From the Comox Valley Echo, Tuesday 5 November 2013, Ask a Pro
What is the difference between hot and cold composting?
The hot compost method takes some effort. You need enough biomass with a fairly precise carbon to nitrogen ratio. The temperature climbs to about 60 C (140 F) and kills most seeds. The pile needs to be aerated regularly, every day or two during the hot stage, and moisture levels maintained. Commercial and municipal facilities take advantage of hot composting systems and may aerate and mix continuously. You won’t see worms here, just thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria. The hot stage may be finished in as little as 10 days but needs to cure for at least another two weeks before you can call it compost.
By contrast, passive composting takes almost no work – toss in the materials as you gather them, then sit back and wait. Let the worms and microbes do the heavy lifting! This is what most backyard composters do. The finished product takes from 6 to 24 months. Cold composting does not lose as much nitrogen, there is a greater diversity of soil life and you get to be lazy. Hot or cold, the Speedibin rodent proof composter is ideal. And you will be growing your own soil!