Anne’s Patch: We’ve got the ‘Ferrari’ of the compost bin world!

7 May 2019

It’s looking lively! May is when it all really starts to kick off down at the allotment, writes Calverley allotmenteer Anne Akers.

The potatoes, onions, leeks and shallots planted over the past couple of months are pushing through, as are peas, beans and beetroot.

Gooseberry bushes have little teeny tiny fruit and raspberry canes, strawberry and blackberry plants are looking lively. We shall not mention the weeds, which are also getting a look-in, though their days are numbered.

I’ve been busy in the greenhouse back home, potting on, which means separating seedlings which have germinated and giving them their own personal pot.

Cabbage, calabrese, sprouts and butternut squash are currently hardening off in their new pots, I don’t have a cold frame, so I put them outside during the day and take them back into the greenhouse at night to get used to the temperatures for a few days. Even now, there is the risk of frost, which can see off delicate seedlings.

I do like to re-use plastic pots and trays whenever I can, they are not prime candidates for re-cycling, especially the black ones, so they just end up in landfill.

Plus, being a Yorkshire lass, I’m not going to fork out for new ones just because they are shiny and pretty – they all get dirty anyway!

allotment yoghurt pots

Recycling with large yoghurt pots. Photo: Anne Akers

Large yoghurt pots are ideal for my tomatoes and cucumber, plus they have handles so are easier to carry. Four-litre milk cartons can be cut down to provide pots for the squash, with the top used to keep nets off the crops, canes handily slot into the handle.

I also took the plunge and bought a Hotbin – ‘the Ferrari of the Compost Bin World’, which is the only Ferrari I’ll ever own.

It’s expensive, from £160, but it composts pretty much anything, including food, bones, perennial weeds, diseased leaves and the contents of the cat litter tray at temperatures of up to 70C.

I’ve put it in the garden at home where I can keep an eye on it. Plus the cats can sit on the top and keep warm, which they are always up for, they make their own little compost heaps in the garden which I can’t really complain about as they avoid messing the neighbours’ gardens.

The Hotbin is the size of a wheelie bin, made from black polypropylene, which helps cook the contents. It promises compost as quickly as 30 days, though I’m using the slower option as I don’t have that much waste.

It will eventually pay for itself with rather fine compost a few times a year, and I’m glad I’m putting less and less in the refuse bin.

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