Compost heat!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

This topic got started on the Solar for the Barn thread....
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/926826/
but I thought for the sake of sanity and folks with dial-up (like me) I'd start a new thread specifically about trying to utilize the heat generated by compost...

So here's the bin. It's 5' across and 4' tall. I've lined it with a dead tarp I had lying around. I scavenged most of the shavings from my manure pile, but unfortunately didn't have as much as I thought as it had... composted already. }: So now we are adding our daily stall cleanings, which is shavings, manure and urine-soaked shavings. The idea is to fill the bin, and hope the temps stays up for months...

Thumbnail by Jayryunen
Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Here's a pic of the compost therm today, in case there are doubters... we awoke to 14* outside this am, so this is to let you know you can start a hot pile anytime, as long as you can work the 'raw materials'. =0)

You can also get an idea of the mix... mostly shavings..

Thumbnail by Jayryunen
Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

How will you utilize the heat?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

When I figure out the recipe, I'll run tubing through the pile and then out and around an insulated water tank for the donks...

the original idea came from an article in Back Home magazine by a woman who used the heat to heat the tables her seedling flats were on in the greenhouse. When you've got the time, go back and read the 'Solar for the Barn' thread, there's a lot of great info and ideas there...

Today.... 14* out, the pile is still 140*...

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

This is not looking good...
temp down to 118* this morning. 10* ambient temp at 7:30 am

I'd like it to stabilize over 100*. The pile in the article stabilized at 120*. The shavings may not be coarse enough to sustain weeks long digestion...

I remember a pile of chipped trees branches my mom got for the garden steaming all winter when I was a kid... Hmmmm....

Midday update:
I moved the thermometer around a bit. The temp goes up closer to the center of the pile (duh) and is still around 130* 18" in from the sides. This means any coils will need to be pretty far into the pile... good to know. I've used a dead silver tarp around the sides, which is probably reflecting solar gain; I figured it wouldn't matter, as the heat is being generated by the microbes in the pile, but it might make a difference in the temps around the edges.

Edited to add data

This message was edited Jan 28, 2009 12:41 PM

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Today the pile is down to 90*, so this mix of shavings and manure isn't the recipe.

My next go will be wood chips rather than shavings. I'll post that info when I get it set up. It'll be a few weeks, though. I'm booked solid til the middle of Feb. anyway.

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

What do you have on tap for the first part of the month? If I may be so nosey. LOL

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Traveling... =0)

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