Now We’re Cookin!
- Students will be able to describe why compost heats up and define thermophilic composting.
Teach the Teacher
- Compost Physics
- Why Compost Heats Up
- Compost Log Triggers
- Permaculture, homesteading, and compost-powered heating in the Vermont hills (VIDEO)
Tools & Materials
- Compost thermometer
- Steader Journal
Composting occurs in the natural world without notice. Leaves fall along with pine needles, pieces of bark, and even dead trees. The organic material layers on the forest floor providing habitat for all sorts of creepy crawlers and helps the soil retain moisture under it.
Over time, this organic debris breaks down releasing nutrients back into the soil and providing structure for seed germination and root development. It’s a critical component to the natural cycle of the forest.
But in the corner of nearly every garden is a pile of lawn clippings, brown leaves, and kitchen scraps that is undergoing a similar process of thermophilic composting. As the microbes break down the organic material heat is created and the process super-charges. At the peak, temperatures can reach 160 degrees in the center of the pile.
Using the Steader Journal to record your daily temperature data, create a graphical representation of the thermophilic profile of the composting process from beginning to end.
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