Compost pile is not hot enough.


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Old 02-09-10, 02:46 PM
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Compost pile is not hot enough.

Hi All,
I always used shredded leaves for mulch and this is the first time
I tried composting. This fall I mixed shredded leaves with horse/chicken/duck manure but I have not been mixing it thoroughly this winter, Just adding kitchen scraps and mix the top. Today I added more kitchen scraps and the pile was frozen on the outside. The core seemed ok. Should I add more manure to it or just a good mixing is enough. It was cold today and we've been having cold nights here in the northeast.

Emil
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Old 02-10-10, 04:51 AM
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Hi Esalman:

I'm north of Boston and I'd bet that the tops of my compost piles are frozen also.

I have enough space to keep five 4' X 4' piles 'working'. That way I have one 'accumulation' pile, three piles in various stages of decomposition and one pile of compost I can use. The advantage of this is that I can pitchfork from one pile area to the next in line.

In other houses, I've tried to have at least three piles. One accumulation pile, one pile 'cooking' and one pile ready to use. If you only have one pile, you're always adding new waste in with the finished compost.

Turning the pile will increase heat and speed up turning it into compost. I'm just not dedicated enough to do it in the winter.

In spring/summer/fall, I turn my piles about every three or four weeks. If I've done a good job going over the yard waste with the lawnmower, I get reasonable compost at the end of the cycle.

With shredded leaves and manure, your mixture should be OK although I've found including grass clipings with the leaves increases the heat in the pile. If you have manure available it won't hurt, but it does require some time to loose the smell. That's why I use seperate piles. Sometimes I'll even throw a little 10-10-10 into the pile which is NOT organic.
 
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Old 02-12-10, 07:57 AM
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This year I'll have 2 piles started. I have an unlimtted access to manure. I friend of mine owns horses, chickens and couple of ducks. He is more than happy to give the manure away, evey spring he gives lots of it away. He mix's the manure with straw and keep it in a manure pit, by the time I get it does not smell.

Go Red Sox

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Old 02-12-10, 08:41 AM
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I can't remember exactly...but you need "greens" and "browns". Theres some sort of initial ration and little rules of thumb like "if it starts to smell like ammonia it needs more XXXXXXX" or "if its not hot in the center..it needs XXXXXX".

Theres also rules about scraps...like no meat or bones, etc etc.


Ahhhh I found this in my bookmarks....Compost Guide - Composting Fundamentals
 
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Old 02-18-10, 10:50 AM
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I added more manure and mixed the pile. It is cooking, I can see the heat/warm air rising.
 
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Old 02-18-10, 06:05 PM
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I love that the compost pile came back to the forums. It means spring is getting closer and we are all excited to start planting.

I've only got room for one pile (it's a very big pile) but it is well seasoned at this point so my new additons are dilluted well enough that I don't worry about it too much. Each spring I add leaf mold from the leaves collected by the grounds crew of a local university and every couple years I try to get the cow maneur off a neighbors pasture. In the mean time the spent grains from my brewing and garden clippings go on the pile.
 
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Old 02-23-10, 10:14 AM
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Spring is almost here

Pilot Dane,
This morning i noticed that the crocuses are breaking through the ground . The wife and myself can't wait to start spending time outside.
Oh yeah and I mixed the compost pile yesterday.........
 
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Old 02-23-10, 10:57 AM
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This weekend I was weeding a couple raised beds and noticed the tulips starting to poke through. And, my compost pile needs turning but our winter has been so wet I've been afraid to get drive the loader across the lawn to get to the pile. I would do 5 minutes work and then spend 2 hours repairing the damage to the grass.
 
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Old 02-23-10, 12:39 PM
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I wish I had a loader it would make mixing the pile much easier.........
 
 

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