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  • Writer's pictureNicky

Our composting blog!

Updated: May 10, 2023


Intro to Hotcomposting

Hi, welcome to our hotcomposting blog! I'm not that great at writing blogs, in fact, this is my first EVER blog.... so please humour me.

We hope this is a place to learn, as well as a place for us to learn, as we are all learning here too.

Hotcomposting

A bit of background to the method we are exploring:

We are using the "Shivansh Fertilizer" method, mostly because, I have experience of using this technique successfully in Spain. Of course, conditions here in West Wales are rather different, but in theory, we should be able to make this work. I have produced around 7 batches of this so far, so, the equivalent of 7000 liters, or around 7000kgs of compost / fertilizer. 6 batches of which were in Spain, which produced really great compost and transformed the gardens that I used them in. The previous batch was done in January / February in Pembrokeshire, and this didn't turn out so great, due to the cold temperatures, but, mostly it got waterlogged as I didn't have a covered dry space to make it in.

More information on the Shivansh method can be found here: http://shivanshfarming.com/

And specifically the step-by-step instructions on how to create your own hotcompost can be found here: https://billionsinchange.in/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/ShivanshFertilizerBook-EN.pdf

To offer a balanced perspective here is a link for some information from a Permaculture perspective (there are many other Permaculture, and non-permaculture sources available on the internet too: https://www.permaculturenews.org/2017/10/10/truth-behind-shivansh-fertilizer/

The great composting debate:

Like many / all things in life, there are many wide-ranging and diverse perspectives / opinions on composting. We aren't particularly attached to the idea of hotcomposting. We chose it as a starting point for our composting odyssey because, we know it can work, it can work well and we've made it work multiple times. There are numerous pros, but, also a few cons to hotcomposting:

Pros

  • Quick turn around, as quick as 18 days.

  • The high temperature kills off any seeds, reducing the likelihood that your compost will contain any weeds

  • The high temperature kills off most harmful bacterias and pathogens

  • Produces a large amount of compost / fertiliser in once batch

  • Doesn't require any specialist tools or equipment

  • Uses easy to find materials

  • Building a hotcompost pile can be a really great way to get people together, like your neighbours, friends, family or community and to share the compost amongst them.

  • The building of the pile can allow for most people's physical abilities, the fit and able can do the more physical work of lifting and carrying, while the less-able can do the chopping of materials.

  • A great opportunity to get your hands dirty!

  • A great opportunity to tune into the growing process, and the generation of soil / compost.

  • Doesn't take up a lot of "floorspace" in your garden for the amount of compost that it generates

  • The hotcompost pile can take all your foodwaste, and some foodwaste can be added as the pile is turned.

Cons

  • Labour intensive

  • Time commitment- the hot compost pile has to be turned every 2 days for 14 days, so this is quite a commitment in time. The pile also has to be monitored and adjusted, so, there is a level of engagement needed

  • Sourcing all the right types of materials at the right times can be slight logistical challenge to overcome, but a very solvable challenge if there is the willingness to make it work (in fact this could be turned into a positive, as this is a great opportunity to get to know your neighbours and community by asking for fresh grass clippings etc..... a good way to make friends is to mow your neighbours lawns and take the clippings for your hotcompost with you, everyone wins!).

  • The process isn't completely fool proof in the 18 days, but, it will eventually turn into usable compost.

  • If you don't source all your material on your property, then some transporting will be required, this can be tricky if you don't have a vehicle to do this in. Some of the volumes can be quite large, so, a larger vehicle is preferable..... but, again, another opportunity to make friends with your neighbours, maybe they can help out deliver material for you!

In summary, when considering what method you want to use, consider the amount of time, effort, financial outlay, volume of compost, equipment and available compost-able material.

Our next post will detail gathering of materials for our 2 hot compost piles!

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