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Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

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Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

Post  bvarbel on 4/10/2013, 12:37 am

Since end of last fall I've been collecting leaves and kitchen waste. I noticed the compost I turn weekly has been developing, but I never noticed it heat up.

Now that yards are being mowed, I have been able to get a lot of grass. I noticed today for the first time since I started that the pile was hot! Is this a coincidence?

How long will it stay hot, and is it ok to turn the pile weekly and disturb the furnace?
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Re: Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

Post  Coelli on 4/10/2013, 12:41 am

@bvarbel wrote:Now that yards are being mowed, I have been able to get a lot of grass. I noticed today for the first time since I started that the pile was hot! Is this a coincidence?

How long will it stay hot, and is it ok to turn the pile weekly and disturb the furnace?

It's not coincidence - grass clippings are high in nitrogen, to balance out all of the carbon (leaves) you have in there. Smile I don't have any grass so I have been using alfalfa pellets from the feed store. Same principle.

It will stay hot as long as there is nitrogen to fuel the microbes in there that are decomposing everything. I have a tumbler, not a pile, but I don't turn it until it starts to cool off - turning it more frequently seems to make it lose some of its oomph! I use a thermometer to monitor it. Right now one chamber is finishing up and it's only around 80 degrees; the other side just got a bunch of stuff piled into it, so it was 140 degrees yesterday and 130 today!

If you have an e-reader, this book is free. I'm almost done with it and have learned a TON from it - much more than you'd think from a book about compost. It's pretty fascinating. The author is the founder of the Territorial Seed Company.

http://www.amazon.com/Organic-Gardeners-Composting-ebook/dp/B004TS8ZFG
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Re: Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

Post  camprn on 4/10/2013, 5:59 am

Yes it's true. Check out the Composting sub forum and all the stickies there. Also the threads 'Composting 101' and 'Are you a Hottie'

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Re: Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

Post  bnoles on 4/10/2013, 7:45 am

Thanks for the link Coelli, I love Kindle books, especially free ones.

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Re: Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

Post  bvarbel on 4/10/2013, 1:59 pm

Thanks for that book recommendation. Also thanks for pointing me toward links. I'm just very happy that all winter without grass, my pile was slow moving, and now with grass its really doing something.

Brian...
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Re: Is it true that grass helps the pile heat up?

Post  Lindacol on 4/10/2013, 2:27 pm

Can you find out if the grass you are getting the clippings from has been treated with herbicides or insecticides? That would be my main concern.
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