Building A Compost Pile - Knowledgebase Question

Modesto, CA
Question by caniusbiggus
December 9, 2000
My soil doesn't hold water real well and the summers get very hot. For the last three years I've avoided fertilizer and pesticides, trying to bring my soil, and thus my garden back to an organic state.I began to build a compost pile in the area that will be my garden in the spring. I expected heat, but I'm also getting ash. I had the pile covered for a while to protect it from the rain. It's uncovered now and the heat seems to be going away, but the ash still puzzles me and I'm not getting the detritus feeders I was hoping for. Do I need to do something different?


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Answer from NGA
December 9, 2000

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ones that do most of the work. (You don't want a temperature much higher than approx. 158F because higher than that for prolonged periods can destroy beneficial bacteria and fungi.)

I'm really puzzled that you're finding ashes in your pile. Perhaps the ashy-looking matter is actually fungus, not ashes, because you excluded air when you covered the pile. At any rate, keep turning your pile and you'll have finished compost in no time at all.
ones that do most of the work. (You don't want a temperature much higher than approx. 158F because higher than that for prolonged periods can destroy beneficial bacteria and fungi.)

I'm really puzzled that you're finding ashes in your pile. Perhaps the ashy-looking matter is actually fungus, not ashes, because you excluded air when you covered the pile. At any rate, keep turning your pile and you'll have finished compost in no time at all.

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