-start bottle.' Place the bottle in the middle of the composting heap for at least 24 hrs. before removing it. This process will provide enough warm to get bacteria activated again and generating their own heat.
HOTBIN location, what you need to know
If your HOTBIN is exposed to windy conditions at its present location (as opposed to sheltered behind a wall), it will require more waste to keep bacteria working and generating heat during the winter months.
What happens if it snows?
If the HOTBIN is running at 104-140˚F it will carry on working when it snows. Snow that falls on the valve is melted by the hot air leaving the valve.
If your HOTBIN is lukewarm or between 68-86˚F, you will need to watch out for accumulating snow of > 2 in. around the air valve. If it happens, just brush the snow off to keep the valve clear as there will not be enough hot air rising out to melt the snow, and your heap needs to stay aerated. However, the waste is still composting, just at a lower decomposing rate.
What about Fall?
Fall is also the best season to start composting (if you haven’t) to have ready-to-use compost ahead of spring gardening.
To conclude, if you have a HOTBIN composter, keep it steaming during this season and throughout the winter. If you are not composting yet… take the 'composting leap' and start composting today!
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