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Active Batch Hot Composting is a process that differs from passive or cold composting, were piles just sit for long periods of time.

1. Read all instructions and assemble the Garden Bin Composter, check bin fit to base.

2. LOCATE BIN. Chose a location avoiding fencing and wooden structure that could rot. Place bin within easy reach of your home and consider maximizing the solar radiant heat it will receive. Avoid low spots where water can stand, leaving plenty of room to access with a garden fork and wheel barrow .Ensure bin base is free draining.

3. INGREDIENT STORAGE. Since active composting is a batch process, it requires a full bin of material and this usually requires stockpiling. The collection and shredding of indoor urban waste such as cardboard/paper should remain indoor, or bagged up for storage in out housing. Natural ingredients, hedge cuttings, leaves and other carbon rich materials should be stored outside and open. So long as the Carbon rich and Nitrogen rich ingredients don't mix outside storage is OK. try to keep all materials dry until The Garden Bin is ready to be filled.

4. THE MIX Lots of information on compost ingredients are available, you can find detailed information through links on the main page, this window is intended as a quick guide so here's the basics. A lot will depend on the waste you have available, the design of the composter and the type of composting you intend to carry out. I hope your ideas about the range of materials that can be composted will been expanded. 

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4a. CARBON  Carbon-rich materials are the "micro-herd's" energy food. You can identify high-carbon plant materials because they are dry, tough, fibrous, and brown in color. Examples are dry leaves, straw, rotted hay, sawdust, shredded paper and cardboard. j

4b. NITROGEN High-nitrogen materials provide the protein-rich components that microorganisms require to grow and multiply. Examples are fresh weeds, fresh grass clippings, over-ripe fruits and vegetables, kitchen scraps and other moist green matter are the sorts of nitrogen-rich materials readily available. 

4c. C:N RATIO The aim is to achieve a Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio of 30:1. It could take some time to work out all your ingredients by weight to calculate this, so not to worry, urban composting is not a competition with a prize for the fastest composter in the west. Use the rule of thumb add three times the amount of brown material "Carbons" to the amount of green material "Nitrogen" and your compost will burn.

5.FILLING  & WATERING. Layer your various ingredients watering each layer as you go. Think "Green and Brown". Add 10% bulky matter like wood chips to keep the pile loose and open to avoid clumping THIS IS KEY TO THE PROCESS. Fork the layers into the bin, mixing as you go, blending wet with dry, watering as necessary. Water like a seed bed, avoiding runoff. The mix should end up 60% moisture like a damp sponge. INOCULATE by adding from 10%-40% old compost into the mix, you can use soil for your first batch This will inject a "micro-heard" and speed up composting.

6. AERATION Like any other form of livestock, your "micro-herd" of organisms needs food, air, and water. You have added food with a balance of carbon and nitrogen, the green and browns. You just added water. Now the “micro-heard” need air. Old compost theories suggest you turn the pile for aeration; recent studies show that a recently turned pile uses up its oxygen in little over 1/2 hour. The key, is the pile needs ventilation, provided through a passive aeration base. The air will rise up due to convection, the chimney effect, of warm air rising. With 10% wood chips added to the mix, the pile will self aerate without the need for turning. Poking the pile from the top down to the base with a compost aerator will break up any clumping and provide extra air channels.


7. HEATING UP After a few days check to see if your pile has heated up. Be careful, my first pile surprised me, they can and should reach temperatures upwards of 70oC-1600F, enough to leave a nasty superficial burn. For safety reasons you should use a compost thermometer.

9.  ADDING WASTE to add kitchen scraps and food waste, chop it up and bury it deep into the center of the composting pile, this will discourage vermin, depress any initial odours, enable the worms and invertebrates to get at it and speed up its decomposition. Stop adding food waste two weeks before harvesting or your be picking it out for the next load. All other wastes should be stored ready to start the next batch loading process again.

9. MOISTURE CONTENT Keep the pile contents moisture level constant an efficient composter needs to have a moisture content of around 60% (feels like a wet sponge) Under-watering is the single most common factor effecting slow composting while over-watering is the number one cause of odours

10. FINISHED compost will visibly reduce to 25-40% of the original ingredients. When individual matter is no longer identifiable and it resembles a dark brown, crumbly rich soil, the compost is complete. There will be no more macrobiotic activity that heats the pile, even when aerated. It will smell pleasantly sweet, woody and earthy, freely crumbling when picked up. Some hardy material pieces will survive the composting process, just separate or sieve them out to use in the next inoculate.