Valley Permaculture Alliance

I have been reading about compost, and have seen mixed advice on compost temperatures. Some say the hotter the better, other say keep it under 150 degree F. 

I added fresh grass mixed with dried leaves to my bin on Saturday.  Yesterday it was 170 degrees, so I added some more leaves to try to slow it down a bit.  Today it is even hotter ( about 172).  Is this killing the good bacteria?  Should I add more browns to  slow it down or should I let it cook?

 

thx

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It will self-regulate. If the temp is too high for the bacteria and fungi, it will cool down by itself. Attempting to keep it under 150 is a fool's errand and gives poor quality compost.

Good quality compost is produced in a very short time. Compost that takes a long time to develop has very poor nutritional properties, like most of what you see available in our area.

thx -- I will just leave it!  Less work for me, so this is good!

 

Theresa

hmmm my compost takes FOREVER and hard to get temp up in winter. Good reason NOT to add weeds:)

I try to balance the compost ingredients, mix and water.

My compost is basically on a break during winter too. I think having it in a tumbler or closed bin helps, but still.

Over 165 degrees kills all the weed and grass seeds and is considered desirable.  Keep compost piles away from structures as they are known to catch fire infrequently.  I would be very happy with those temps.

the issue is not getting to that temp in the winter  and summer seems enormous amount of water is being used on compost to keep moist.

add more grass clippings. Heats up the pile a lot and speeds the compost. Compost needs to be made relatively fast or it becomes low in nitrogen. The compost will use less water in the summer if its in a closed bin. I just got one from the city of phoenix. Call the transfer station and see if they have one and if so, they are $5. They use old garbage bins that they cut the bottoms off of and drill holes in the sides. The flip top lid stays intact.

Karis, you have it exactly correct!

It is silly seeing people attempting to make compost with open piles and pallets in the Valley. You have broken down materials at the end, but no nitrogen. If it takes much longer than two weeks, you really just have mulch.

wow .... mine seems to take close to a year with closed bins!

Not much grass in summer and did not reseed for winter. I always thought everything had to compost ( as in Vinny's class) so I keep throwing compost back in the bin. Sounds like I need to change my approach and start filtering sooner.  We have 2 closed bins, neither Phx city type

( in scottsdale) . Is phx bin with or without wheels? If wheels then do the sides of bin even touch the ground?

No, the bottom third of the bin is cut off, so it sits on the ground, there are holes drilled in the sides and the lid is intact. You can buy one even if you aren't technically a Phoenix resident.

We don't have any of our own grass clippings either because our lawn mower only mulches, so my neighbor gives me his and my dad brings his over every other week. I also add the manure and bedding (either wood shavings or straw) from my chicken coop weekly clean out. I spray it with water each time I add more material and turn it with a pitchfork at least once a week. i also have a tumbler, so I fill one and stop adding material until its all composted, so I have a bin I add to and one that I am waiting on to finish. My tumbler is almost done, so I will empty that one soon and will stop adding to the City of Phoenix bin once its full.

All my food scraps go to the chickens or the worm bin, so I am only composting grass clippings, chicken manure, straw, leaves and some spent plants from my garden.

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