RSS Feed

#119 - Step-By-Step Active Composting - Day 9

Welcome to Day 9 of Pile #1, and Day 7 of Pile #2. We had a very warm day yesterday at 95 degrees which is hot for Hawaii. It has been in the mid 90s for the past couple weeks now. 

 

I know everyone thinks Hawaii is so much hotter than the mainland US because we are so much closer to the equator, but it doesn't quite work that way. This is the hottest it ever gets here. Unlike the mainland, here in Hawaii we do not get up to triple-digit temperatures, other than in my compost piles.

 

Luckily the Trade Winds act as a natural air-conditioning to keep the islands cool. Unfortunately, we will loose them in August or September for a few weeks and it will feel unbearably hot until they come back.

Ok, so this morning when I checked the temperatures of the piles I noticed that Pile #1 is running at 130 degrees which is a tad lower than I would like to have it. It is still within the "Active Hot Compost" range but it isn't composting as efficiently as it could be, so I need to heat that one back up just a little bit. I like to keep my piles between 140 and 160 so they are working most efficiently.

By the way, I forgot to mention this before, ignore the green markings on the thermometer. Those ranges are not for the type of "hot" composting that we are doing. According to that thermometer you would want to keep the temperature below 130 degrees which at that temperature does not kill off weed seeds and harmful bacteria and plant diseases that may be in the pile.

 

Even the FDA says that the pile must reach at least 135 degrees for several hours to kill those things off to create safe compost. Which is why I do not do the slow cold composting method where the temperatures never get over about 110 to 120 degrees.

 

To increase the temperature of this pile I will be turning it over to introduce oxygen, adding some nitrogen in the form of food scraps that I have run through a blender to break down into as small of pieces as I can, and wetting the pile down again. A bunch of McDonalds cheeseburgers, some rice, and some left over chili should do the trick nicely. 

 

As I stack