Thermometer depth

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Thermometer depth
Author: Rman (Rman)
Monday, September 08, 2014 - 1:11 am
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Like life threads grow and sometimes travel new paths. It is all good. Thanks for the info and good luck with the new community.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Sunday, September 07, 2014 - 8:38 pm
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Rman, personally I came into this group because of my own needs. I have travelled most of my life without family around me. That was easier to cope with when younger and immersed in business/professional life, but now in my 70's I need the feeling of belonging - and this group is something I feel willing to devote my energies to. And it's growing!
I am not university trained in anything, only a diploma in medical radiography, but the alternative energy and appropriate technology epitomized in the Humanure concept are areas of passion for me right now. So I spend a lot of time looking after the composting toilets, food waste, chicken, general odd-jobs and maintenance.
There are other people with other skills far better equipped for the day-to-day management and "set-up" of the village, but I feel a part of it.
Joe, hope you don't mind me adding this personal account stuff here on the Message Board.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Sunday, September 07, 2014 - 1:59 pm
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Thanks for the links Alan, very interesting. How involved are you in the set up?

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Sunday, September 07, 2014 - 12:53 pm
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Herewith links as requested.
Lots of ongoing learning, of course. We work hard to keep focused. My composting set-ups are really intended to demonstrate that we can "think outside of the square," and find better ways of meeting our environmental needs without stomping the ground under a huge footprint.

http://tasmanecovillage.org.au/news-happenings/news/page/2/
http://tasmanecovillage.org.au/
http://tasmanecovillage.org.au/people/teva/

Author: Rman (Rman)
Sunday, September 07, 2014 - 9:01 am
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Alan, does your eco village have an online presence? Read up on one in the states called "Dancing Rabbit". I am always interested in hearing about all types of non mainstream living trials or initiatives.

Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Sunday, September 07, 2014 - 12:42 am
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Rman .... you said "The world is an exciting place.... I don't get out much." I hope you are not referring to your time spent actually in the compost heap! (Wink, wink)

I am currently involved with a budding eco-village. We do get a considerable amount of food waste from the communal kitchen. I am conscious of the public reaction to composting toilets and, so that I can show anyone who asks, I keep the humanure and food waste bins separate. The humanure bins are strictly labelled, with close-off and potential emptying dates clearly stated, so the compost remains a full year after closure. Thermophilic temperatures are achieved usually, but not always. But at least I get temperatures consistently up around 45 degrees C.

The food wast bins (two, sequentially) are bigger and receive much more additions daily. They don't receive much sawdust although I do use if for dry-cleaning the kitchen receptacles and this goes into the compost bin. 60 C is fairly easily attained, but I have to make sure there is good aeration between the layers. This is helped by using straw (not hay) from the chicken shed, including chicken droppings which all help in the composting process.

I feel safe in using the composted food waste after about 6-9 months if it has broken down well. It's never completely mature compost and the best way of adding it to the soil is by trench-digging it to a depth of about 15 cm (6 in).

It's early springtime here now in southern Tasmania and a lot of weeds are being pulled from the new growing beds. I am layering the weeds into both the humanure and food waste bins.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Saturday, September 06, 2014 - 7:18 pm
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Sept 06/2014 and my compost pile is now just over 2 months old. Today I had a temp reading of 132 F which is the first time I have seen it in the hot zone. Apparently size does matter.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 8:22 am
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Had a temp of 126 yesterday, almost into the hot zone. The world is an exciting place.... I don't get out much.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Monday, August 11, 2014 - 7:25 am
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I am seeing temperature differences of 8 to 15 degrees F every time I take the thermometer from fully engaged to a more shallow depth in the active area. I am leaving the probe fully in the pile most of the time to keep its exposure limited but when I want an accurate temp I retract into the upper area and wait about 3 minutes.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - 9:52 pm
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Today my temp was 120 with the thermometer just past the cover material, 115 if it was pushed in another 6 inches or so. Tomorrow should be the hottest day so I will take the time to read all the way in, half out and mostly out to see the difference.

Author: Emasally (Emasally)
Tuesday, August 05, 2014 - 12:35 pm
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i did this experiment and my temperature did change from the deep probe to the top layer of the pile..but not very much, and only in one spot. like just a few degrees (the top being a bit warmer) i am having a problem with my heat in general right now so not sure i am a good tester. i am sitting around 90-100

Author: Rman (Rman)
Sunday, August 03, 2014 - 10:46 pm
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Just thought to look up the manufacturers blurp about their product and copied the following about the reotemp composting thermometer.

"The clear, easy-to-read dial, with the pointer directly driven by the sensitive bi-metal helix in the bottom of the stem, ".

I take that to mean that the reading on the dial is the temp at the bottom of the stem or point. If I am interpreting this correctly then the thermometer should be pushed in so the point is in the active compost. In larger piles that may be all the way in but in my pile of only 1 month old the main temp reading would have been in the bio sponge. Since it is an all metal stem then some transfer would be happening but it would not give accurate readings. Unless I am wrong.

Author: Rman (Rman)
Sunday, August 03, 2014 - 10:03 pm
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It was suggested to me by a former poster that part of my low temp problem with my compost might be how deep I had my thermometer pushed into the pile. Today before adding to the pile I reached down and retracted the thermometer so it was just in the top of the pile where last weeks addition would be. Within 3 minutes the reading went from 90 to 105 F. This would mean that temps of 115 had been reached this week and 122 last week. Has anyone else tried putting the tip of the thermometer into the active area of the pile? Is this a valid reading and does that mean I need to have it in that far until my pile gets bigger?

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