First attempt at Hot Compost

A freshly created pile of hot compost

There are a lot of ways to create compost. One of the fastest ways is using hot compost. Hot compost has three main advantages over other techniques.

  1. Any weeds and seeds in the compost pile die, so you can get the nutritional value from them without spreading new weeds.
  2. You don’t lose any mass, cold composting reduces in size over time, hot composting does not.
  3. It’s fast.

There is a price to pay for these benefits.

  1. You have to turn the pile inside out every three or four days.
  2. You need to start with a lot of material.
  3. You can’t incrementally add to it over time.

I took a job on Airtasker yesterday where I had to remove some green waste from a ladies house. Now, I could have dumped this waste at the tip and it would have been mulched and someone would have used it in their garden. However, I’ve wanted to start a hot compost pile for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. So I got paid to make my own compost. 😀

How does Hot Compost work?

Hot compost works by using different bacteria than cold compost to break down the material. These bacteria produce less gas than the cold compost bacteria so there is less material loss. However, they prefer a warmer climate. This is ok because they create the climate themselves. However, they need sufficient biomass to create the reaction. You need a mix of dry and green materials about 1 metre cubed to create a hot compost mix.

Ideally, you would place the material in a shredder/mulcher first to help it break down faster. I don’t own one so I just created the pile. I covered it with a tarp to keep the rain off. The problem with rain isn’t the water, it’s the cooling effect. Moisture in the compost pile is a good thing, however, rain will cool it down, slowing down the bacteria.

A tarp covering a hot compost pile.

A pile of hot compost covered with a tarp.

I am hopeful that I can create a good amount of useable compost from this pile. I created the pile near where I intend to start my permaculture garden. So that I wouldn’t have to move the compost too far to where it’s going to be used. Though this pile isn’t going to be enough for the whole garden, it is a good start. I’ll have to buy a fork so I can turn the pile every few days. However, that’s next weeks problem.

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