It is always interesting to take your compost temperature to see how it is working. You can do this with a special compost thermometer I had a nice surprise the other day to see that my compost was quite hot — 134 degrees. This is a picture of my thermometer in the compost. I could feel the heat radiating off the compost. When I opened the compostumbler there was steam coming off it and this was on a hot summer day. It seems that whenever I add coffee grounds the compost gets hot like this.
The thing about compost is that it happens, sometimes more slowly, sometimes fast. When it gets hot like this it is happening fast. Don’t worry — if your compost is not hot it will still turn into compost just more slowly. I did a batch of compost in a trash can and it never got hot. I made sure I had a good mixture of greens and browns. I could tell it was composting, though, because it kept shrinking in the trash can. I just dumped it out after about 2 months and it was very nice compost except for some of the old flower stems. They were very coarse and woody so they didn’t completely break down. But the compost was still great–dark and crumbly with that sweet earthy smell. I have been putting it around some of my plants as a compost mulch. Creating compost out of all your kitchen and garden scraps is a great way to go green and help the earth.