Hot Composting - The Berkeley Method


Steve Randles

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Anyone heard of this or actually use it? I have always produced hot heaps using equal brown and greens in a heap 4 ft square and this method seems to have too much browns in to me at 30 parts brown to one part green.

Hot Compost – Composting in 18 Days

snippet from the above page

"The requirements for hot composting using the Berkeley method are as follows:

Compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 degrees Celsius
The C:N (carbon:nitrogen) balance in the composting materials is approximately 25-30:1
The compost heap needs to be roughly 1.5m high
If composting material is high in carbon, such as tree branches, they need to be broken up, such as with a mulcher
Compost is turned from outside to inside and vice versa to mix it thoroughly
With the 18 day Berkley method, the procedure is quite straightforward:

Build compost heap
4days – no turning
Then turn every 2nd day for 14 days"

It is used quite extensively and there is lots of information online about it, but that all revolves around how to do it. What I want to know is, is the compost any good, will it feed plants or does the method just make a good mulch? Here in the UK we use 50/50 greens and browns and make a good rich compost, 10/90 greens and browns for the Berkeley method goes against the grain for us here.

Steve...:)
 
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The link claims that the HOT-composted pile has the same volume after the composting process. How is that possible?

Just the loss of internal moisture of the compost ingredients causes a loss in volume (just like the dehydration process). Then you have to ask, what is compost? Compost is simply manure, for lack of a better word. It's simply the waste product of various organisms. How are they going to crap out the same volume as they take in?

I can see a greater loss in cold composting, because over time, much of the composted materials are leached into the ground, but to say that there is no loss in volume in the hot-composting method, I can't see.

Granted, I've never hot composted before, but I'm very skeptical.
 
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That link made my head hurt.

An area of reading which will enlighten your general question revolves around lignin and sugars (starches) and the by products therein and the question you have about how good compost can be made. I do not think the biology is that fast.

Another way to answer your question is to consider the bulk of a tree laying rotting on a forest floor. The very first thing attacked is the ramial wood. The link has details about lignin usage and humic processes as well. Longer read warning. Again, I do not think the biology is that fast.

Let me say that Berkley is in USDA zone 9b and has a last frost date of Jan 1-10. This means that on any given day, a compost pile is surround by higher ambient temps than on in the UK. I say that because this idea of 14 days could disappoint some depending on local climate. Again, I do not think they are doing much but cooking compost, and stopping its biological process prematurely.

I make my compost sometimes, and this idea of greens vs browns amuses me, because I am usually piling and composting what I am given from the land as opposed to sorting a recipe. I use oxygen pipes, molasses, post beer fertilizer and what have you based on how a pile is doing to kick it along if necessary... I just do not have time for all that other salad making crap.

I usually pile by type, leaves for example, because they come at once, sticks and twigs because they go into a chipper pile, chips because the chipper has to point somewhere and sawdust when a tree felling project produces it.

Without a doubt my favorite is leaf compost. But I have priority in where and how I use the composts. If I were those Berkely guys I would just chip it up and use it as mulch, because that is what they are making by leaving out the last part of the process. It will get digested either way, just less work for me. Their mistake would be to incorporate their biologically unfinished product into the soil compared to a compost full of myco. But at least they got past the nitrogen sucking part if they do. I still think it would serve better on top of the soil in either form.

I forgot about the kitchen scrap pile Becky puts out into a bin she got from her Dad's estate. I do not use that one much, it is where I hide the dead squirrels and such. They disappear because that pile is so hot. Not temperature hot, biologically alive hot. It needs to be named actually.
 
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zigs

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Tried to do it, it's good when it turns on :love:
 

G.W

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Anyone heard of this or actually use it? I have always produced hot heaps using equal brown and greens in a heap 4 ft square and this method seems to have too much browns in to me at 30 parts brown to one part green.

Hot Compost – Composting in 18 Days

snippet from the above page

"The requirements for hot composting using the Berkeley method are as follows:

Compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 degrees Celsius
The C:N (carbon:nitrogen) balance in the composting materials is approximately 25-30:1
The compost heap needs to be roughly 1.5m high
If composting material is high in carbon, such as tree branches, they need to be broken up, such as with a mulcher
Compost is turned from outside to inside and vice versa to mix it thoroughly
With the 18 day Berkley method, the procedure is quite straightforward:

Build compost heap
4days – no turning
Then turn every 2nd day for 14 days"

It is used quite extensively and there is lots of information online about it, but that all revolves around how to do it. What I want to know is, is the compost any good, will it feed plants or does the method just make a good mulch? Here in the UK we use 50/50 greens and browns and make a good rich compost, 10/90 greens and browns for the Berkeley method goes against the grain for us here.

Steve...:)
Composting............I live in North Carolina at the coast. I think some have made a very simple process very complicated. I just had a big trash barrel for a long time then a friend gave me a wonderful barrel that sets in a stand and I can just fill it and roll it. But I don't have a spot on the ground because I don't want to deal with rodents. We have an apartment complex behind us so it tends to draw the unwanted creatures. So this way I turn my bin and as it breaks down I put in in my gardens. Also when my beds are empty I just dig a trench and place my kitchen scraps and garden refuse right in the ground and cover up with soil. Also I drilled a few a holes in the base of my compost barrel to make Compost Tea! Keep it simple and just enjoy the benefits of Composting! GW
 
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Composting............I live in North Carolina at the coast. I think some have made a very simple process very complicated. I just had a big trash barrel for a long time then a friend gave me a wonderful barrel that sets in a stand and I can just fill it and roll it. But I don't have a spot on the ground because I don't want to deal with rodents. We have an apartment complex behind us so it tends to draw the unwanted creatures. So this way I turn my bin and as it breaks down I put in in my gardens. Also when my beds are empty I just dig a trench and place my kitchen scraps and garden refuse right in the ground and cover up with soil. Also I drilled a few a holes in the base of my compost barrel to make Compost Tea! Keep it simple and just enjoy the benefits of Composting! GW
I read an on-line article long ago about how one person really had "hot composting" and had results within a week or two from what I remember. He dug trenches, filled them with material to compost, then poured ammonia on top of the fill. I am assuming that he planted in that same area.
 
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My very best compost, which is really light and crumbly, was started in a builders sack 4 years ago.
Horticulture is supposed to teach us patience.
 
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The link claims that the HOT-composted pile has the same volume after the composting process. How is that possible?

Just the loss of internal moisture of the compost ingredients causes a loss in volume (just like the dehydration process). Then you have to ask, what is compost? Compost is sim
Anyone heard of this or actually use it? I have always produced hot heaps using equal brown and greens in a heap 4 ft square and this method seems to have too much browns in to me at 30 parts brown to one part green.

Hot Compost – Composting in 18 Days

snippet from the above page

"The requirements for hot composting using the Berkeley method are as follows:

Compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 degrees Celsius
The C:N (carbon:nitrogen) balance in the composting materials is approximately 25-30:1
The compost heap needs to be roughly 1.5m high
If composting material is high in carbon, such as tree branches, they need to be broken up, such as with a mulcher
Compost is turned from outside to inside and vice versa to mix it thoroughly
With the 18 day Berkley method, the procedure is quite straightforward:

Build compost heap
4days – no turning
Then turn every 2nd day for 14 days"

It is used quite extensively and there is lots of information online about it, but that all revolves around how to do it. What I want to know is, is the compost any good, will it feed plants or does the method just make a good mulch? Here in the UK we use 50/50 greens and browns and make a good rich compost, 10/90 greens and browns for the Berkeley method goes against the grain for us here.

Steve...:)
ply manure, for lack of a better word. It's simply the waste product of various organisms. How are they going to crap out the same volume as they take in?

I can see a greater loss in cold composting, because over time, much of the composted materials are leached into the ground, but to say that there is no loss in volume in the hot-composting method, I can't see.

Granted, I've never hot composted before, but I'm very skeptical.
Anyone heard of this or actually use it? I have always produced hot heaps using equal brown and greens in a heap 4 ft square and this method seems to have too much browns in to me at 30 parts brown to one part green.

Hot Compost – Composting in 18 Days

snippet from the above page

"The requirements for hot composting using the Berkeley method are as follows:

Compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 degrees Celsius
The C:N (carbon:nitrogen) balance in the composting materials is approximately 25-30:1
The compost heap needs to be roughly 1.5m high
If composting material is high in carbon, such as tree branches, they need to be broken up, such as with a mulcher
Compost is turned from outside to inside and vice versa to mix it thoroughly
With the 18 day Berkley method, the procedure is quite straightforward:

Build compost heap
4days – no turning
Then turn every 2nd day for 14 days"

It is used quite extensively and there is lots of information online about it, but that all revolves around how to do it. What I want to know is, is the compost any good, will it feed plants or does the method just make a good mulch? Here in the UK we use 50/50 greens and browns and make a good rich compost, 10/90 greens and browns for the Berkeley method goes against the grain for us here.

Steve...:)
Anyone heard of this or actually use it? I have always produced hot heaps using equal brown and greens in a heap 4 ft square and this method seems to have too much browns in to me at 30 parts brown to one part green.

Hot Compost – Composting in 18 Days

snippet from the above page

"The requirements for hot composting using the Berkeley method are as follows:

Compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 degrees Celsius
The C:N (carbon:nitrogen) balance in the composting materials is approximately 25-30:1
The compost heap needs to be roughly 1.5m high
If composting material is high in carbon, such as tree branches, they need to be broken up, such as with a mulcher
Compost is turned from outside to inside and vice versa to mix it thoroughly
With the 18 day Berkley method, the procedure is quite straightforward:

Build compost heap
4days – no turning
Then turn every 2nd day for 14 days"

It is used quite extensively and there is lots of information online about it, but that all revolves around how to do it. What I want to know is, is the compost any good, will it feed plants or does the method just make a good mulch? Here in the UK we use 50/50 greens and browns and make a good rich compost, 10/90 greens and browns for the Berkeley method goes against the grain for us here.

Steve...:)
SO, here is a little tongue-in-cheek question!
HOW do the Brits keep their greens - green - until they get enough of the browns to do a 50:50 mix and start composting?
;-)
 

zigs

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SO, here is a little tongue-in-cheek question!
HOW do the Brits keep their greens - green - until they get enough of the browns to do a 50:50 mix and start composting?
;-)
It's easier to keep the browns in a pile and add them as you get the greens :D
 
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Anyone heard of this or actually use it? I have always produced hot heaps using equal brown and greens in a heap 4 ft square and this method seems to have too much browns in to me at 30 parts brown to one part green.

Hot Compost – Composting in 18 Days

snippet from the above page

"The requirements for hot composting using the Berkeley method are as follows:

Compost temperature is maintained between 55-65 degrees Celsius
The C:N (carbon:nitrogen) balance in the composting materials is approximately 25-30:1
The compost heap needs to be roughly 1.5m high
If composting material is high in carbon, such as tree branches, they need to be broken up, such as with a mulcher
Compost is turned from outside to inside and vice versa to mix it thoroughly
With the 18 day Berkley method, the procedure is quite straightforward:

Build compost heap
4days – no turning
Then turn every 2nd day for 14 days"

It is used quite extensively and there is lots of information online about it, but that all revolves around how to do it. What I want to know is, is the compost any good, will it feed plants or does the method just make a good mulch? Here in the UK we use 50/50 greens and browns and make a good rich compost, 10/90 greens and browns for the Berkeley method goes against the grain for us here.

Steve...:)
So good
 

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