Welcome to Day 21 of our Active Compost Series. The pile was running at 168 degrees yesterday when I checked on it, so it is still chugging along at an elevated temperature. It seems no matter what I do to this pile it always wants to run extremely hot.
This morning it finally came down to an acceptable temperature of 160 degrees so since the temperature dropped, that signals that it is time to turn the pile to get more oxygen back inside it.
Normally, the pile would be complete somewhere between the 21st and the 28th day of active composting, and if you remember Pile #1 was almost complete, but because of the herbicide overspray incident caused by my idiotic former yard maintenance people, I had to combine both piles together and Pile #2 was a couple days behind in chronological time and severely behind in the amount of decomposition I am seeing in the pile.
As I turned the pile today however I am seeing a glimmer of hope in that everything is starting to darken up a little more today than what I have been seeing. It isn't looking like soil yet, but it is slowly getting there at least in color if not texture yet.
I am sensing a slight odor to the pile showing that some anaerobic activity has been working on it so flipping the pile today to get oxygen back into it will help with that. The oxygen will kill off the anaerobic bacteria and allow aerobic bacteria to go back to work again. This is one of the things that I have been struggling with on this pile due to its excessive heat above 160 degrees. The anaerobic odor was not strong, so it had not gotten bad yet. If I would have let the pile sit for another couple days it would have though.
I went ahead and started another pile next to it from materials that I have been holding onto for a few days trying to wait for this pile to get a little further along. Unfortunately I need to get the other pile going before my next load of compost materials arrive and I get too backed up.