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Post  AtlantaMarie 2/18/2015, 3:23 pm

Woo-Hoo, DStack!
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Post  Guest 12/20/2017, 2:43 pm

Well, it's been 8 days since I loaded the Jora and thought I would update the progress and seek help. 

Side 1 is still sitting at 80 degrees.  Since I loaded it on 12-12, I have added some shredded cardboard and a scoop of wood pellets on 12-15, then on 12-16 more wood pellets (as it was still too wet) and the temp was 75 degrees yesterday 12-19.  Today 12-20, I added some more shredded leaves, 1 scoop of wood pellets, and some wood ash - temperature is 80 degrees today.  Also still too wet...

Side 2 is my golden child!  I was more precise with making more equal parts on the initial loading so I think that's why.  Here's the skinny on it.  12-15 added some shredded cardboard and 1 scoop of pellets, temp was around 70 degrees.  12-19 nothing new added, still too damp though - temp was 117.  Today 12-20, temp was 147!!  I added 1 scoop of pellets to try and help with the dampness, and tumbled some, then the temp dropped to 140 (maybe having the door open so long in a cold garage?).

So compost experts - what do I need to do at this point for either side?  Neither side smells bad though - and I have to thing that's a positive!  Looking pretty nice inside too...  Just not gaining heat on side 1.  Also if it gets to 160 degrees on side 2, do I do something to try to cool it off?  Thanks all!  This is so fun!!
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Post  dstack 12/20/2017, 5:05 pm

I have the same issue of sogginess with my Jora 270 which I got in October. And I also expected it to be easier to get it to heat up. At Least it's very easy to turn, being that it's a tumbler. I crammed the left side with compost that was mostly decayed, and the temp is usually around 75°. The right side is where I'm adding fresh food scraps and dried leaves.

As far as cooling it off at 160° I wouldn't worry about it. I've never seen my hot compost get past 156°.
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Post  Guest 12/20/2017, 7:58 pm

Hey dstack - good to know that I'm not just messing this up.  However, just checked the temp on side 2 again and it's 154 degrees!!  Steaming stuff!  So if no one tells me to "slow it down" on the hot side, I'll just let it go do it's thing.

Do you keep adding anything to deal with the sogginess?  I tried wood pellets, but don't want to throw my ratios off dramatically...  Oh, and side 1 has made it up to 90 now!
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Post  dstack 12/22/2017, 5:03 am

154°!? That's awesome! Congrats!

This past weekend I left it open for an hour or two to let it dry out on top. Then I rotated it to find another soggy area and let that dry out. I did this about 4 times. Now that right side is heating up better.
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Post  Guest 12/22/2017, 12:34 pm

Thanks dstack - it was 160 on side 2 last night, and I swapped more of the compost from the two sides.  When I go out to the 20+ degree garage in a bit, we'll see if side 1 has started heating.  Both sides were dripping leachate yesterday, so I'll let it dry out a bit today and see what happens next.
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Post  sanderson 12/22/2017, 1:36 pm

dstack wrote:154°!? That's awesome! Congrats!

This past weekend I left it open for an hour or two to let it dry out on top. Then I rotated it to find another soggy area and let that dry out. I did this about 4 times.  Now that right side is heating up better.
Dstack, I'm glad to see that someone else turns and airs out to reduce moisture. Very Happy

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Post  Guest 12/22/2017, 9:11 pm

With outdoor humidity of generally less than 20% here, drying out shouldn't be an issue - UNLESS leaving the door open for the better part of the day will slow down the process (by cooling things off in the 30-ish degree garage)...
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Post  Guest 12/26/2017, 3:13 pm

Hmmm, I don't know if my open door/drying session just cooled things off too much, or if it's part of the natural cycle, but neither side now is hot.  Yesterday it was side 1: 142 degrees, and side 2: 130 degrees.  This morning, it was 108 and 97 degrees.  I put some shredded cardboard and some aged rabbit poop and bedding in to see if it warms back up.  Hope I didn't screw this up...!  I knew I wasn't destined to be a hottie for long at my age!!
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Post  sanderson 12/27/2017, 2:12 am

I am thinking the extra cardboard is not the ingredient to add. ?? More "greens" perhaps? what say others?

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Post  dstack 12/27/2017, 8:56 am

Mine heated up to 130 on one side, while the other side is in need of being strained. Then I'll switch sides so I'm adding the fresh food scraps and leaves to the other side.
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Post  Guest 12/27/2017, 9:54 am

Do the dropping temps mean something I should know, or is this normal after about 14 days of composting?  I did add some aged rabbit poo for more nitrogen as well.  The cardboard was because it was still soggy...
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Post  No_Such_Reality 7/2/2018, 5:45 pm

Since my compost trash cans are all full at the moment of 80% finished compost, i consolidated and mixed a fresh batch in the third bin for a hot run.  Its a mix of green branch and leaf shrub trimmings, a pile of dry and green purple fountain grass from my nubification of it, the entire green waste bin from the yard clean up dominated by the scheflerra leaves all ground through the eco-shredder.  I wetted (over soaked), mixed and piled into the trash can composter.  Im a little low on greens i think as it heated slowly to about 125F.  On the Fourth day, i dumped turned and remixed adding additional greens by weddingwedding and adding about a six inch layer (spread throughout) of greens.  

Today im back to 125 but seem to be holding at 125.  Next turn day shou!d be July 4. Id really like to push the pile for a slightly higher hold temp. Other than trying to blend in another batch of greens any tricks to give a little umpf to my heating Ive missed in scanning the 26 pages of the thread?


We're also heading into a monsoonal air flow temps on Thurs, Fri and Saturday are supposed to push to 103F.  Given the high ambient temp should i turn more frequently or let it be?
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Post  donnainzone5 7/2/2018, 9:24 pm

NSR,

What about browns?  I suspect that's why your compost isn't heating up sufficiently.
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Post  sanderson 7/3/2018, 2:33 am

NSR, Volume. For a hot compost, 3'x3'x3' min to 4'x4'x4' max. Alfalfa pellets and used coffee grounds may help raise the temps but without volume, it just may not reach record temps. What volume is your container. (I noticed you said "dumped" so I assume it's kind of garbage can. ??

I'm having success with the 80-gallon, single chamber, Lifetime tumbler reaching 160*F.

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Post  No_Such_Reality 7/3/2018, 5:28 pm

The adding some additional greens helped. I'm currently running just shy of 140F .Looks like about 48C.  Originally too much browns as the scheflerra leaves quickly dry.  I think i over wetted too.  Its a little small for a pile only 50 gal but my tumbler is out of commission until i disassemble and replace a broken panel.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 7/3/2018, 8:56 pm

I am a coldie.  Worms, dirt.  Tossing.
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Post  Docwas 7/5/2019, 10:18 am

I use an actual composting thermometer because the usual kitchen thermometers are way to short to reach the core.  My three compost beds are 4'x4'x4'.  When I start a new pile, I layer greens and browns until it is full.  The next day I add more layers, then more layers the day after to account for the settling that occurs.  By the 3rd day, the core temp is 160F.  I monitor it daily and in it stays at 160 for 2 weeks.  Once it starts to drop and gets to 140F, I turn my pile into an adjacent bin, adding moisture to any dry spots.  Generally the temp doesn't get back up to 160F after turning, but it will get back to 150 and stay there for another 2 weeks.  Again, when it drops to 130F, I turn it again.  The temp climbs back up to 140F but generally starts to drop after about a week.  At this point, there is very little recognizable raw materials, so I simply monitor the temperature.  Once the temp drops down to the ambient air temps, I screen it through a tromel I made out of 24" bicycle rims, PVC pipe, and 1/4" hardware cloth.  The compost that falls through the screen goes into a 3rd bin where it sits until I need to use it in my SGF beds.  What doesn't go through the screen goes back into an empty bin and continues to decompose.  If I need mulch, I use this material.  I screen this material again to harvest more compost.  When I build a new pile, any remaining material that didn't go through the 1/4" screen will get layered into the new pile.  I have not had any issue with weeds growing in my beds because all weed seed is destroyed by the temps I get.  I also haven't worried about fungal diseases because those too are destroyed.
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Post  countrynaturals 7/5/2019, 10:34 am

Oh my, Docwas -- you must have the happiest plants in the entire SFG kingdom. praise  I let the chickens and rabbit do my composting. Embarassed Would love to see some pics of your SFG beds.
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Post  Dan in Ct 7/5/2019, 3:41 pm

Docwas, because you leave your compost pile at 160 F for two weeks I don't know how good your compost is, microbiologically speaking and will probably have to wait awhile to recover some beneficial microbes because not only have you killed the pathogens but also most of the beneficials as well.

http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/chapter1.pdf

Hot composting to be done correctly has to be closely monitored, turned and aerated at precise times to end up with good compost.
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Post  sanderson 7/6/2019, 4:38 pm

Hi Docwas!! Good to hear from you. happy hi


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Post  yolos 12/23/2021, 11:25 pm

Okay, I looked back over this thread.  There sure is a lot of information about making your compost pile hot.  It has been a while since I was able to maintain a hot pile.  This is about the hottest I have gotten in a long time.  Looks like about 138*F.  That's good for me but no where near as hot as some of the others posting here.  I remember one post where Sanderson had a pile over 160 (think it was about 166*F).

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Post  OhioGardener 12/24/2021, 8:18 am

That is doing good, Yolos!  160ºF should be the absolute max temp - anything above that is killing the beneficial microbes.  From the book on composting:

Thermophilic temperatures (105ºF to 160ºF) are the most effective and efficient for composting. The optimal temperature range is commonly believed to be 130ºF to 150ºF. Temperature should be frequently monitored using a thermometer and adjusted as needed throughout the composting process.


The "adjusted as needed" is the hardest part.

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Post  sanderson 12/25/2021, 3:19 pm

Yolos, 140*F is a respectable temp. I intentionally did the hot quick method to reach 160*F. It meant I had to turn it every time it climbed back up to 160*F or more, getting the inside to the outside and outside to the inside. A lot of horse manure and veggie culls with the straw and leaves. Considering it was a 3'x3'x3' bin, that was a lot of work to fork the volume onto a tarp in 2 piles and assemble it all back it again. If I had room for an adjacent bin to turn into, it would have been a heck of a lot easier. Enjoy the work for as long as you are physically able to do it. I'm now having to source a variety of bagged composts. Very Happy

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Post  Hawgwild 3/14/2022, 8:05 pm

Went out to aerate my two compost piles this afternoon with an auger on my drill. Was surprised to feel the warmth on the auger so checked the temp. Was hanging right at 130 degrees and this pile has only been going 4 days since last Thursday..

Must be doing something right.
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Have an older pile has really reduced in size and temp so will dig down and take the finished compost from it and reload.

Really enjoy doing this and getting some really good black gold in the process.
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