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how do u check temps??

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by pagarden on April 12, 2006 10:47 AM
how do you check temps in a compost bin? do i really need an accurate temp or can i just play it by "nose". i mean if it smells off- it's not cooking and i need to adjust it right? just curious after i read the previous post......
by Longy on April 12, 2006 02:50 PM
how do you check temps in a compost bin?
Put your hand in it. If it feels hot, it's working. If not, turn it and check the moisture content. Should be moist like a squeezed sponge.
Actual temp is as an added interest really.

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The secret is the soil.
by johnCT on April 12, 2006 08:00 PM
I never saw the need to know that actual temps. There is no mistaking when its cooking. You can feel the heat coming off of it.

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John - Zone 6
by pagarden on April 12, 2006 08:57 PM
thanks guys! [Smile]
by PAR_Gardener on April 13, 2006 01:11 PM
They do make compost thermometers. Check any gardening catalog. It should run you about $14. Measuring the actual temp gives you an idea when the pile is done cooking. I posted a link to a compost journal that I did a couple of years ago, and the core temp drops gradually over time. One might think that they're doing something wrong, but it's just an indication that the compost is almost ready for use. Of course, it doesn't hurt to let it age for a while, but if you're hot composting, then you want the compost in 2-4 weeks.

Don't stick your hand directly into the middle of a hot compost pile. The temps can reach 150 degrees F the first week. You can easily get a burn that way.

Otherwise you can use the obvious: put your hand over a recently turned pile, and you feel the heat. Steam will rise off of the pile as you turn it. You can use an indirect method too: after you have turned your pile, carefully touch the metal part of whatever you used to turn the pile to see how hot it is. Again, be cautious of burns using this method.

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Composting is more than good for your garden. It's a way of life.
by weezie13 on April 13, 2006 08:09 PM
Sometimes when you stick your hand in,
and not realize it, but all of a sudden
it's burning hotttttttttttt!!!
Especially with a bunch of loads of grass clippings with chopped leaves..

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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2


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