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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 11:25 am 
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Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 10:27 am
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Location: peaster, tx
We are new to this and not sure about our compost pile. What does a "hot" compost mean and how do you accomplish this? We started with a base of alfalfa hay and manure. We add veggie scraps and pine shavings(along with chicken droppings!) from our chicken house to the mix. We mulch our lawns when we mow so we don't really have any clippings or leaves. We have access to lots of manure (thanks to the chickens and our longhorns) but not sure how much to keep adding. Any help would be appreciated.


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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2004 2:28 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 4:52 pm
Posts: 147
Location: Dallas,TEXAS
A "hot" compost pile is literally that - hot. A compost pile with very active microbial action will generate a fair amount of heat. It is this microbial action that breaks down the organic mix of stuff - and does its magic.
There are certain things that I can put into my compost pile when I want to kick-start it..I found out this year that the pollen-y flowers from oak trees are real compost igniters! So is newly cut grass. Things with a light texture and a relatively high carbohydrate content are good starters - like dried molasses, cut comfrey (a herb), and fresh cut green anything. There needs to be a mix of the "green" (higher nitrogen) and the "brown" (higher carbon) for proper pile, but I am not sure what a good pile is! When a compost pile "cooks" you can feel the heat with your hand...or you can actually see steam on cool mornings.
Vegetable scraps are good starters...but we need the brown things - like dried leaves - to add texture and tilth to the dirt.
A hot pile will kill some weed seeds...and will turn into compost more quickly. But a slow-rot pile will turn into compost just as well - it just takes longer!
I believe that our own Captain Compostal said it all when he told us that he hollered out in joy "I've got steam!" when he turned a compost pile in the wintertime!


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PostPosted: Wed May 05, 2004 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 10:27 am
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Location: peaster, tx
Thanks drchelo - My question was almost the answer - but you explained it well - thanks again


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 7:34 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2003 8:15 am
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Location: Odenville,Alabama
On a bad day, the internal temperatures of my compost stockpiles gets over 140 degrees F easily, even during the coldest winter months in my town. My hottest piles got over 170 degrees F for a few days. My hot piles get ready in 1-2 months easily, even during winter. Cooler piles can take 6-12 months or longer based on the ingredients and the way you pile it up your greens and browns.

If you compost only browns like leaves or straw, you'll never see a hot pile with temps this high. However, cooler piles tend to grow a different collection of fungi and other beneficial aerobic macrobes (like earthworms) that can't grow and survive in a super hot active composting system, until it cools down and gets ready to be used, or after it's applied to your garden or lawn.

All composting methods are good, no matter what method you choose.

_________________
The entire Kingdom of God can be totally explained as an Organic Garden (Mark 4:26)
William Cureton


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PostPosted: Thu May 06, 2004 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
Posts: 747
Location: Garland, Texas
CaptainCompostAL wrote:
All composting methods are good, no matter what method you choose.


Great answer Captain!

Early on in the ferverish excitement as a newbie composter, I went out and bought a compost thermometer. Years later, I just can't get excited about the temperature. I just enjoy seeing the pile get large, and then the pile get small. Seeing pounds upon pounds of kitchen waste going in and days later not being able to find anything recognizable when I add more. Bonuses include knowing that I do not add those waste into our local landfill, and seeing nice fat happy worms (though I'd love to see more worms) crawling about. Where did I last see that compost thermometer?

Compost Happens

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Keeping it clean and green here, Boss.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 7:36 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 09, 2003 11:17 am
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
Care to sell that compost thermometer, Mr Clean? :D

~Dave [the newb composter]


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PostPosted: Fri May 07, 2004 1:18 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 27, 2003 10:51 pm
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Location: Garland, Texas
dcluck,

I'll believe that it would be cheaper and more convenient for you to just buy one from a commercial venture. Mine is called a NO-WAIT Compost Thermometer from Security Products Company.

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Keeping it clean and green here, Boss.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


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