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Urban Composting 101


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#21 Myc

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Posted 03 July 2008 - 07:25 PM

As I suspected, a fourth turn will not be necessary for this effort.
During the third turn, all traces of ammonia had dissipated indicating that nitrogen producing components had been exhausted.
Further, the pile temps have not risen above the ambient thus accomplishing another goal of composting:

Eliminate the pile's heat generating capabilities

I really didn't stress enough at the beginning, but in order to have a successful effort you really need to do the math and start here:

http://mycotopia.net...t-easy-way.html

This is an unavoidable step as over/ under supplementation is counterproductive to this effort probably resulting in a compost which is useless for mycelial production. Many thanks to Lazlo for this invaluable reference.

For those following a similar effort, should any traces of ammonia be present at the third turn, wait until temps drop below the 120*F mark prior to turning a fourth time.

At the fourth turn, the compost materials should have a moisture content of 70% +- and have a pH value of 7.0 - 7.5.

Test a representative sample using distilled water so as not to allow inconsistencies with local tap water to interfere with accurate results.
While I use a digital pH meter, there's just no beating simple litmus paper (available at your local brewer's supply in the 5.5 - 8.0 range).

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If if moisture content or pH are off a little, continue to turn the pile at two day intervals until these conditions are met.
Keep in mind that our efforts will differ slightly from those outlined in "TMC". Stamets' method deals in TONS of material rather than hundreds of pounds (as is much more likely the case with the humble home cultivator).

Stamets also does not speak of long term storage of compost. He assumes that the reader will immediately put to use these several hundred pounds of ready-to-spawn compost. Nor have I read any other information about long-term storage of our hard won compost.
It is here that I will begin conducting my own experiment and cover this idea in another thread.

It is my hope that this condensed version of countless hours of research and work will inspire other home cultivators to attempt such a simple and rewarding effort.

#22 BuckarooBanzai

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Posted 05 July 2008 - 10:14 AM

:bow:
Thanks for the props, man.

Thanks more for the contribution!

I can't take credit for the style, though. It is cribbed from the standard journal publication format (though they tend to take less pics).

#23 Lazlo

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 11:36 AM

Just dry it out for storage. A good day or 2 spread out in the sun will do it easily. If you don't dry it out after composting, the nitrogen levels will continue to fall as a slow composting continues. But if i'll end up using the compost within a month or so, I don't even concern myself with the drying of it out. Any kind of long term storage of the product should be dry though. A month or so won't kill you if not dry.

#24 Myc

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 11:50 AM

:bow:

Thanks Lazlo!

Couldn't have done this without you!

Out of curiosity, after the compost is dried and stored for awhile....
Is the pasteuriztion temp of 135*F still good or should it be increased?

#25 Lazlo

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 12:37 PM

It's 145 for 4 hours, 150 for 2 hours or 165 for 1 hour.

#26 Lazlo

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 01:02 PM

Myc, if you're wondering why I posted 3 different temperatures and times, it's because the 145 and the 150 more than likely can only be achieved via steam. Most ovens don't go that low and trying to maintain a compost core temperature in those ranges for those times will be a pain in the ass. The 165 core temperature for 1 hour is easy to do in an oven with the compost in turkey bags like this.


http://mycotopia.net...=1&d=1215365620

You put a meat thermo in a bag and let the oven pasteurize the compost for several hours on it's lowest setting until the thermo reads 165. Once it hits 165, start your one hour time.

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#27 Myc

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 09:02 PM

I've been pasteurizing in a hot water bath.
Would like to try the oven method though since the water bath seems to leach out the "goods".

Is that just a piece of pipe stuffed with poly-fil for ventilation?

#28 Lazlo

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Posted 06 July 2008 - 10:23 PM

I did the hot water bath as you know, but noticed an inconsistency in colonizations compared to those of steam or dry heat. With the dry heat, I put the compost in the 19X23 inch turkey bags to a near fill (not like the ones above), pour a quart of water in each bag and then install the pvc necks stuffed with polyfil. Just like the DIY spawn bags here in the archives. Attached with a piece of picture hanging wire and pasteurized for nearly 12 hours in the oven @ 170 degrees. 180 even works fine if your oven doesn't go to 170. Put a meat thermo in one of the bags and then after 6 or 8 hours, check the temperature to see where you're at. At around 10 hours the core temperatures hit 150 or so for me. Once the core hits 165, time 1 hour and that's it. I have a steam pasteurizer too, but won't run it when doing only a few pounds of compost.

The bags above are smaller ones that have holes in them. I didn't even notice the damn holes until I had installed the necks into the bags. :lol: I wouldn't have put the necks in with those holes being in there.




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