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Question: Why is my compost mix hot?
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Srikanth
Serilingampally, Hyderabad
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July 24, 2012 - 4:47 pm
Member Since: October 27, 2010
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Hello All,

 

I have mixed the following:

Vermicompost – 20 KG
Neem Powder – 5 KG
Pongamia Powder – 1 KG
Custard Apple seed powder – 1/2 KG
Trichoderma Viride (mixed in organic compost) – 20 gms

I let it sit overnight. This morning when I touched it, it felt hot. It was around 56º C (See the attached image – 53.3).

https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/t44qyF0MUYmVaxVIEYpDVxss8_fFJ9hqcUoGE2eOeig?feat=directlink

My question is why did it get hot.The vermicompost itself was cool to touch. The ambient temperature was around 25ºC.

I know that it is due to the bacterial activity but why is hot only after mixing them all together?

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Srikanth

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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July 24, 2012 - 4:52 pm
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srikanth,

The heat is due to the decomposition of the cakes that you added. Before you mixed, the vermi compost itself is well decomposed but when you added the cakes that are raw, the microbial activity begins and hence the heat.

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Srikanth
Serilingampally, Hyderabad
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July 24, 2012 - 5:01 pm
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GG,

Ok, that is good to know. How high can these temperatures go? The reason I am asking this question is that if I were to add this mixture to a container (not soil in the ground) in large quantities and did not water the container then there is very good chance of the plant roots getting burnt. I think for plants such as Tomatoes, if the root zone temperature exceeds 35º C the plant will get affected. Therefore too much of organic fertilizers too can be harmful if not properly used., Correct?

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Srikanth

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geekgardener
Bangalore, India
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July 24, 2012 - 5:09 pm
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These temperatures can go upto 60 sometimes even more.  Actually, from my store, people take oil cakes. My suggestion to them was, mix it with soil mix and leave it for couple of weeks and use it for containers. The fact that your compost is heating up so fast is a good sign that it has good amount of nitrogen in it and the Carbon to nitrogen ratio is optimal.

 

You are absolutely right. If the compost is not decomposed properly, then there are high chances that itmight burn the plant roots.  Too much of organic fertilizer is also bad. yes.

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Srikanth
Serilingampally, Hyderabad
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July 24, 2012 - 5:11 pm
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Thanks GG. As always the learning never ends.

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Srikanth

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