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TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer

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Post  trolleydriver 5/16/2017, 4:05 pm

Just turned Bin #1 3x3x3. Yikes that is hard work for an old guy. I don't know how you do it sanderson. I can't see me doing that in the heat of summer. The core temp after turning is down to 84F from 125F just before turning.
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Post  has55 5/17/2017, 4:32 am

trolleydriver wrote:
has55 wrote:great sale on compost items such as compost thermometers, etc...
grow organic.com
Whatever you do don't buy this compost bin. I obtained a used one from a neighbor and I hated it. It was very difficult (heavy) to turn once you got it partially filled with damp material. Really bad design as far as I am concerned.

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 New_0004-edit
you're right TD!!! I did a video on that tumbler to warn the world not to buy it. 
Watermelon and compost tumbler
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Post  trolleydriver 5/17/2017, 12:23 pm

Bin #1 has moved from 84F after turning yesterday to 99F. I'm beginning to think this bin does not have the right combination/ratio of ingredients.
Bin #2 is maintaining a good temperature at 132F. This is even after adding more kitchen scraps and aerating by stirring with a reinforcing rod yesterday.
Outside ambient temperature as of the time of taking the readings is 81F.

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Bin1-213

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Post  sanderson 5/18/2017, 3:59 am

trolleydriver wrote:Just turned Bin #1 3x3x3. Yikes that is hard work for an old guy. I don't know how you do it sanderson. I can't see me doing that in the heat of summer.
Don't forget that I am at least 6 months younger than you! Wink I need to make another pile after this one is finished, or not finished. After turning on the 15th, mine is up to 130*F, the highest it's been. Tomorrow (today) is another turning. pale

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Post  trolleydriver 5/18/2017, 8:12 am

As of 8 a.m. the temps are Bin #1 120F (that is +21F from the previous reading) and Bin #2 140F (+8 from previous reading). I usually measure the temps later in the day so I'll do another reading later and that is what I will add to the graphs.

sanderson ... if the material in the bin does "not finish" what do you do with it?
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Post  trolleydriver 5/18/2017, 12:29 pm

Latest readings.  Bin #1 125F and Bin #2 141F.

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Bin1-215

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Post  sanderson 5/19/2017, 12:11 am

trolleydriver wrote:

sanderson ... if the material in the bin does "not finish" what do you do with it?
Never happened before. I used to screen but I like the chunkier compost for top dressing. I suppose I will use it as top dressing on everything. Then, start a new pile. I know the Red Wigglers will love what ever I put on top, finished or fizzled.

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Post  trolleydriver 5/19/2017, 12:02 pm

sanderson wrote:
trolleydriver wrote:

sanderson ... if the material in the bin does "not finish" what do you do with it?
Never happened before.  I used to screen but I like the chunkier compost for top dressing.  I suppose I will use it as top dressing on everything.  Then, start a new pile.  I know the Red Wigglers will love what ever I put on top, finished or fizzled.
Yup ... top dressing is what I have used it for.

Today's temperatures ... things are cooking nicely ... Bin #1 140F (up 15F since yesterday) and Bin #2 142F (holding steady). Current outside temp is 54F. I should turn Bin #1 again but may wait until tomorrow since I am not holding fast to the Berkeley 18-day hot composting method.

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Bin1-216TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Bin2-216
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Post  trolleydriver 5/20/2017, 12:00 pm

For May 20, 2017 ... Bin #1 147F (up) and Bin #2 131F (down).

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Bin1-217

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Post  trolleydriver 5/21/2017, 2:03 pm

The bins are cooling down.

Bin #1 142F (down from 147F) and I am way behind on turning the contents.

Bin #2 126F (down from 131F), needs a stir and an injection of kitchen scraps.

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Bin1-218

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Post  SwampTroll 5/21/2017, 5:07 pm

Reminds me, I need to wet my down and give it a through mix.  Perhaps, moving the bin and reloading it completely.

Also thinking about adding a second composter to the one that I have.  I wonder how well the rotating ones work.
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Post  sanderson 5/22/2017, 2:37 am

Swamp,  I just bought this one with a bar in the middle that allows breaking up the material and aeration to the material.  Haven't used it.  Some have fins like a dryer to tumble the material. TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 Compos39

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Post  trolleydriver 5/22/2017, 3:33 pm

Even though there is a light shower of rain I decided to turn Bin #1.  Temperature in that bin was 140F before turning and down to 92F right after turning. Wow was that compost ever steaming while I turned it. No bad smell either.

Bin #2 has dropped down to 118F.


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Post  sanderson 5/23/2017, 3:26 am

I'm totally jealous. It's just too freaking hot to turn the compost. Maybe Friday when it gets back into the 80's.

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Post  trolleydriver 5/23/2017, 8:08 am

sanderson wrote:I'm totally jealous.  It's just too freaking hot to turn the compost.  Maybe Friday when it gets back into the 80's.
I definitely will not be able to turn Bin #1 in hot weather.  It just about finishes me off. 

I either need a double bin system or a motorized mini front end loader to move the material. Maybe something like this ...

TrolleyDriver's Compost Thermometer - Page 9 387431296854069


BTW ... Bin #1 is up to 110F at 8:00 a.m. today which is up from 92F after tyrning yesterday.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/23/2017, 11:51 am

Interestingly the temperature in both bins is the same today.

Bin #1 has gone up to 115F from 92F after turning yesterday.

UPDATE: Bin #2 is down slightly to 114F. Later in the afternoon I turned the contents and added some greens (kitchen scraps, grass, weeds). The temperature after turning was 75F.


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Post  trolleydriver 5/23/2017, 3:19 pm

I updated the previous post after I turned the contents of Bin #2. The temp in that bin is now down to 75F after turning.

NOTE: I am posting these compost temperature readings for the benefit of the forum members. My hope is that others will learn from my mistakes and successes with composting. If the daily posts are too much just let me know (probably best via PM but comments +ve or -ve posted on this thread are welcome a well). The last thing I want to do is overwhelm people or make it seem like I am "hogging" the forum.
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Post  trolleydriver 5/23/2017, 11:07 pm

When I turn my compost I find a lot of "white" on the material as shown in this photo. 

I read on the InterWeb this is actinomycetes ... "This is a fungus-like bacterium, which works as a decomposer, breaking apart plant tissue. The presence of fungi in composting can be a bad thing and indicate improper balance of bacterial agents but actinomycetes in manure compost and other organic material indicates successful decomposition of tough fibrous items."

I also read the following on another forum: "If your pile is generating significant amounts of powdery residuals, you might want to consider wearing a mask when turning the pile. I am aware of one person who landed in the hospital with a persistent lung infection that was thought to have been caused by turning a compost pile. The infection was successfully treated with antibiotics, but it took a week or so, as I remember. "

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Post  sanderson 5/24/2017, 3:17 am

You are not hogging - I break in all the time! Razz

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Post  trolleydriver 5/24/2017, 2:44 pm

Temps for May 24 are Bin #1 135F and Bin #2 97F.  Both bins are heating up after being turned.

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Post  trolleydriver 5/25/2017, 12:30 pm

The temps continue to rise after turning the contents of the bins.

Bin #1 is now at 148F (up 13F from the previous day).

Bin #2 is now at 112F (up 15F from the previous day). Considering this is a small bin compared to Bin #1 it still does a pretty good job of heating up. This maybe due to the fact that it gets a fresh supply of kitchen scraps every few days.

This may sound really crazy but I get a big kick our of measuring the temps in the bins every day. Never know what to expect. For me it's as much fun as growing things but when it comes to turning the materials in the bins it is hard work (at least I find it so).


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Post  SwampTroll 5/25/2017, 6:03 pm

You've inspired me to get thermometers so I can keep a closer eye on my compost pile, and hopefully I'll be able to get it to a healthier, better balanced and faster cooking state.
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt 5/25/2017, 9:08 pm

trolleydriver wrote:I updated the previous post after I turned the contents of Bin #2. The temp in that bin is now down to 75F after turning.

NOTE: I am posting these compost temperature readings for the benefit of the forum members. My hope is that others will learn from my mistakes and successes with composting. If the daily posts are too much just let me know (probably best via PM but comments +ve or -ve posted on this thread are welcome a well). The last thing I want to do is overwhelm people or make it seem like I am "hogging" the forum.
I like vicarious composting! And graphs!
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Post  trolleydriver 5/26/2017, 12:35 pm

The temperature in both bins is leveling off.

Bin #1 - 151F

Bin #2 - 115F


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Post  trolleydriver 5/27/2017, 1:23 pm

Bin #1 - 145F in a "cooling" trend from the high

Bin #2 - 115F holding steady since the last reading


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