Hot compost – step by step

The Berkeley method – step by step

Hot compost is a high-quality compost that can be produced in 18 days, if you apply the right technique. There are many techniques for producing the hot compost that were mostly invented by the Regenerative Leadership Institute, New Jersey regenerative institute and Vladislav Davidzon. I will try to explain to you one technique step-by-step, in order to understand it better. The key is that you have to do all the steps in the right order if you want to get the high-quality compost.

Hot Compost Method for Beginners

Compost ring #4I assume now that you have already prepared the place for the heap, that will consist of various organic materials. The first thing, which is crucial, is that you put one layer of “greens” and then one layer of “browns”. The term “greens” refers to organic material that contains a high level of nitrogen (N), such as grass clippings, fruit or vegetable scraps and animal’s manure as well. The brown layer refers to materials that have carbon (C) element in abundance. Some of these materials are : sawdust, dried leaves, branches or cardboard; all the materials that are dry and brown, which rot very slowly. After you make this multilayer pile, you wet it until is saturated. Leave it like that for four days. On the fourth day, turn the heap over, inside to outside and vice versa.  You have to ensure the moisture, it has to be wet all the time, in order to get the process of degrading activated. Also be cautious that compost is too wet; in that case, spread it down or you can make a hole about 3 inches wide, using the stick and in that way a surplus of water will come out. At the sixth day, the temperature of compost will reach its maximum. The best way to determine whether it reached its maximum temperature is to use thermometer; the temperature should be 50 degrees Celsius. Another way, though not really precise, is to use your hand-you put it in the compost and feel the temperature. The first technique is preferred due to it’s precision.

Permaculture In 3 Minutes – Regenerative Leadership Institute from RegenerativeLeadership Institute on Vimeo.

leaf_covered_pileHave in mind that temperature can be in the range between 55 and 65 degree Celsius, but also note that the temperature must not go over 65. At temperatures over 65, you will get a white mould that spreads through the compost and there will be also a lack of oxygen in your compost. After few days, the temperature will gradually cool down until the 18th day. There is few indicators that can show you wheter you are doing the right job : if your compost starts to come down, it has a lack of nitrogen, which is not so good. If it also gets smaller but gets too hot and smelly, it means that it has too much of nitrogen-throw a handful of sawdust to stop this. There is also one thing you should remember-during the process, it releases methane so be very careful about it; you don’t want to blow yourself in the air. After the process is finished, on the 18th day,  you should get a warm, dark brown compost that smells good. Another sign that the compost is ready is the presence of worms. In that way you know it is ready because it’s cooled down and full of valuable nutrients.