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TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 11/14/2016, 3:01 pm

160*F max

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  Robbomb116 on 11/14/2016, 3:07 pm

Not too hot yet according to my research.  Most sources say ideal is between 140-160 F. I've also read somewhere that up to 180 being acceptable but not ideal.   Can't  remember the sources though


Last edited by Robbomb116 on 11/14/2016, 3:10 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  Robbomb116 on 11/14/2016, 3:09 pm

Something about 160 some of the beneficial microbes can die,  but some can take up top 180. Goal should be no hotter than 160 I believe.
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/14/2016, 4:02 pm

Looks like I'm hitting the sweet spot temperature wise. Very Happy

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/14/2016, 4:35 pm

New Bin #1 - Temperature is up to 42C (107.6F) this afternoon which is one day after turning.



New Bin #2 - Temperature was up to 59C (138.2F) before I turned it today and then 25C (77F) after turning.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/15/2016, 5:24 pm

New Bin #1 was 60C (140F) two days after turning it. I turned it again this afternoon.

New Bin #2 was at 46.8C (116.2F) one day after it was turned.

Maybe one of these days I will graph the temperature for Bin #1.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/16/2016, 4:25 pm

New Bin #1 - Only made it up to 30.9C (87.6F) one day after turning. 


New Bin #2 - Before turning today was at 63.7C (146.7F). After turning it was 23.7C (74.7F).  Ambient temp was about 8C (46.4F).


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  Kelejan on 11/16/2016, 5:52 pm

TD, I am sure that turning it now it will take ages to get back to what it was.  Me, I would give it a rest until the spring.
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 11/17/2016, 3:37 am

TD, I'll email you, also, but if it doesn't reach 140*F, I would take it all out and pile in one long row. Put it all back in starting at the "top" end of the row. Make sure it is really moist. It may have fizzled out. One of mine did. I added a little blood meal at the 1/3 and 2/3 marks and it heated back up. If it still doesn't want to heat up, just call it a slow, cool pile. Ralitaco also had a fizzle if I remember correctly. Practice makes perfect.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/17/2016, 7:46 am

sanderson wrote:TD,  I'll email you, also, but if it doesn't reach 140*F, I would take it all out and pile in one long row.  Put it all back in starting at the "top" end of the row.  Make sure it is really moist.  It may have fizzled out.  One of mine did.  I added a little blood meal at the 1/3 and 2/3 marks and it heated back up.  If it still doesn't want to heat up, just call it a slow, cool pile.  Ralitaco also had a fizzle if I remember correctly.  Practice makes perfect.
Thanks for the advice. We are on the same wavelength. I told Mrs TD last night that I need to buy some more blood meal. I didn't use any the last time I turned it. The contents are definitely moist (maybe too wet). It's going to turn into a cool pile soon anyway. In fact it will probably turn into an ice cube over the winter.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/17/2016, 4:45 pm

New Bin #1 - After two days it only managed to get to 43.2C (107.8F). I emptied it and refilled while at the same time adding blood meal to provide nitrogen and hopefully get those thermophilic bacteria going and generating more heat. Temp after turning was 19.2C (66.5F). AMbient temp 9C (48F).

New Bin #2 - One full day after turning is at 42C (107.6F).

Old Plastic Bin - One day after refilling has only achieved 20.6C (69.1F)

We have cold weather coming after Saturday. Highs of -1C (30F) and lows of -7C (19F) are forecast for both Monday and Tuesday with a chance of snow Sunday through Tuesday. Once the cold and snow arrive on a consistent basis I will stop baby sitting the compost bins.

Note: The highest temp readings in the bins may differ from what I am reporting since I cannot tell if the thermometer probes are located in the hottest part of the piles. I try to put them in the middle of the piles as best I can.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  Kelejan on 11/17/2016, 5:57 pm

TD, I expect the centre of your pile will remain unfrozen, and that is where the worms will concentrate during the winter.

When I turned my pile the first time in the spring, that was where the worms were.  I found it interesting that in some places there were no worms at all, then in another place there were fistfuls of them.  That is when you get a good feel of the conditions that worms love.
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/17/2016, 6:14 pm

Kelejan wrote:TD, I expect the centre of your pile will remain unfrozen, and that is where the worms will concentrate during the winter.

When I turned my pile the first time in the spring, that was where the worms were.  I found it interesting that in some places there were no worms at all, then in another place there were fistfuls of them.  That is when you get a good feel of the conditions that worms love.
I'll look forward to that!  Smile

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/18/2016, 5:06 pm

New Bin #1 - One day after turning and adding blood meal, this bin refuses to heat up. Sad By mid afternoon it had only achieved 22C (71.6F). Unfortunately, the bin did not work long enough to produce usable compost. I am finished turning the contents and will let it slow cook or turn into a block of ice over the winter months. Hopefully I will be able to rejuvenate it in the Spring.




New Bin #2 - This one is still cooking. After two full days from the last turning it is at 58.1C (136.6F). I would like to see it over 60C but it may not get there. If I feel energetic enough I will turn the contents one more time. However, the weather forecast is for cooler temps and snow starting on Sunday so that may put an end to my composting for this year.




Old Plastic Bin - This bin is much smaller. Temperature this afternoon was 25.1C (77.2F). I'll keep adding kitchen scraps to this bin until winter really sets in.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/19/2016, 4:52 pm

Readings this afternoon (Sat Nov 19).

New Bin #1 - 28.7C (83.7) and struggling to increase temperature.

New Bin #2 - 62.4C (144.3F) and doing well.

Old Plastic Bin - 30.7C (87.3F) and I continue to add kitchen scraps.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/20/2016, 3:40 pm

Reading afternoon Sunday Nov 20 under brutal wintery weather conditions. The thermometer readouts are covered in snow and ice.

New Bin #1 - Moved up to 33.6C (92.5F)




New Bin #2 - Still cooking at a slightly lower 60.8C (141.4F)



Old Plastic Bin - Now up to 35.2C (95.4F)

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 11/21/2016, 2:40 am


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  has55 on 11/21/2016, 5:24 am

Robbomb116 wrote:Something about 160 some of the beneficial microbes can die,  but some can take up top 180. Goal should be no hotter than 160 I believe.

robbomb116. your right. explanation on temp on  new  thread I posted yesterday  under  the composting video. see #4.
 TD, I have really enjoyed this thread. Following it closely. TD,  do you have it cover or is it getting the snow and cold weather directly? It will lower the temp significantly.  it discussed it the #4 video. has55's R & D Journey:Elaine Ingham-composting, molasses, bacteria to fungi ratio. Hope this is helpful.
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/21/2016, 7:23 am

has55 ... the three bins are all covered. You can view them here.

http://squarefoot.creatingforum.com/t20145p725-second-year-sfg-in-canada#256009

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  Zmoore on 11/21/2016, 8:15 am



Wow TD!!  Bin #2 is rocking and it looks like you're getting enough "work" out of the piles prior to hard weather showing up, which appears has now arrived for you.  I think you're compost is going to turn out great for spring.
You're making me feel like a slacker.  I'm a little behind.  I had one small compost pile that I was planning to "bulk out" a month ago, now it's lost all heat activity and I still have to bulk it out.  I managed to vacuum/shred some leaves this weekend.  I hope I can get to it and finish it up this coming weekend.  Need to visit my neighbor and get some horse manure and then layer everything together.  Hopefully the layering and mixing in new materials and getting the pile up to mass will work to rejuvenate the process and I can get some good work out of the microbes before heavy winter sits in here.  I don't have bins yet though, still do piles, and this year I think I'm going to try layer of straw over the pile for insulation rather than tarp.  Anyway, maybe I'll have a thermometer reading to share next week.
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/21/2016, 2:36 pm

Here we go with the readings for Monday Nov 21 and part way through our first big winter storm.

New Bin #1 - Has moved up to 39C (102.2F) from yesterday's reading of 33.6C (92.5F).

New Bin #2 - Down to 53.3C (127.9F) from 60.8C (141.4F). So this one is dropping quickly.

Old Plastic Bin - Up slightly to 36.1C (97F) from 35.2C (95.4F).

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  has55 on 11/21/2016, 9:02 pm

TD that was some work you did. Amazing set up and so enjoyable to see. I saw the covering. I guess it sleep time zzzzzzz 
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  has55 on 11/21/2016, 9:44 pm

TD, I was thinking of making a compost thermometer like this one, but enclosed it in 1/2" PVC pipe. I would run the wire thru the pipe, put a end cap on it with a hole for the metal piece. But I can't figure out how to wedge the metal piece in so when I push it thru the compost pile it won't push back into the pipe. any ideas.

Digital LCD Thermometer for Refrigerator Freezer Temperature -50~110°C ED

 this is my attempted drawing with WORD to explain what I'm trying to explained.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/21/2016, 10:46 pm

has55 wrote:TD, I was thinking of making a compost thermometer like this one, but enclosed it in 1/2" PVC pipe. I would run the wire thru the pipe, put a end cap on it with a hole for the metal piece. But I can't figure out how to wedge the metal piece in so when I push it thru the compost pile it won't push back into the pipe. any ideas.

Digital LCD Thermometer for Refrigerator Freezer Temperature -50~110°C ED

 

has55 ... I've thought about using a pipe as well but like you have not figured out how to stop the metal piece from pushing back. One idea was to push a rod or pipe with a solid end into the compost first to make a path for the pipe which has the thermometer probe. Another thought I had was to fill the end of the pipe with epoxy to hold the metal probe in place.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 11/22/2016, 2:16 pm

Now the readings for Tuesday Nov 22, 2016. The current ambient temp is around freezing and overnight lows are around -4C (25F). Nice to see that the temps in the bins are staying a lot higher than the outside temperature.

According to 
http://www.homecompostingmadeeasy.com/compoststages.html
all three bins are in the range where thermophiles (excellent bacteria) are active.

New Bin #1 - Moved up to 44.1C (111.4F) from yesterday's 39C (102.2F). Nice!  It should be noted that I started with two thermometers in this bin. Only the lower one is working now and that is what was used today and the previous two days. It is possible that the thermometer located higher in the bin would have been reading a higher temperature.




New Bin #2 - Down again to 45.6C (114.1F) from yesterday's 53.3C (127.9F). That's a significant drop over the past few days from over 60C. This compost needs to be turned to give it another push back to higher temps but with the bad weather that probably is not going to happen.





Old Plastic Bin - Down slightly to 34.8C (94.6F) from yesterday's 36.1C (97F). I added more kitchen scraps after today's reading was taken.

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