Pile not getting hot enough.

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Pile not getting hot enough.
Author: Reg (Reg)
Monday, January 09, 2012 - 10:24 am
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Pile got to 32C again about a week after top-up. Will try adding weekly, thanks for advice.
Reg

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Friday, December 09, 2011 - 1:12 am
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As composting proceeds, moisture can be evapourated off, leaving the pile to dry in the middle. I have noticed fungal growth in the old hay. This fungus can be species of Aspergillus, some of which can lead to spores being inhaled causing disease. So wet down the pile in the middle before adding more humanure.
I agree with the hint that as the pile becomes bigger, you will get higher temps.

Author: Joe (Joe)
Tuesday, December 06, 2011 - 12:43 pm
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Try feeding the pile more frequently - weekly if possible.

Author: Reg (Reg)
Sunday, December 04, 2011 - 8:36 am
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We feed the pile with 4 buckets and 1 bucket of scraps, it'd been working out that this every three weeks.
I will try more water (rainwater) and see if that helps.
Many thanks.

Author: Nancybeetoo (Nancybeetoo)
Friday, December 02, 2011 - 12:25 am
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@Reg
Your pile might be too dry. If the sawdust is very dry and you are using a lot of it the resulting mix might be too dry.

Try making a bowl shape and watering the pile. Give it a gallon or two of water in the middle of the pile a day for a week or so.

Any high moisture/high nitrogen material will help the compost heat up. Any food waste is wet and high in nitrogen. Knothead asked his neighbors to save vegetable scraps for him. I used to seek out roadkill for my compost. I always got a gratifying boost in temperature after adding a dead squirrel. Clean out your freezer or your neighbors freezer. Clean oit a chicken coop. :-)

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 8:15 pm
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@reg - I think cutting back the sawdust a bit should help. (Also, lets hope you are not using a difficult sawdust to compost.). Also as the mass of the pile increases heat should start building up. I find that the bigger the pile gets it seems to get hotter.

Its also possible the thermometer is defective - if you dig down into the pile is it steaming ?

Author: Joe (Joe)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 11:40 pm
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How often do you feed the pile? How much do you give it each time?

Author: Reg (Reg)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 10:54 am
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Hi thanks for your response.
The sawdust I am using is used as bedding for dairy cows, it's bone dry and quite fine, I don't know what the wood is, but will find out.
Pile is about 2ft high now.
Thermometer goes in about 15".
I think we are using to much dust, trying to use less now.
Just checked the temperature today, it's 32degs C, put 4 buckets + bucket of veg scraps in last week.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Friday, November 25, 2011 - 11:44 pm
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Sawdust - Any Idea of tree type ? From treated wood ? Also I am pretty sure the "BOOK" says rotted saw dust works best. If you search this post certain kinds of sawdust seem to slow down the decomposition speed.

How high is the pile ?

How deep into pile is the thermometer reaching ?

Are the people using the buckets putting too much sawdust in as cover material - you usually only need a relatively thin layer of cover material, however, if it still smells after say a half hour add another thin layer.

Author: Reg (Reg)
Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 2:08 pm
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Yes everything goes in.

Author: Joe (Joe)
Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 12:14 pm
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Are you including urine?

Author: Reg (Reg)
Thursday, November 24, 2011 - 8:13 am
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I started composting 4 months ago using old hay for the cover material in a bin 4ft x 4ft. I use fine saw dust as a cover material in the loo which is used by one occasionally 2 people. All kitchen vegetable scraps go in the pile, the highest temperature I have had to date is 30degs C. Current ambient temperature is about 10degs C. Any advice would be appreciated.

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