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applestar
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104ºF ! --> 105ºF --> 110ºF !! --> 119ºF !!!

:clap: My compost is cooking at 104ºF :clap:

You'll have to excuse my excitement, my compost piles have always been lukewarm at best, so, in an ambient temp of 68ºF, this is progress. :wink:
Last edited by applestar on Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:19 am, edited 4 times in total.

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rainbowgardener
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hot compost!

Yay!!! What did you measure it with? When I turned my compost over last weekend, it was steaming, but I didn't measure it. But that's unusual for me, my compost also usually runs warmish but not hot.

It's been a good year for that. I think the lesson for me is I probably need to water my compost a little more often than I have. This year I hardly watered it at all, but that's because we had rain, rain, rain, so the pile never dried out.

It probably helped that last fall I brought home all those bags of other people's leaves so I kept a better balance of brown and green...

What do you think made yours heat up more than usual?

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applestar
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A couple of years ago, we received 2 Meat Fork/Grilling Thermometer for gifts from different people or for different occasions -- I forget which. DH is a throw on the grill and flip on the plate when they look/smell done kinda guy so both of them had been buried in the kitchen cabinets. I decided if we're not using them for cooking food, I might as well use one for cooking compost. :wink:

Let's see, I definitely see the extra watering/rain as a factor. I have also been regularly (about once a week or 2 wks) adding drowned weeds per HG's recommendation. All of this has meant that I have been doing complete pile turns more often since the drowned weeds mat together and also has a strong odor, necessitating even distribution through the pile. Then this last pile turning, I added the straw layers, feeling the pile was getting too green.

I've also gone to 3 bin system (1 commercial plastic bin, 2 open sided stick pile bins) which is making life much much easier as far as compost pile turning is concerned. Right now, the covered plastic bin is keeping the remaining bale of straw dry. :cool:

I have to add that last couple of years, I was recovering from a badly wrenched shoulder, and I've always had severe allergy problems during the height of the summer. This year, I'm happy to say I'm much healthier and stronger. :D I've been weeding more and doing more in the garden so there has been more green ingredients going into the pile as well.

GeorgiaGirl
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Awesome! I've been so excited to feel heat radiating from my pile... I need to get a compost thermometer so I can quantify it too. Yippee for steaming piles!! :D
Julia in Georgia

rot
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good for you

..
Yes, there is something definitely rewarding when the bins or piles get meaningful temperatures. I definitely have less interest once they go cold.

Enjoy
..

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applestar
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105ºF !!!

DH and the kids had some blueclaws Fri/Sat so I've put the shells and remains in the compost.
Now it's cooking at 105ºF :D I'm hoping for the Lobster Compost effect that HG mentioned before. (I'll dig up that thread and link it when I get the chance).

Actually I found 2 threads. This is the one I was thinking about:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=67347&sid=df6af3797cef19c0bc53ef79b49c7c1a
The Helpful Gardener wrote:The principle there is shrimp shells are chitin, and using shrimp or crab or lobster is to introduce chitin eating bacteria, who chew holes in insects and nematodes, allowing other bacteria to finish them. That's Nature's way...

Great additive to compost for just that reason and the one animal product I don't mind putting in the compost (give them a spin in the food processor first and you won't even know they are there...
And here's another:
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7380
Last edited by applestar on Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

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applestar
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The compost heated up to 109/110ºF on Wed morning! The thermometer only flashed 110ºF then went back down to 109ºF. But I'm sticking with that temp anyway! :lol: :wink:

Today, it's down to 104ºF. Funny how that number no longer holds any sense of satisfaction.... :roll:

I plan on giving it a full turn again tomorrow. 8)

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kimbledawn
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Congrats are in order! :D I know my compost isn't cooking that good but yesterday I did see steam. 8) I am just so glad that I can add things to my compost and then I can't find them. All I see are all my little friends eating their hearts out. :)
"Organic gardeners always know the best DIRT!"

cynthia_h
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Way to go!!! :D

Cynthia, on a drive-by

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applestar
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Thank you, all, for the encouraging words! :() Here's an update:

(Not trying to compete with you or anything TDB but !! ) Today, my compost pile hit the all time high of 119ºF

Yesterday, when I rebuilt the pile with more kitchen scraps, etc. the pile was steaming towards the bottom -- first time I've seen my compost pile steaming in the Summer time. I'm guessing Friday's grass clippings were helping too. Ambient temp was 76ºF. Here's the way it looked after the re-build, with the grass clippings mixed and distributed throughout the pile. The bin to the right contains almost finished compost, covered with a saucer sled and mulched with fresh straw. I decided to snug this pile next to the steamin'-hot new pile to take advantage of the heat and also to allow earthworm migration between the piles.

I gave the new pile some AACT as a reward today. :wink:

[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image5277.jpg[/img]
Last edited by applestar on Mon Sep 07, 2009 10:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

a0c8c
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I don't know whats up with mine, but in 100 degree temp my pile still stays cool :( I've got browns and greens and table scraps and bugs and just about everything. Someday soon I'll get mine to your temps.

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applestar
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a0c8c, like Rainbowgardener and I commented above, I think keeping the pile sufficiently watered has made a difference in keeping the pile active. Also, do try the drowned weeds. You end up destroying weeds that may regrow from roots or seeds, creating a nutrient-rich broth for the compost pile, AND adding the drowned soggy greens to the pile.

My pile has been getting the bi-monthly drowned weeds/water all summer and dregs of AACT (probably twice a month as well). Also, for the past month, DH has been eating a lot of blueclaw crabs (crab remains) and we've all been eating a lot of corn (husks and cobs). It's meant a regular full turn (about 2X/week) for the compost pile since crab remains HAVE to be buried deep.

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gixxerific
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I just can't seem to get mine hot. you have a good setup there seem to be working well for you.

a0c8c
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I'm thining I need to dig up all the grass I just added recently and drown them. I think it might be growing still. Hopefully I'll get my temps up like yours one thats done.

top_dollar_bread
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A_S
Looks like things are really heating up, keep up the good work!!, and I see nothing wrong with a little competition on heating compost. Its all for the better good, our garden! :wink:

rot
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for hot compost

..
Hot compost takes more work. I'm lazy so it's plus when I get hot temperatures.

Turn to put air into it. One theoretical optimum was every 4 to 5 days.

Watch the moisture. A hot pile is thirsty. Add a little water each day if you're in a dry climate. Keep it out of the sun and the wind.

The other thing is the mix. Getting the right mix of browns and greens makes a difference. I work with what's on hand so I can't necessarily worry about that. Blend ingredients well.

For speed, monitor the temperature. Once the temperature starts to drop for a day or two, turn it again. As you turn look at what you have and add moisture as required.

If it's too moist turn it again and help things dry - a little. If it's dry, add some moisture as you turn.

When turning, mix the inside out and outside in.

It's a function of surface area so larger bits are going to take longer. Finely ground stuff, like coffee grounds, smother. Again, blend well.

Eventually it will cool down so don't just keep adding stuff. The longer you add stuff the longer it will take to finish. Best to start off with a pile or bin assembled all at once. Easier said than done for me.

I like the high temperatures for killing off weed seeds and pathogens. No stress if I don't get the temperatures. It just takes longer to finish. Any seeds that make it through come out easy in composted soil. The worms will kill the pathogens if you let it go long enough.

two cents
..

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