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A compost thermometer is a necessary piece of equipment for hot composting in a home garden setting and for commercial operators. It gives you an indication of the microbial activity, telling you when it needs to get turned and indicates if your carbon and nitrogen ratio of your compost materials were adequate. The higher the heat, the faster your materials will break down. But you don’t want it too hot to loose nitrogen and other nutrients and you also don't want your pile to go anaerobic.
With measuring the temperature you will see if you have added too much green material (gone too hot) or not enough (too cold) and if your moisture level was adequate (not enough moisture, no microbial activity). This will help you make a better compost the next time and will make you a better gardener.
Without a thermometer you are merely guessing and you cannot improve this valuable skill as a home or commercial gardener.
Measuring and monitor the center temperature of a thermal compost heap or windrow with our KoruKai thermometers. Take 2-3 readings per m2 heap and 3-6 readings for a windrow.
LOW (30-40 °C): 24-48 hours after the construction of a compost pile
MEDIUM (40-55 °C): 2-3 days after construction of a compost pile
HOT (55-68 °C): CONGRATULATIONS your pile is now officially a thermal compost. We aim to get to 55 °C within about 3 days.
TURN (68-74 °C):
- If you reach 68 °C within 3/4 days, you very likely need to turn your pile now as it will go higher than that.
- However if you have reached 68 °C on day 6 it could be your peak temperature. So monitor closely and decide if you need to turn or open up the center to reduce the temperature.
- A pile at 74°C needs to be turned asap.
Higher than 75 °C: A pile higher than 75 °C needs to be turned with utmost care because alcohols have been created, your pile is likely to be anaerobic and it can burst into flames.
Below a video how to measure the temperature of a compost pile.
It can also be used to measure the temperature of soil in spring which helps you decide on the time to plant out your first crops/seedlings.
Please note: Hermetically sealed to avoid fogging and moisture. We suggest to store indoors or in a garden shed for a longer lasting product.
This is why we make hot/thermal compost at KoruKai Herb Farm:
Read more about it in the link below.
ARTICLE: THE ART AND SCIENCE OF THERMAL COMPOSTING
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|Ingredients||1 stainless steel compost thermometer|