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What’s the difference between hot and cold compost piles

What’s the difference between hot and cold compost piles

Landscape Ideas Dallas: Cold and Hot Compost by Dallas Curb Appeal Landscape Contractor Maria Bargellini

A hot compost pile is just that, a pile of compost that is made to create heat to more quickly activate the biology in your decomposing matter and produce compost faster than a cold compost pile. You need to contain your pile in a made structure or purchase a bin that will limit the amount of airflow in your pile.

Temperature in a hot compost pile can reach over 170 degrees. Care must be taken not to allow the pile to reach or stay at 170 degrees. 130-150 degrees is ideal to kill weed seeds and excite the worms and microorganisms.  To lower the heat you can turn your pile or simply add water to it. For faster results your hot compost pile should be a mix of brown carbon material such as fallen leaves, and green nitrogen filled material such as grass clippings.

A cold compost pile is one that does not depend on the use of a container but may be contained in one. It is started the same way as a hot pile but the layers are not added all at once but overtime as it is collected. This may take 1-2 years to yield compost. Shredding of material can speed up the process. Care must be taken to ensure that the pile does not dry out and that it is turned regularly to mix the contents and stimulate the micro and macro organisms.

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