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TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 7/16/2017, 1:38 pm

Bin #2 (plastic SoilSaver) has been reloaded with the second batch for 2017. Temperature after loading was 70F on Friday July 14. Then yesterday it was up to 110F and today it's at 132F.

Bin #3 (EnviroCycle tumbler) continues to hover around 100F with temps of 102, 100 and 102 over the last three readings.

Outside temperature at the time of the readings was 77F.







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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 7/16/2017, 11:41 pm

#2 is really taking off!

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 7/19/2017, 3:06 pm

Bin #2 (SoilSaver) - Temps for 3 days - 134, 146, 147F - nice!

Bin #3 (EnviroCycle) - Remains steady with 3 day temps of 103, 107, 106F.






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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 7/20/2017, 2:51 am

Looks like #3 is still doing some composting, which is a good thing at that temp and your air temp. "Mesophilic organisms (actinomycetes) . . . reassert themselves. . . the decay of the most resistant plant component, lignin, is completed."

My Lifetime bin is down to 120*F, day 19.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts on 7/20/2017, 7:11 pm

Sooooo.... I unintentionally made great compost without intending to.  My "potato" buckets were 1/2 compost and 1/2 a soil mix that I buy that works really well.  I added about 12 inches of wood chips or straw on top as the plants were growing.  They were growing in 55 gallon food grade plastic barrels cut in half.  

The plastic kept the moisture so high and the blue color attracted the heat so much that the potatoes did really well until about 1/2 way through and then they began to shrivel up before flowering.  I finally stuck my hand down in there and harvested a few, but must had grown large and rotted.  I stuck my hand in the slime of many of them *ewwwwwww!*  I found large pockets where they once were and many red wigglers in those pockets.

My theory is that the material remained too moist and the heat and worms turned every piece of material into worm casting laden super compost.  I now have about 300 gallons of it made up, lol!  I planted squash seeds for the second half of the season.  After they're done growing I think I will use the compost on my raised beds and start over again for next year with a standard Mel's mix.  That's what I get for taking short cuts  tongue
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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 7/21/2017, 8:01 pm

Very Happy

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 7/22/2017, 1:23 pm

Bin 2 - Three day temps 136, 128, 132F.  The contents were stirred, fluffed up and additional material added yesterday after the temp reading.

Bin 3 - Three day temps 105, 100, 98F. The tumbler was turned three times two days ago after the temp reading.





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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 7/25/2017, 2:31 pm

Bin 2 - Three day temps 138, 120, 114F.  Today I added kitchen scraps. This is day 12 for this bin. It really needs a good proper turning.

Bin 3 - Three day temps 98, 85, 74F. This is day 34 for this bin. I am not impressed. 





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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 7/25/2017, 3:16 pm

What do the contents look like in #3? My first batch was not impressive because I did not fill it to the top at the beginning and it had a hard time reaching any temp. I put the contents in a perforated 33-gal can to slowly decompose. The second batch, which was a full one, is now 25 days old and bouncing around 110-120*F.

I think you will do better when you build your next batch, topping off at the very beginning and not adding any thing else!

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 7/25/2017, 3:42 pm

@sanderson wrote:What do the contents look like in #3?  My first batch was not impressive because I did not fill it to the top at the beginning and it had a hard time reaching any temp.  I put the contents in a perforated 33-gal can to slowly decompose.  The second batch, which was a full one, is now 25 days old and bouncing around 110-120*F.

I think you will do better when you build your next batch, topping off at the very beginning and not adding any thing else!
The contents of #3 appear to be too wet. The lid does not seal well and with all the rain we have had mositure got into the bin. The other thing I've noticed is that there are what appear to be round/oval balls of material. I need to empty the bin and get a real good look at what is inside. However, we have visitors arriving today who will be here for the rest of the week so there will be very little activity for me out in the garden until next week. I agree with your comment about starting out with a full batch rather than adding material over a few days.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 7/25/2017, 4:18 pm

The balls of material will still be there after your company leaves. Wink You can tarp it in the future when it rains. I think I will have to do it also, just to make sure extra water does not seep in. Mine has balls, also, and it a little bit to wet. From here on, it will be tumble and prop it open for me. There are also a lot of skinny mushrooms.

I don't consider a month old compost to be really composted, rather it has a good start and works fine as top dressing or mixing in. It is the "food" of the future as the microbes continue breaking it down and the worms mix it while eating the microbes.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 8/22/2017, 2:32 pm

A few days ago I reloaded my EnviroCycle compost tumbler with leaves, grass/clover clippings and dead pea vines. It started off well but has not been able to hold a high temperature. May have to take drastic action to get it going. The contents have gone down considerably so I may add more leaves and grass clippings this week.


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 8/23/2017, 8:51 pm

Question. Do you air it before and after you turn it? Also, I would consider turning it daily and opening it for oxygen. Does the EnviroCycle have drain holes in the bottom? If I end up with a second tumbler and it is your model, I think I will add drainage if it doesn't already have a hole.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 8/23/2017, 11:11 pm

@sanderson wrote:Question.  Do you air it before and after you turn it?  Also, I would consider turning it daily and opening it for oxygen.  Does the EnviroCycle have drain holes in the bottom?  If I end up with a second tumbler and it is your model, I think I will add drainage if it doesn't already have a hole.
I open the lid in order to take the temperature on a daily basis. The lid is not tight fitting and there are drainage holes opposite the lid. I initially filled the tumbler to the top but it now looks like it is about two-thirds full as things have compacted down. I'm going to add more material which I realize is the equivalent of starting over. I also need to check the moisture level of the existing material.

Fall is approaching and then I will reload the 3x3x3 compost bin with tree leaves and other stuff. That will be fun ... except for the turning of the contents every few days.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 8/24/2017, 3:36 am

@trolleydriver wrote:Fall is approaching and then I will reload the 3x3x3 compost bin with tree leaves and other stuff. That will be fun ... except for the turning of the contents every few days.
Oh whoopee. Shocked

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/28/2017, 2:25 pm

A couple of days ago I reloaded my SoilSaver bin with leaves stored from last Fall, grass clippings, food scraps and partially composted material. Today it is cooking away at a nice 150F.  The current outside temp is 59F going down to 39F overnight.

Mrs TD is so happy that I finally used up the leaves from last Fall. But I will soon be out collecting a new batch of neighborhood leaves.  ... bwuhaha ! ! !


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 9/28/2017, 11:17 pm

150*F! Will you be "turning" or emptying and replacing?

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 9/29/2017, 8:00 am

@sanderson wrote:150*F!  Will you be "turning" or emptying and replacing?
If I have time I will turn it.  This bin is manageable but I find the newer 3x3x3 is a big job to turn.

BTW I still have a lot of compost stored from the Spring which I probably should have been using on the SFG beds during the Summer.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 10/5/2017, 4:59 pm

Status of the compost bins.

1. EnviroCycle tumbler - Has not done much even when I babied it every day. I may have to get rid of it.

2. SoilSaver bin - This recently achieved 150F but it cooled way down before I had a chance to turn it. I did turn it today.

3. 3x3x3 bin - Last week I put some shredded leaves (from last Fall), grass clippings and kitchen scraps into the bin but it did not amount to much. Today a neighbour dropped off some leaves which I shredded and mixed with new grass clippings and kitchen scraps. The bin is now about half full. I know you are supposed to set the ingredients apart until there is enough to make a complete batch. But I've decided this time to build it up as material becomes available.


Here is what came out of the SoilSaver during the turning process.




Inside the SoilSaver during emptying.



Two bags of Red Maple leaves dropped off by a kind neighbour.



Leaves spread out on the lawn for shredding with the mulching mower.



Leaves and grass/clover/weed clippings ready to go into the 3x3x3 bin.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 10/11/2017, 9:09 am

The SoilSaver did not heat up again after turning. At this point I have three options:
1. Give it a nitrogen boost to get it going again.
2. Sift the contents to take out completed compost and recycle the leftovers in another batch.
3. Use the contents as is for a top dressing.

As for the 3x3x3 it heated up to 145F but by yesterday was down to 130F.  One of our neighbors dropped off another bag of leaves. I ran the lawnmower over the leaves. Then I turned the contents of the bin and added the mulched leaves together with a whole bunch of kitchen scraps and some plant material pulled from the gardens. After all of that the bin is still not full.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 10/11/2017, 3:24 pm

I vote for #3. Very Happy

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 10/11/2017, 3:54 pm

@sanderson wrote:I vote for #3. Very Happy
I like that as well.  And it's also a lot less work than sifting.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  sanderson on 10/11/2017, 8:52 pm

I thought you would like that. Wink By spring it should be even further along,.

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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 10/12/2017, 5:26 pm

I dug into the contents of the SoilSaver bin and got a really nice surprise.  The material is teaming with big juicy worms. I like it!

As for the 3x3x3 it has started to heat up again and is around 134F. That's in the "hot" zone but I would still like it to go higher.


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Re: TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

Post  trolleydriver on 10/13/2017, 12:42 pm

3x3x3 has gone up 8 degrees to 142F.  Very Happy

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