Monday, April 8, 2019

Hot Compost Update

Hot Composting Always Amazes Me

So I had to do this quick post to share how much progress we have had with the compost pile.  As you may remember, I wrote about how I set up the hot compost pile and have been posting comments about the temperature as it rises. So far, we are up to 140 degrees, almost double what the temperature when we started.  

The other thing that happens with compost piles though that is also amazing to me is how much they shrink.  Remember when our pile started.... 

It looked something like that and we can clearly see that the resulting pile was taller than the pallets.  Here is the same pile today..... 

There are a number of factors at play here, not the least of which is the temperature that you can see below. 

Compost piles cook.  For those of you who have heard this term but may not quite understand it....seriously, cook.  Right now that thermometer is reading 140 degrees on the inside of the pile.  All the beneficial bacteria and micro organisms are busy doing their thing, and in the process, generating a lot of heat.  Many people have tried to find ways to use this amazing heat source.  I have seen people online post about running flexible pipe through it to have a source of free hot water.  Some people use the same concept but with air instead of water and use the resulting air to heat greenhouses and other structures.  Seed starting anyone??  If you could find a way to use this heat, your seeds would get off to a great start.  

There is of course some natural settling that will occur in a pile this size, and as stuff is broken down on the inside of the pile the weight above it will begin to allow the pile to sink, but its amazing to me how far it can fallen in just about a week, and how hot it has gotten already.  We will keep monitoring the temperatures just about daily.  At some point the temperature will be begin to drop back down, indicating usually this early in the process that the interior of the pile has dried out from all the heat, at which point we will turn it over and get it wet again, layer by layer. 

If you are into this sort of thing, there is more information over at our website which you can view here. There is loads of information about gardening, a whole section on animals and composting, and even some ideas about home remodeling!  We'll keep posting here on the blog, and do our best to continue to add more content to the website as well.

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