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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Compost: Berkeley 18 day [hot] method

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Post  sanderson 1/8/2015, 12:30 am

Do you know why it went stone cold? Not enough manure? Just curious. I know you have larger piles than I do.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/8/2015, 6:48 pm

sanderson wrote:Do you know why it went stone cold?  Not enough manure?  Just curious.  I know you have larger piles than I do.
Actually, I think there are several causes.

First, it was a smaller than normal pile and I don't think it was large enough.

Second, the horse manure that I used is becoming aged the longer it's sitting in the large pile I'm drawing from. It may be dropping in nitrogen content enough to not ignite the process. Horse manure is lower in nitrogen than cow manure anyway.

Third, there was no freshly chipped garden greens in it, so the pile was fairly dense to begin - not a lot of air space.

We'll get it going. Now that the cows are back in the pasture getting nitrogen will not be difficult.
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Post  sanderson 1/9/2015, 2:10 am

Sounds reasonable. So, cows produce nitrogen rofl
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/9/2015, 12:32 pm

sanderson wrote:Sounds reasonable.  So, cows produce nitrogen  rofl
Oh do they!!!! My pile is only up to 70 today :-( I'll let her go the full 4 days and start over if I need to adding another couple wheelbarrows of cow pies.

This has been a humbling experience, LOL! I thought I had this down "cold!" or hot or...
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Post  has55 1/10/2015, 10:03 am

this may be in the post, but I didn't see it. nice tip for heating up your beds.
hot composting tip
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Post  GWN 1/10/2015, 10:25 am

That is a great video, I will definitely try that next year.
What he does not say is that the pile is somewhat dependant on the ambient temp.
I can do exactly the same thing in summer and get the pile easily up to 140, yet in winter nothing above 40.
Hi everyone, not been here in awhile.happy hi
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/10/2015, 11:01 am

Good video.  I did similar as i opened up a large cavity in the middle yesterday and added fresh manure.  It's up to 80 this morning so I think we're on the way.
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Post  has55 1/10/2015, 11:18 am

Hi GWN welcome back.Very Happy
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Post  sanderson 1/10/2015, 3:31 pm

Hi GWN happy hi

Audrey, I'm with you, I thought I had it nailed, also.
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Post  has55 1/10/2015, 8:59 pm

audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Good video.  I did similar as i opened up a large cavity in the middle yesterday and added fresh manure.  It's up to 80 this morning so I think we're on the way.
keep us informed. we watching.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/10/2015, 9:57 pm

has55 wrote:
audrey.jeanne.roberts wrote:Good video.  I did similar as i opened up a large cavity in the middle yesterday and added fresh manure.  It's up to 80 this morning so I think we're on the way.
keep us informed. we watching.
Oh NO!  Pressure... pressure... pressure!!!  Laughing
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Post  has55 1/11/2015, 3:00 am

LOL
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/12/2015, 3:38 am

The pile was up to 90 today.  The ambient pile temp before heating was 60 degrees.

I have a question for my scientific genius friends here.  In the summer the air temps are 100+ degrees, so the base temp of my pile might be a little lower than that but it's much higher than it is at this time of the year.   So if a good pile is at 140 degrees when it's base temp might be 90 degrees, would a winter pile heat 50 degrees and be around 110 with the same microbial activity?
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Post  sanderson 1/12/2015, 4:04 am

You know, I wrote something about it, but if my memory is correct, Camp said no. The heat is generated in the interior my micro-organisms, not ambient air. Forgive me Camp if I remembered wrong, and soundly chastise me here. Shocked
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Post  sanderson 1/12/2015, 4:06 am

You know, I wrote something about it, but if my memory is correct, Camp said no.  The heat is generated in the interior by micro-organisms, not affected by ambient air.  Forgive me Camp if I remembered wrong, and soundly chastise me here. Shocked  I think Rooster posted a photo of melted snow around a cage and the thermometer indicated around 132*F,  Rooster, if I am wrong again, you can also join with Camp.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/13/2015, 6:49 pm

My neighbor dropped by with a 5 gallon bucket of fresh chicken and rabbit manure so I just turned my pile and added that in.

When turning, I think part of the issue may be that it's already quite a bit composted even though it's been cold composting.  So if 3 wheelbarrow loads of fresh cow manure and 1, 5 gallon bucket of chicken poo doesn't do it I may just strain it and start fresh.  Neighbor says "I've got plenty, come over any time you can use some!"

I really am spoiled with being able to gather materials - to top it all off our church just started a morning coffee shop for the neighborhood and I get all the grounds.  They filled a 2 gallon container in just 3 days so we're buying a 5 gallon bucket with a screw on lid for them.  

whooo hoooo hoooo!
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Post  sanderson 1/13/2015, 10:43 pm

Jealous, jealous!! Actually, it makes sense for a church up there to have a coffee shop.
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/13/2015, 11:39 pm

Hubby just brought me home about 6 yards of compost from Gallo's Green Waste center.  We took our trash to the dump in a borrowed hydraulic lift trailer and made a side trip to pick it up.  We paid $14 each yard for 4 yards but I believe it's quite a bit more.  I'll measure the pile in the morning.  

I'm going to use it in our landscaping areas.  It looks really, really nice.  Very fine screened texture and my son-in-law had very good success with it for his garden last year.  

I like to make my own, but there's only so much back muscle energy available in this body, LOL!  And after the day I had today, I'm WHOOPED!  An acre of landscaping is a lot to maintain.
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Post  sanderson 1/13/2015, 11:43 pm

Gallo Winery off Clovis Ave?
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/13/2015, 11:44 pm

Yes, that's the one.
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Post  sanderson 1/14/2015, 12:27 am

Good for SFG compost? Building up the flower bed health? Mulch for neighbor's flower bed? bounce
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/14/2015, 12:39 am

I dont completely trust anyone else's compost, so I'll use it elsewhere just to be safe.  But to replenish flower beds, the lawn etc. It's quite good I think.  I can post a picture yomorrow.
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Post  sanderson 1/14/2015, 1:11 am

Thank you.
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Post  has55 1/14/2015, 3:58 pm

sanderson wrote:Jealous, jealous!!  Actually, it makes sense for a church up there to have a coffee shop.
+1
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Post  audrey.jeanne.roberts 1/14/2015, 8:14 pm

When you live in the mountains and have all of 7 or 8 businesses in our entire town, none of them being coffee related it's quite a need!  It was my friend's idea to get herself out of the house.  The church bought all the equipment and they've had a lot of people drop in on their way to work or just for a morning hang out.  The coffee and goodies are free with a donation bucket so those who can afford to help out do and those that can't still can enjoy the friendship.

I just bought 2, 5 gallon buckets with screw on lids so I can leave one with them each time I trade it out.
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