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Too Hot for Composting???

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Too Hot for Composting???

Post  rwharris311 on 4/18/2013, 3:14 am

Hi, Everyone

I am new to SFG and this is my first post. I am building composters from 55 gallon black plastic barrels that will be rotated daily. The most convenient location for me is located in direct southern sun (eastern North Carolina). That black plastic really soaks up the sun's heat. I put my hand on one of the empty drums today at it was HOT. I am wondering if it is possible that my setup might get so hot as to destroy the microbes that do the composting. On the other hand, I have read that heat, around 150 degrees, is essential to the composting process. Do I need to seek a cooler (shaded) location for my composting or proceed where I am now located? Thank you for any input.

rwharris311
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Re: Too Hot for Composting???

Post  camprn on 4/18/2013, 6:45 am

Hi rwh, Welcome to the SFG Forum. I thing the best advice I can give you is, go to this link and learn all about compost and composting.

http://compost.css.cornell.edu/

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Re: Too Hot for Composting???

Post  plantoid on 4/18/2013, 9:40 am

Have you taken a temperature reading of the material inside the barrels /
A light spray with a hose pipe could cool things if a bit to warm but with excessive heat I'd make a simple canopy out of a white sheet and compost the cycle out , then move things in to shade when empty .
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Thank You All

Post  rwharris311 on 4/18/2013, 10:18 am

Many thanks to those who have replied to my post. I have checked out the Cornell site and it is excellent. The white sheet suggestion is excellent as well.

For the time being, I think that I will leave my drums mobile rather than mounting them on a frame for rotation. The drums can easily be rotated by hand (foot). In that way, I can move them around and experiment.

I think what I will do, is get a kitchen thermometer that reads in the 100-200 degree range and fasten the probe to a dowel. Using that, I will be able to monitor the temperature in various regions of the barrel and find out just exactly how much effect the ambient sunshine is having.

Again, thanks to all. I will repost once I have done some work to let everyone know how this works out.
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Re: Too Hot for Composting???

Post  plantoid on 4/18/2013, 2:30 pm

If you can .. Perhaps see if you can get a copper tube that the probe fits into about three feet long . Flatten one end slip the probe inside and push the copper tube in the compost , as it is copper it will transfer the heat in the pile evenly along the tube and give you a more acurate reading .
Plus you don't get your ears bent for using the oven thermometer . Laughing

If your probe is too big or not the lead is long enough there are numerous moisture resistant thermometers c/w probes on eBay for around five dollars that have the temperature range you need either in oF or oC or both .
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Re: Too Hot for Composting???

Post  camprn on 4/18/2013, 2:33 pm

I use my digital kitchen thermometer with great confidence. And some good soap afterwords. What a Face

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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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Thank you

Post  rwharris311 on 4/19/2013, 12:16 am

Thanks, Plantoid, for your suggestion. I can see where copper would offer an advantage. As to getting my ears bent, well, this is Honey Bunny's project so she will just have to go with the flow.
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