Is Hot Composting worth it?

Hot composting is a way to create nutrient-rich soil, while also reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills. However, the process is more time-consuming and expensive than traditional methods of composting.

Hot composting is worth it for people with large gardens or yards who want to be able to produce their own fertilizer and for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint.

what is hot compost?

Hot compost is a process whereby materials are collected and broken down to make a product that can be used as fertilizer for plants. Hot composting is typically done with animal manure, grass clippings, food scraps, leaves, paper products, straw, and other organic material.

This type of composting is characterized by being quick and usually being done at elevated temperatures. The heat of the decomposition helps kill most pathogens that would harm plants.

Hot composting is the act of composting in an environment heated to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for rapid decomposition, which increases the microbial activity and speeds up the process of good compost. Hot composting also kill any potential pathogens in the material before they can enter your home.

How can I make my hot compost degrade material faster?

There are many ways to make hot compost degrade material faster. One of the most popular ways is to use soil bacteria, which can be inexpensively purchased at your local garden center.

Soil bacteria

The use of bacteria in hot composting has been an age-old practice, but it is just now being recognized for its full potential.

The best bacteria for composting are the ones that are present in the soil. You can try to purchase this type of bacteria at your local garden center.

The downside is that this type of bacteria is not readily available in some locations. Another option is for you to grow your own bacteria. You can start with a simple starter culture. If you already have bacteria in your soil, you can simply add this type of bacteria to the hot composting process.

Keep piles moist

Some people think that the best way to make a hot compost pile is to keep piles moist. Moisture provides a good environment for microorganisms to survive and reproduce so they can do their work of decomposing the organic matter in the pile. In dry conditions, microorganisms can be killed by a lack of water. Keeping piles moist also helps preserve soil structure as it prevents peat from forming as a result of too much heat.

Put in nitrogen-rich material

In order to make hot compost degrade faster, add nitrogen-rich material such as manure. Nitrogen is an important chemical for producing healthy plants and other life. Adding nitrogen to the compost will also help it to decompose at a faster rate.

Adding more nitrogen-rich material will also reduce the amount of time needed for a compost pile to reach its maximum temperature.

Turn the compost pile regularly

It's easy to make your compost pile degrade faster. Turn the pile regularly and you'll be amazed at how quickly it breaks down, even if the pile is too hot to work with!

Make sure you mix up all of the materials on top, so that heat can dissipate. Reducing heat preserves more nutrients in the compost than letting it break down slowly, but that doesn't mean you should just ignore it. Turning regular will keep everything mixed together and help keep things cool.

Add carbon-rich material

Many of us have seen a pile of the compost dry out and turn into a hard, black mass. This is because the microorganisms that help decompose organic material can't do so in dry conditions.

Adding carbon-rich materials such as shredded cardboard, leaves, or straw will provide the organisms with enough moisture to break down the pile faster. By adding carbon-rich material, the compost will be more likely to reach a state where it is ready for use in gardening or landscaping.

Aerate the pile

Aerated piles of compost can be turned and mixed with air to avoid anaerobic conditions that slow the breakdown of organic waste. Any pile will eventually become anaerobic without aeration but turning and mixing the layers can increase the volume of aerobic compost material in a single pile, reducing the time required for decomposition to take place.

What are the benefits of hot composting?

A cost-effective way to make a nutrient-rich soil amendment

Hot composting is a great way to make a nutrient-rich soil amendment that has many advantages. The process is beneficial for the environment because it produces a soil-nutrient-rich product that is free of pathogens and weed seeds.

Helps reduce landfill waste

A way to reduce landfill waste is through hot composting. Hot composting is a process of decomposing organic material in a controlled environment with the help of aerobic bacteria and fungi.

Hot composting provides numerous benefits such as: providing clean, safe soil for farmers and gardeners, reducing respiratory problems related to methane gas emissions from landfills, reducing the likelihood of water pollution from runoff, preserving nutrients in organic matter which can be reused, and saving energy.

Improve soil drainage

Hot composting helps to increase the amount of water that a soil can absorb and release which means that plants can be watered less frequently.

This is because hot composted soils are very porous when compared cold weather or dry conditions where there will tend more concrete-like effects on these types (though not always) making it take longer than usual before they start absorbing moisture again – this makes them perfect ‘water savers’!

Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from decomposition

Hot composting also reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, as this process does not generate methane gas or carbon dioxide from decomposing organic materials. This process also reduces the wastes going into landfills by recycling them.

Helps control microorganisms in the soil

Hot composting is not just a way to dispose of your kitchen waste. It is also a great way to help control microorganisms in the soil while simultaneously building up the richness and fertility of your garden.

The decomposition process is accelerated by high temperatures and anaerobic conditions, encouraging rapid microbial activity, which will break down organic matter and make it more readily available for plant absorption. This process also creates excellent compost that can be used as a fertilizer for your garden.

Provides replenishing nutrients to plants

Hot composting is a beneficial way to turn organic materials into nutrients for plants.

It does this by breaking down the proteins, fats, starches, and sugars from plant materials as well as the chic acids, oxalic acid, and nitrates from animal manure. However hot-composted material not only has nitrogen but phosphorus too!

What are the Disadvantages of Hot Composting?

It can be smelly

Hot composting can produce an unpleasant smell. This is because the composting process creates a lot of heat, which can cause the organic matter to rot. The smell can be reduced by adding materials that do not produce a lot of odor, such as straw or wood chips.

It can be labor-intensive

Many people think that growing a garden is easy, but in reality, it can be quite labor-intensive. You have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make sure your plants are getting the water and nutrients they need, and you also have to be prepared to deal with pests and diseases. If you're not willing to put in the work, then a garden may not be for you.

it can be difficult to get started with hot composting

Hot composting is a great way to recycle your kitchen scraps and yard waste, but it can be difficult to get started. The key is to create the right environment for the compost pile to heat up.

You need to have a balance of green and brown materials, and the pile should be moist but not wet. You can also add compost activators to help get the process started.

The composting process can produce flies and other insects

This is because the process creates a warm and moist environment that is ideal for fly and insect reproduction. It is important to take steps to prevent flies and other insects from becoming a problem in the compost pile. One way to do this is to make sure that the compost pile is covered. You can also use a composting bin that has a lid.

Hot composting can take up a lot of space

Hot composting can take up a lot of space depending on the size of the bin or pile. If you have a lot of material to compost, it's best to use a large bin or pile.

You can also compost in smaller batches by using a smaller container. However, if your heap gets too big before all materials are used (and especially when temperatures get really high), then consider turning often so as not to waste food scraps unnecessarily; otherwise there could be an imbalance between bacteria present which will lead either rotting foods quickly resulting into foul odors causing pests attracted towards bad smells

Different methods to do hot composting

Composting by bioconversion

One type of composting is done by bioconversion or breaking down organic matter using bacteria and fungi. Composting by bioconversion is a method of making hot compost, through the process of aerobic decomposition.

The heat generated during the process speeds up the decomposition of organic matter, which accelerates the rate that the material breaks down.

Composting by bioconversion is a method of making compost that is done without the use of external heat. 

Running an experiment to test this process with or without external heat was conducted by Daniel Flores, a graduate student in UC Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, and his team. It was found that when running the experiment with external heat, it took more than twice as long to get the same result.

Slow compost

Slow composting is a process of decay that takes place in the absence of oxygen and with little heat. The heat from the compost pile can reach upwards of 140 degrees Fahrenheit as microorganisms break down organic material. Slow composting is a term that refers to anaerobic degradation, or decomposition without air.

Slow composting is a method that uses controlled amounts of moisture to allow the decomposition process to take place, with the end goal of producing rich, well-balanced soil for planting vegetables.

This type of composting is done by covering the materials with leaves or straw and watering it periodically (which is different than adding water during the process).

Hot composting with a tumbler bin

Another way people can do hot composting is by using a tumbler bin. This safe and easy method of composting leaves little work for the user, as everything is contained in one bin. The only additional ingredients needed are water and carbon-rich waste such as shredded paper or leaves to speed up the process.

A tumbler bin is a small, rotating drum that holds composting material. The drum rotates to mix the materials inside, squeezing out excess moisture and maximizing heat.

With hot composting, the temperature of the discarded organic material is raised to 140 degrees Fahrenheit or more to kill weed seeds, insects eggs, and pathogens. Hot composting requires less space than traditional methods because it heats up so quickly.

Pit composting

Pit composting is a way of making compost with a pile surrounded by layers of soil. The pile is heated from the sun and decomposition is sped up by the heat generated from the rotting process. This type of compost is better for plants as it can make use of more nutrients.

It can be done on-site or in an off-site location by digging a pit and filling it with food scraps, yard clippings, and other organic material. Compared to pile composting, pit composting takes less time and the dirt doesn’t need to be turned in as often. The more oxygen that is provided for decomposition, the faster the process will happen.

What not to put in hot compost?

However, many people don't know what not to put in a hot compost. These items include plastics, metal, glass, treated wood, and grease or fat. Grease or fat can actually cause fires in hot piles when things get too dry. You should also avoid the following:

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Fats and oils
  • Herbs and spices
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Non-organic items
  • Paper products
  • Chemicals, including fertilizers and pesticides
  • Dead animals or animal waste
  • Items that are toxic to humans
  • Items that are contaminated with pesticides
  • Items that are contaminated by pet waste
  • Damp newspaper
  • Weedkiller
  • Citrus fruits
  • Eggshells
  • Potatoes
  • Cooked food
  • Sugar

how to build a hot compost pile?

Hot composting can seem intimidating at first, but remember, this is a natural process. If you mess up, you can try again. Keep in mind that there are four elements you want to keep in balance: nitrogen (green stuff), carbon (brown stuff), oxygen (air), and moisture (water).

Choosing a location for your pile

One of the first steps to building a hot compost pile is to choose a location. The best place for a compost pile is on soil; however, this may not always be possible depending on the climate and available land. You can reuse land such as rooftops or fruit orchards for this purpose by following guidelines provided by the USDA.

Your compost pile can be located anywhere that has space, but there are certain factors to consider when choosing the location. For example, the location should be close to your home so you can use it for other needs, such as tending plants or filling potted plants.

The location should also be in an open area so air can circulate, and at least 6 feet away from plants or other combustible materials. You will also need access to water in order to keep the pile moist.

Get some browns, paper, fallen leaves

Add a layer of green material, such as fresh fruit or vegetable scraps. Keep adding layers until the pile is about three feet high and three feet wide. Mix it with fork tines if possible; otherwise use shovel blades so they don't get stuck into each other too much when turning over piles during decomposition.

Turn it every two weeks

Every two weeks, it is recommended that the hot compost pile be turned. This releases heat into the ground and ensures that the decomposition process is still occurring at a fast enough pace to maintain the desired temperature. When turning the pile, make sure to mix it thoroughly with a pitchfork or shovel to ensure that all of the pieces are broken up and exposed to oxygen. Turning also helps prevent any air pockets from forming in the pile.

monitor and maintain your compost

It is important to monitor the progress of your hot compost pile. Composting is an aerobic process, meaning it needs oxygen, moisture, and soil microbes in order to work properly.

The right balance of these three things will result in a finished product that smells pleasantly earthy—not rank. Healthy compost piles should produce heat and turn into a dark brown or black color.

The first step for maintaining your hot compost pile is making sure you keep the contents moist. Once the compost has stopped steaming, it means that it is done and you can move it into its new location. Dry heat will kill all of the bacteria that are an integral part of the process, so even if you have to water down your compost pile, do so sparingly.

Check Temperature

Few people think about how to properly measure the temperature of their compost pile, but it is important for many reasons.

Not only does the pile need to be heated up enough to kill pathogens and weed seeds, but it also needs to be kept at a good temperature throughout the entire process. This is difficult without the use of a thermometer because compost piles heat up and cool down at different rates.

aerate your compost

In order to maintain a healthy compost pile, you should periodically aerate it. This helps to provide oxygen to the organisms living in the pile so they can survive and thrive. If you have a large compost pile, you can use a pitchfork or other long-handled tool to turn it over.

This creates air pockets, which will allow for the better decomposition of organic materials. Another way would be to take a garden hose or sprinkler and water it down generously. You can also turn your compost pile every few weeks with a pitchfork.

is hot composting worth it? FAQ

Can you plant in hot compost?

Many people are unsure of what to do with their hot compost. It is often too hot to make new compost piles and can be difficult to put it on the ground. Some people may wonder if they can plant in it. However, this would not be recommended.

The microbes in the hot compost will help break down organic matter, but will also kill any plants that are placed into it. The best solution is to add the material into another pile that is not as hot. As the compost is tilled into the ground, the microbes will do their work, and the plants can be placed into the compost at any time. The microbes will not harm the plants.

Will hot compost kill worms?

Worms are an integral part of composting, but it may be worth considering whether or not hot compost will kill them. It's important for people to understand the answer to this question before adding too much heat.

Too much heat can make the process ineffective and can even damage the soil over time due to how it kills the life in the soil. What should happen is that worms thrive off of decaying material just below the surface of the ground.

Worms are important for the ecosystem in many ways. They turn organic material by eating it and excreting castings, which are rich in nutrients.

But when it comes to composting, worms are good for the soil only if you use them in an enclosed bin. If you put worms into your compost heap outside, they will die when the temperature reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit or above.

will hot compost kill plants?

Hot compost is a form of organic fertilizer that includes heat and microorganisms to break down materials. Hot compost is not recommended for plants unless it is mixed with soil in the same ratio as cold compost. Composted material can contain weed seeds, so there are both benefits and risks.

why is my hot compost not hot?

Do you have a compost pile that is just not cooking? You might be tempted to add more green, wet materials and turn the pile again, but the problem could be that your compost pile needs more time. The best way to find out for sure is to take a soil temperature reading. As long as the temperature is between 55˚-130˚F.

If your compost pile is not hot enough to cook compost, there are a few things you can do. The first thing is to check the build of your pile. If your pile is too small it might struggle to heat up, if it's too large it might be a struggle for oxygen to reach the colder parts of the pile and that can lead to slow decomposition.

when to turn hot compost pile?

A hot compost pile is typically turned every 1-2 weeks to provide better aeration and more oxygen for microbes. Turning also helps to distribute the composting material. If more than 2 weeks have passed, it is probably time to turn the pile before it cools down.

The interval of time might seem like a long time, but this process will break down and kill any pathogens that it comes into contact with. Turning the pile also exposes all of the material on the inside of the pile to oxygen and encourages aerobic composting- which is beneficial for overall composting effectiveness.

Do I need to cover my hot compost pile?

Just as you cover your garden vegetables to keep them warm and moist, you may need to cover your hot compost pile to keep it well insulated. While the pile should reach 140°F by natural decomposition, you can help it along by turning the layer on top-down deep into the pile, adding water and new materials every day, and keeping the pile moist.

There are benefits to both covering and not covering compost piles. A cover will trap air, moisture, and heat to help turn the pile faster. The downside is that it can also trap odors. Not using a cover could allow for weed growth or anaerobic conditions which are possible with wet or moist piles.

Is hot composting worth it? Conclusion

It is worth it to compost your food scraps. Hot composting is the best option, as it does not release any methane gas, but only heat and carbon dioxide. This process also creates nutrient-rich soil that can be used to grow plants.

It not only saves you time and money, but it also reduces your carbon footprint and supports the local ecosystem. There is no better feeling than pulling up a handful of rich, black soil from your backyard to grow food for yourself and your family.

How to compost at home?