Maintaining a Hot Compost Pile – 3 Keys to Success / How to Compost #2

hi everyone well it’s been about four
days since I built this compost pile right behind me here keeping it covered
to keep the heat in and to keep the critters out we built in a compost sack
and today it’s time to check in to make sure it’s getting hot and I’m also gonna
share what it takes to maintain a hot compost pile so you get that black
garden gold even faster so if you missed the first video make sure to go back and
watch it see you exactly how to build your compost pile
I shared five tips on how to build a pile that breaks down faster number one
we built it nice and tall a tall pile would get hotter which will break down
your materials faster number two we use the right materials a good mixture of
greens and browns number three we chopped up our materials nice and small
number four we added water so they’re nice and moist like a wrung out sponge
and number five we mix them together to introduce air well believe it or not
there’s actually a lot going on into that black cover as long as those five
tips are in place your compost pile will be heating up and those tiny organisms
called microbes will be busily reproducing and eating all the organic
matter you put into your compost pile and turning it into light fluffy soil
let’s open it up and see if it’s getting hot so first off let’s just get the
cover off the Smart Pots Compost Sak and I really do like this cover because not
only does it keep the critters out but it also really helps keep the heat and
the moisture in the sack the compost pile is smelling nice and
earthy already I just love that smell when you’re maintaining a hot compost
pile there’s three keys to success you want to monitor the temperature of the
pile the moisture and the air so I can feel that it’s hotter ready just by
holding my hand over the pile but we are going to get a more accurate reading of
the temperature with my compost thermometer and I’m also going to show
you how to do it with a piece of rebar so first we’re just going to check to
see if the piles getting hot with a simple piece of rebar you can use
anything that’s metal that conducts heat we’ll just put it down into the middle
of the pile let it sit for a few moments and if we pull it out when it’s hot that
means our pile is hot so the optimal temperature to keep the microbes happy
is 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit at this temperature they’re reproducing quickly
eating the organic matter and it’s also hot enough to kill most weed seeds and
harmful bacteria so to get a more accurate reading we’re gonna use a
compost thermometer now if you’ve never used one of these before it’s simply a
thermometer on top of a stick that you can put in the middle of the pile to
monitor the temperature and right now it’s about 60 degrees cuz that’s what it
is outside today let’s pop it the middle the pile and see how hot it is so let’s
just put our compost thermometer right into the middle of the pile the middle
of the pile is where it’s the hottest Wow look it’s already going up so fast
thirty passing a hundred degrees heading up towards 120 it’s definitely in the
steady and active zone which is a good sign I pushed it down a little bit
further just past 130 moving on up towards 140 definitely in the hot zone
well I am super excited that my pile is heating up to a hundred and forty
degrees now I know what you might be thinking isn’t this dangerous is it my
pile gonna catch on fire and the answer is no 130 to 140 degrees
is not hot enough for your pile to catch on fire
once it gets into the hundred and seventy to 180 degree range then you
need to be worried but we’re definitely gonna be monitoring this pile every day
to see what the temperature is and if it gets over a hundred and fifty degrees
we’re gonna break it open with a shovel to aerate it and cool it down to a safe
temperature now let’s take a look at the piece of rebar I’m just gonna pull it
out Wow it is steaming hot the end of it feels
nice and warm so it’s a super simple way to tell me that my pile is getting hot
if you’re having trouble with your compost pile not getting hot add some
more green materials this would be food scraps from your kitchen fresh leaves
from your trees or my favorite is coffee grounds because they’re already nice and
small you could just mix them right into your pile to help get your pile cooking
monitoring the temperature is the first key to success in hot composting that
will break down faster so I’m going to monitor the temperature daily with my
compost thermometer or with my rebar when the temperature drops down below
110 degrees or when my rebar is no longer hot when I pull it out I’m going
to turn the pile which will introduce some air which is the second key to
success in hot composting now when you turn your pile it aerates it helps it
heat up again and really kick starts those microbes back into action so I’ll
come back and do that on another video so make sure you subscribe so you don’t
miss it the third key to maintaining a
successful hot compost pile is to monitor the moisture you don’t want it
to be too dry because then the microbes will die you don’t want it to be too wet
because then your pilot could go anaerobic which means you have harmful
bacteria in the pile so if you notice a foul odor that probably means that your
pile is too moist in which case you can add more it Browns more dried leaves to
help absorb the moisture now if your pile looks too dry you’ll definitely
want to add some more water to it and mine looks just about right but I will
be monitoring that along with the temperature and then adding water as
needed well there you have it three keys to maintaining a successful hot compost
pile monitoring the temperature making sure your soil has the right moisture
and making sure it has the right airflow so that it stays hot and breaks down
into beautiful black garden gold to feed your vegetables so we’re gonna come back
later and do that third video on how to turn the pile make sure you subscribe so
you don’t miss it comment below let me know how composting is going in your
garden thanks so much for watching we’ll see you on the next video

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2 thoughts on “Maintaining a Hot Compost Pile – 3 Keys to Success / How to Compost #2

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    Are you making compost? Share your tips for maintaining a hot compost pile so it breaks down faster! Thanks for watching!

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