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Rebuilding a Compost Pile

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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/4/2012, 5:23 pm

@camprn wrote:It is really hard to have too many coffee grounds. I put in many pounds of used coffee grounds into my compost pile, but I have a lot of other stuff in there as well. My suggestion, don't sweat it. What a Face

Like I've always said, there's a science behind compost but it's not an exact science to have one going.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/4/2012, 8:26 pm

Unfortunately I was just kidding about using my wife's digital thermometer with cord. I will find something else but many seemed to like the probe idea and some are actually using them!!!

Perhaps I need to re-think the thermometer I need.

Now I have read many posts about adding manure, rabbit food, etc tostart the pile heating up. What about the compost stimulants you can buy? Do they work?
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/4/2012, 8:33 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:Unfortunately I was just kidding about using my wife's digital thermometer with cord. I will find something else but many seemed to like the probe idea and some are actually using them!!!

Perhaps I need to re-think the thermometer I need.

Now I have read many posts about adding manure, rabbit food, etc tostart the pile heating up. What about the compost stimulants you can buy? Do they work?

A compost starter isn't necessary if you have the proper mix of ingredients. If you need to give the compost a boost(like after several months of inactivity) then you can use things like dried blood, rabbit food, manure, etc
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/5/2012, 7:32 am

[quote="Too Tall Tomatoes"

A compost starter isn't necessary if you have the proper mix of ingredients. If you need to give the compost a boost(like after several months of inactivity) then you can use things like dried blood, rabbit food, manure, etc[/quote]



I kinda thought that a compost accelerator might have been a salesmans pitch as I have read a lot on this thread about using so natural ingredients as you mentioned to get the pile "working".

Today my mission, after work, is to pick up a manure fork and thermometer. The manure fork they have at Home Depot but thermometer is hard to find. Perhaps I will stop by Agway as they have odd stuff some times but there website has a lot to desire.



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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 7:49 am

@floyd1440 wrote:
Today my mission, after work, is to pick up a manure fork and thermometer. The manure fork they have at Home Depot but thermometer is hard to find. Perhaps I will stop by Agway as they have odd stuff some times but there website has a lot to desire.




If you have a restaurant supply store nearby, stop in there and get yourself a food thermometer. Make sure the length of the probe is 18 inches. Don't get a deep-fryer thermometer though. The lowest temperature reading on those wouldn't be low enough for compost temperatures. Make sure it has a wide range.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  1airdoc on 4/5/2012, 8:10 am

I found one of those thermometers at Walmart for only $5. Might be cheaper than a food supply store.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 8:30 am

@1airdoc wrote:I found one of those thermometers at Walmart for only $5. Might be cheaper than a food supply store.

I forgot about Walmart.

Definitely cheaper than a food supply store. They usually have an awesome selection of everything you could possibly use in a kitchen but they're not cheap.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Turan on 4/5/2012, 1:36 pm

This looks like the proper spot to register my delight at last of gettinghte compost pile awake and steaming! It is snowing and the pile is steaming. I tossed it a couple days ago and added chicken coop cleanings. Laughing
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 2:03 pm

@Turan wrote:This looks like the proper spot to register my delight at last of gettinghte compost pile awake and steaming! It is snowing and the pile is steaming. I tossed it a couple days ago and added chicken coop cleanings. Laughing

Congratulations!

Isn't it funny? Getting all happy because the compost pile is cooking away.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/5/2012, 2:16 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@Turan wrote:This looks like the proper spot to register my delight at last of gettinghte compost pile awake and steaming! It is snowing and the pile is steaming. I tossed it a couple days ago and added chicken coop cleanings. Laughing

Congratulations!

Isn't it funny? Getting all happy because the compost pile is cooking away.



Thanks for the info about were to purchase a thermometer.....they didn't have anything at Agway but they are having a class on composting next Saturday which I plan to attend.

I did get a manure fork and decide to turn my pile around. And believe it or not after only 3 days it was hot and steaming in the middle!!! Guess must be doing something right. I had packed down a little bit so I figured move it around. Maybe I should do it every time it gets smaller.

Somewere I read turning the pile helps airate the pile and helps the decomposing process..



cheers
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 3:54 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@Turan wrote:This looks like the proper spot to register my delight at last of gettinghte compost pile awake and steaming! It is snowing and the pile is steaming. I tossed it a couple days ago and added chicken coop cleanings. Laughing

Congratulations!

Isn't it funny? Getting all happy because the compost pile is cooking away.



Thanks for the info about were to purchase a thermometer.....they didn't have anything at Agway but they are having a class on composting next Saturday which I plan to attend.

I did get a manure fork and decide to turn my pile around. And believe it or not after only 3 days it was hot and steaming in the middle!!! Guess must be doing something right. I had packed down a little bit so I figured move it around. Maybe I should do it every time it gets smaller.

Somewere I read turning the pile helps airate the pile and helps the decomposing process..



cheers

Isn't that so awesome to see steam coming from compost?? Congratulations on that! You are doing something right. You are right....turning the pile helps aerate it. That's one of the key things to do for successful composting. You never want it to be compact.

Tuesday evening, my compost was at 102F. This morning, it was still at 102F, so I turned it and I won't have to do it again. It actually smells very earthy. It will definitely be done at the end of this month. After that, I'll sift it and let it sit till the first or second week in May and I'll fill my boxes(which I'm building on Saturday)

Looks my hard work will pay off. What a Face
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/5/2012, 5:03 pm









Here are the pictures I said I would post of my filled bin. Not a perfect bin but I had a little incline to deal with but as long as it works, no use to complain to much.

I will get a thermometer this weekend and Walmart seems like the place to go. A little disturbed that Agway does not carry any composting material and when I asked if they would be getting the coarse vermiculite, they said only the medium grade. It would be nice if they would carry the coarse and the cashier did not know why but the manager would be in for the compost class on the 14th that I will attend.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 5:07 pm

That looks good floyd....really good!
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  plantoid on 4/5/2012, 7:07 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:I like that copper tube trick. What a Face

I would keep it and the temperature probe in my pile at all times.



As I have seven large composting bins in use I'd be stuck for finding a favourite in which to leave it without making the rest feel unwanted Wink



Once I know the bin temp is on the rise ( usually by day three) I don't bother with again till the third turn over about 16 days later , plus I can't leave it there as it is not water proof / damp proof .

I also use the thermometer in the glasshouse and in the office cum potting shed as it has a max & min facility .
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/5/2012, 7:22 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:That looks good floyd....really good!

Well I followed your instructions so you get a lot of the credit. The size is easy to manage for my time schedule and with the weather getting warmer I hope it composts quicker and also do not have to get dress up in warm clothes as in the winter.

How often do you turn it when it gets warmer?
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 7:31 pm

@plantoid wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:I like that copper tube trick. What a Face

I would keep it and the temperature probe in my pile at all times.



As
I have seven large composting bins in use I'd be stuck for finding a
favourite in which to leave it without making the rest feel unwanted Wink

Seven composting bins??? Holy Cow that's alot! affraid

How do you keep up with them all???


@floyd1440 wrote:
@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:That looks good floyd....really good!

Well I followed your instructions so you get a lot of the credit. The size is easy to manage for my time schedule and with the weather getting warmer I hope it composts quicker and also do not have to get dress up in warm clothes as in the winter.

How often do you turn it when it gets warmer?

Honestly, I have no idea how often the compost needs to be turned in warm weather because I only really built a compost pile late last fall/early winter. I know compost will definitely cook quicker once the summer hits. I'm anxious to see how quickly I can turn out useable compost.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/5/2012, 7:45 pm

Since this is my first time I think it is necessary to get a thermometer. Maybe when it reaches a certain temp I will know when to turn the pile.

It would make sense that the warmer it is the faster it should compost. But I could be wrong however from some of the thread I have read it sounds like the warmer it gets, the better for making compost

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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/5/2012, 7:58 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:Since this is my first time I think it is necessary to get a thermometer. Maybe when it reaches a certain temp I will know when to turn the pile.

It would make sense that the warmer it is the faster it should compost. But I could be wrong however from some of the thread I have read it sounds like the warmer it gets, the better for making compost


By the way, when I went out to turn my compost for the final time, I noticed that it's about 2/3 the size it was when I restarted it at the beginning of March. Some time over the weekend, I'll post side by side pictures and you'll see how much it cooked down.

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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/6/2012, 8:25 pm

I am looking forward to seeing your pictures of you pile. I started mine around April 1 and will get an idea of the temperature tomorrow.

Am at a disadvantage not having a way to determine the internal temp of my pile and will get one tomorrow and perhaps a copper tube to extend it into the center of the pile.

I will turn it again the first of next week, that will make it seven days from the last day I turned it, depending on the temp

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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  camprn on 4/6/2012, 9:09 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:
Am at a disadvantage not having a way to determine the internal temp of my pile and will get one tomorrow and perhaps a copper tube to extend it into the center of the pile.
Hey Floyd, I just dig a hole in the center, down until it feels really
hot, then I stick the thermometer with the 4 inch probe in.... low tech
but it works.

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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/6/2012, 11:27 pm

@floyd1440 wrote:I am looking forward to seeing your pictures of you pile. I started mine around April 1 and will get an idea of the temperature tomorrow.

Am at a disadvantage not having a way to determine the internal temp of my pile and will get one tomorrow and perhaps a copper tube to extend it into the center of the pile.

I will turn it again the first of next week, that will make it seven days from the last day I turned it, depending on the temp



If the temperature is in the "hot" range, I would wait to turn it when it goes down to around 115F to 120F
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  camprn on 4/7/2012, 6:56 am

Hey Floyd, your local library has a few good books about Composting.

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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/7/2012, 8:55 am

Thanks Camp...my wife seems to know more about this as I do as she is constantly reading stuff online and is looking forward to attending a compost seminar @ Agway next Saturday and she is suggesting another bin to be added.

Checked online at Walmart and most guages top out @120 degrees..surely they have some that go higher.
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  Too Tall Tomatoes on 4/7/2012, 10:00 am

@floyd1440 wrote:
Checked online at Walmart and most guages top out @120 degrees..surely they have some that go higher.

That might be 120C. That'll be 248F
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Re: Rebuilding a Compost Pile

Post  floyd1440 on 4/7/2012, 4:28 pm

@Too Tall Tomatoes wrote:
@floyd1440 wrote:
Checked online at Walmart and most guages top out @120 degrees..surely they have some that go higher.

That might be 120C. That'll be 248F

I got a meat thermometer and tried a two foot copper tube extension. Flattened the one end but after sticking it in the pile the temperature did not go up very much. I will try it tomorrow after a few adjustments.

Pulled the pile halve way back and took the temp..it was over 130F so I turned it again.

Tomorrow I will add a second bin beside the other for my kitchen food scraps and freshly cut grass and some old leaves. It will be smaller though but putting against the other means I will only need three side and I have 12 feet of galvanized fabric left; I should only need 9-10 feet leaving me enough for a screen to filter my finished compost.



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