Friday, November 24, 2017

Compost warming up as weather worsens...

Cleo assumed this position at the allotment gate the second we arrived: none of her usual sniffing around. Hates bad weather, that dog. So I didn't hang around. There was a new bag from the florist, approx 10kg of green material. I dumped that by the heap, not taking the time to turn it over and mix in the new stuff. There was also a large amount of kitchen waste - a bag of split peas past their sell-by date, and a bag of frozen peas which had been pressed into service as a cold compress, plus the usual teabags and turnip peelings.

But the headline news is in the photo below: ambient temperature 3C, (on a thermometer nearby) and the compost thermometer showing 15C.

Still a long way to go: I've read that with regular turning a heap can get to 50 or 60C, (though I've never seen that myself), so maybe it's on the way. I was turning it every other day, but this week have left it alone since Tuesday. I'll turn it again with the new material over the weekend.

The ideal situation will be that it warms up to 40C+, and stays that way over winter providing a small local microclimate for various wildlife, (near the pond, incidentally), and breaking down at such a rate that it remains at a manageable size as approximately 10kg of material per week is added. It could be like a volcanic vent in the deep ocean of an allotment winter. Or something.

I say 'approximately... per week', I have only just started keeping a record of when I get bags of florist offcuts and guinea pig litter; and I'm estimating the 10kg too - casual work at a Royal Mail sorting office years ago has made me aware of what a 20lb/10kg mail bag feels like.