I checked on the compost piles yesterday in-between downpours caused by the leading effects of Tropical Storm Eric as it gets closer to the Hawaiian Islands but I did not want to keep the tarp off for very long because I did not want to piles to become too saturated from the rain.
The main pile is slowing down in its decomposition as it nears the end of the compost cycle as evidenced by its continued lower internal temperatures. It is staying active at 140 degrees though so everything is still progressing as it should. It is common for a pile to drop to a lower temperature range as it gets more mature.
The second test pile with the sawdust as the brown carbon component still being a new pile was chugging along at 165 degrees.
They were slightly drier than I would like so I did add 2 gallons of un-chlorinated water split between both piles.
Today it is sunny and about 85 degrees this morning, but we do still have scattered showers as the outer rain-bands of Eric pass over the island. We will be getting a lot of rain over the weekend through about Tuesday from the remnants of Tropical Storm Eric and Tropical Storm Flossie as they die off near the islands.
The main pile has dropped today to 138 degrees. I turned the pile over to aerate it and added 3-gallons of water to moisten it back up.
The second pile is running at 161 degrees. I turned this one and added 5 gallons of water to this pile to get its moisture level back up.
This pile is also started to show visible positive signs of decomposition.
When I am trying to be more precise with the amounts of water that I am adding to the piles it is easier for me to use a 2-gallon watering can instead of attaching a hose to my storage container of unchlorinater water.
The main pile is almost finished with its cycle, but I won't be using it yet. I will allow it to rest for at least a couple of months before I use it, that is just something that I have always done.
With worm castings there is a drastic increase in the nutrient density in them after they have aged for a few months, but with compost it is not that drastic. It does seem to increase slightly but the main reason that I do it is just to give it time after the thermophilic decomposition cycle has completed for fungal growth to begin in the pile so that I have not only beneficial bacteria, but also beneficial fungi in the compost when I use it.
Also, depending on the ingredients that you used in the creation of the compost pile, each pile with have varying amounts of the different nutrients in them. When I allow the finished piles to sit and age I am mixing the piles together, to blend their nutrients together into one large compost pile that I will use from.
Ok, The piles are warped back up and I made sure to add some additional bungee straps to the tarp to keep it from being damaged with the winds from these storms over the next couple of days.
Until Next Time,
Aloha & 73