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#117 - Step-By-Step Active Composting - Day 8

I checked the compost piles today and I noticed that Pile #1 is staying at a good temperature of about 140 degrees so I do not want to disturb it. At 140 degrees it is actively composting without being so hot that it risks killing off the beneficial microbes. So I am not going to turn that pile today.

Pile #2 on the other hand is still running hot at just over 160 degrees so I need to cool it down just a bit. Adding the carbon to the pile yesterday in the form of the shredded cardboard did help to bring the temperature down a coupe degrees, but it did not bring it down enough.

For me to bring the temperature down to the 140-150 degree range where I want it to stay at using the addition of carbon I would have to add a lot more shredded cardboard which I do not want to do just yet. Cardboard has a carbon to nitrogen ratio of about 350:1 which is why I used shredded cardboard to bring up the carbon percentage in the pile. One reason the pile is running so hot is because it has a high nitrogen content from the grass clippings.


One other thing that has the ability, at least temporarily to bring the temperature down is turning the pile over to reintroduce oxygen to the pile. If you will remember yesterday the pile was a little wetter than I would like for it to be. Too much moisture means there is less oxygen in the pile because the water fills up the tiny spaces where the oxygen should be inside the pile. Too much of wither means not enough of the other, either way it is not good for a compost pile.


I decided to try turning pile #2 today to drop the temperature down and dry it out just a little more to see if that will help the temperature stabilize. Turning the pile is a double-edged sword though as it is also used to heat a pile up that has cooled down if it cooled down from lack of oxygen. Turning a pile can go either way with the temperature so I am going to have to watch it closely. 

At least for now turning the pile over has dropped the temperature of the pile down to 130 degrees. Let's see how long it takes for it to climb back up again.