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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:18 am 
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So how hot will compost piles get?
What temps have ya'll measured in your pile?

Is there a majic temp. I should look for, that lets me know my compost pile is cooking superbly!!!

Thanks,

I'm starting to feel some good heat in my first pile...very interesting!!!!

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:26 am 
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I don't measure the temp of my compost pile. When I am outside I put my hand on top of the stack to see if there is heat coming out. If not, then it is time to turn the pile into the other bin. When I turn it I layer with dried molasses (sp) fresh cut grass, sea weed, water and existing compost. It heats up with in an hour.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 11:57 am 
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190 degrees, wow!

Bluestem, do you use the temp as a guage to determine ratio of brown/n2? Or as long as you're getting some good heat, thats good enough?

I was wondering if the ratio of brown/n2 derectly effects the temp...
say adding more green n2 material would cause the pile to cook hotter.

I guess the size of the pile also has an effect on temp, like how you reached 190 degrees.

Thanks,

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 3:51 pm 
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I have access to free salt water seaweed at any time. I thought the salt on it would harm rather than help. I can see where it would add moisture tho.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2003 7:41 pm 
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dave St Pete,
You are right about the salt in the sea weed. What I plan on doing is adding epsom salt when I till the compost into the garden this fall. The epsom salt has helped with the oleander bushes, at my place on Galveston Island, after the last tropical storm, when the west end was flooded with sea water. Once the epsom salt was applied around the plants, they started growing like crazy. I think that it wil also help neutralize the sea salt in the garden. I guess I will find out next spring.
I am to lazy to add the epsom to the compost.
The last time I turned my compost. to add the sea weed, I had to use gloves because it was to hot to handle. So yes, It gets very hot, depending on the ingredients you add to the pile. I, like the others truly believe in compost as a fertilizer. As far as I am concerned, it is the best!!
I am not stepping off my soap box until next time.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 12:08 pm 
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I believe the industry requires 120 degrees minimum to call it hot compost. 190 is not unusual in huge commercial piles but it very unusual in homeowner piles. That usually takes an extremely heavy and sudden dose of sugar in a high nitrogen pile to get that.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 13, 2003 8:41 pm 
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Getting temps above 170 degrees too long is not good for lot of diversity of microbes in a compost pile. Most high thermal and room temperature microbes die off and cook themselves above this temperature. Also unless you constantly aerated your pile, a compost pile can go temporarily anaerobic above these temperatures.

To get more fungi and actinomycetes and other diverse microbes in your compost to grow and thrive, you got to let the pile cool off at lower temperatures, at least around 80-90 degrees.

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 Post subject: 155 degrees
PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2003 10:55 pm 
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This is so awesome!!! :D

Gar, yesterday I layerd my compost pile like you said after I mowed...
I layered 4x with grass, alfalfa meal, dried molasses, composting leaves, then watered each layer. Piles about 4ft tall.

I borrowed my wifes candy thermometer today to check the comost temp...the pile was burning my hand while placing the thermometer down into pile & when I pulled termometer out 15 min. later, it read 155 degrees. I couldn't believe it. :D

CaptainCompost, have you ever cooked anything in a compost pile before?
Say, wrap a half of chicken or a piece of fish in foil & placed in the middle of a compost pile...sorry, I'm just amazed @ the amount of heat generated from my compost pile. :)

Thanks for the info, & all the great replies.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 5:45 am 
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leeharrisz7b

Glad to hear that the combination is working for you. This morning I checked the top of the stack to see if there is any heat coming out and it is nice and hot. I turned my compost last night, as I cut the grass and this morning it has gone down about 6 - 8 inches. Those little critters sure work fast.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 10:07 am 
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Hey Leeharrisz7b, you know I have thought about how cool it would be to cook human meals in a natural "geo-oven" like a mega hot compost pile!

By the way, I had a discussion with a soil micobe expert on salmonella and e-coli virus. He said that merely cooking these microbes in temps above 140-150 degrees, will kill them off. So that means our hot piles should never have these diseases spread to our gardens, even though the unlearned media tries to say that compost can spread diseases to soil!

The real truth is that, not only is well made hot compost steriled and safe, but well manged, heavily composted, organic soil, plus lots of aerated compost tea recipes, also guarantees no salmonella, e-coli, or any other bad diseases in our soils from potentially bad stuff that may existed in our compostable materials.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2003 3:06 pm 
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Our local composting guru, Malcolm Beck at Garden-Ville, cooked a Thanksgiving turkey a couple years ago.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 7:27 am 
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Can you imagine, that would be a nice treat for the thanksgiving guests...pull a turkey out of the compost pile for thanksgiving dinner. :lol:

I'll have to try cooking something, slow roast at 150 to 170 degrees.

Question: Is the end result of compost allways the same, as far as npk, minerals, etc., or can you add a wide range of things to the compost pile to increase the npk, & minerals, in the compost? Like adding horse manure to the compost pile, do you get an added benefit by adding horse manure? What does horse manure actually add to the compost, does it increase npk, & minerals?

Thanks,

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2003 9:09 am 
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Leeharrisz7b, the answer to your question about mature compost is, NO.
All mature composts are not created equal. Some compost are more richer in nitrogen and aerobic bacteria from using lots of animal manures. While leaf molds and high wood sawdust composts are more richer in potassium and phosphorus and fungi.

One thing you have to keep in mind about composting. As compost ages and continues to keep breaking down over months and years into more stable humus, it will become more and more carboneous, and more and more of its total nutrients will be transferred into the living anatomy cell membranes of microbial bodies.

Microbial bodies are actually little plant fertilizers! I read in the book "The Biological Farmer" from the Acres USA magazine company, that the cell membranes of beneficial soil microbes are the equivalent of a synthetic 10-5-2 fertilizer, plus tons of trace elements or micronutrients!

So it really does matter how rich or weak your compost is, or what ingredients you used to get it to mature compost. Compost is really designed to be a source of humus and soil microbes for your soil and plants. For extra available soluble nutrients for growing plants, you still need natural fertilizers.

My favorite of course if homemade creative aerated compost tea recipes. That way I get maximium microbial activity and growth, maximum plant fertilization, and maximum soil building and health.

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