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New Compost Area

This week I’ve noticed the shortening of daylight at the start and end of the day, autumn is fast approaching. Before the August Bank Holiday heatwave arrives I’ve managed to make a few late afternoon visits to the allotment. The task has been the compost area.

This will become the new compost corner.

In one corner of the plot, in fact the same location where a compost heap once stood before I took ownership, I set about cleaning the area. To stop the brambles coming in from the railway line I placed two sheets of corrugated iron. Against these I’ve placed my compost bins.

A few months ago I was sent the Super Compost Bin to trial. It was designed by Tony Callaghan who also created the HotBin Composter which I’ve been using for the past few years. This new Super Compost Bin works on the same principles as the HotBin – creating compost within 90 days. It was very easy to assemble but even if it does produce usable compost within the advertised 90 days, I’m very confident that the price tag will put off any gardener. A 200-litre version is currently selling at £325 with the 1000-litre bin priced at £625.

Super Compost Bin.
The new Slimline Compost Bin

The porus rubber pipe, as shown in the photograph, is to supply air to the base of the compost. Tony assured me this is all that is needed to circulate air, he also points out that you don’t have to create layers of materials as you would in traditional methods.

Next to this new larger bin I’ve put my old HotBin Composter which I’ve been using for several years. It produces lovely compost but you really need two for effective management. In a few weeks I will be taking delivery of HotBin Composter version 2.0, this is a slimmer model and has the facility to store the compost liquid in the base so it can be used as a fertiliser. Once this is in place I will be set-up for compost production. It will be interesting to compare these various methods over the coming months, at the moment I’m favouring the original HotBin Composter because it won’t take long to fill up which means compost to use in the garden much quicker – just how long will it take to fill up the Super Compost Bin! Only time will tell.

The new compost collective. l-r: HotBin Composter, Super Compost Bin.


Until I’ve tested out the other versions, I’m currently recommending the following as being good value for money and for producing some wonderful compost – a great addition to any garden and allotment.


About Sean James Cameron

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  1. I`ve noticed its pretty much the same here in winlaton the trees are just starting to get ready to put their party dresses on ( change colour ) . I bought a small two tiered worm bin after my original grey wormery dropped to bits I must confess I haven’t started it off yet due to it being very hot .

  2. The air has definately changed!
    I’m in Cambridgeshire and I haven’t seen any swifts, martin’s or swallows for a couple of weeks now and we are not even out of August yet!!!
    Good luck with the compost bins. Unfortunately, even the smaller versions are beyond my budget, so I will just be following the old method.

  3. I’ve noticed the light is changing, the sun is getting lower. This morning it was a touch chilly as I put my washing out at 5.30, soon warmed up though.

  4. Frank Richard Feiller

    i’ve used several, not so sophisticated as any of your three Sean. my primary form of composting is with composting worms, very fast, no separating of types of organics like browns and greens. some time ago in one of your videos you had a bin that was just loaded with worms.

  5. If you can compost everything including pernicious weeds that would be money well spent.I am sticking to my plastic Daleks for now but would like to revert back to pallet type ones for easier access. Hope you get some great compost from your bins.

  6. Hi Sean! My allotment is my own back yard. No allotment buddies unfortunately. I live alone and need things small & manageable.

    Here’s my method: I bought a cylinder composter a few years ago that spins on a platform.
    No handle. It has ‘handle-dents’ you grab to rotate it in place. You just tumble it whenever you think of it. Very clean and contained like your small composter. Place it where you walk past it regularly, that reminds you to spin it.

    It’s pretty small scale but it makes compost rather quickly if you have fresh material. Grass clippings & weeds gives me more than enough green material (nitrogen makes the heat), so I chop cardboard boxes & packing paper into it, add leaves I’ve kept over from last fall. I try to time it so it’s mostly black dirt by winter. At that point, we freeze solid here (Wisconsin, USA) and tumbling it when frozen solid is not done, so it should be emptied in the fall to receive your winter kitchen scraps. You can tumble again in April.

    When I empty the tumbler in Oct/Nov, I transfer the compost into two flexi-tubs (no drainage) and cover with chopped leaves. They stay outside (just set them in any garden bed out of the way). By April when it thaws, I have super-rich compost that I riddle to remove sticks, thin with sand (you say grit?) and vermiculite, and is PERFECT for up-potting my seedlings. (Sterilize it in the oven first if using for sowing seeds!)

    Of course, you could just spread a layer of it as is over the garden beds and skip the riddling & thinning. A little goes a long way. But my money is saved by making my own potting soil, so I clean it up for seedlings. It all eventually makes its way into the garden when I plant them outside.

    For some reason, this fussing with the waste materials and making free compost has turned into my favorite “chore”. Nothing is wasted, everything is gain. Very satisfying.

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