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This is a huge pile of free mulch for composting that the tree cutters give way for free! It is excellent fill, breaks down rapidly and produces beautiful rich soil. One pile releases several thousand BTU's of heat over the decomposition process.
I believe a compost pile has to maintain a certain temperature so it is "alive and active". You draw away the heat, it is liable to kill the process.
The pile radiates heat naturally as the heat rises to the surface. Leaching heat internally does slow the process but tapping a small percentage does not does not negatively affect overall decomposition. An alternative option is an insulating (dark colored if in direct sunlight) cover to reduce thermal exchange at the surface.
I think you are right. Sometimes the piles of straw catch fire spontaneously due to bacterial action. The same applied to the leather in the holds of ships. Then, a certain drainage of heat can be more beneficial than harmful.
Hi, <br> <br>I remember back when state fairs would have the barns and petting zoos. The hay piles would catch fire even with water being sprayed on them. The smell was very distinct when hot decomposition became combustion. <br> <br>Muchas gracias por sus instrucciones instructables! <br> <br>Very nice work.
water probably only helped to keep the decomposition going. When I was young I worked at a stables, I had to go turn some piles of crap as they started to smoke when it was 20 degrees F out. The frozen layer on top helped to keep the cold from getting too far in. The center of the pile started to turn black like charcoal. Glad I am past that point in my life.

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Bio: You may recognize Dan and Denise Rojas from their appearances in various made for tv movies and national commercials. As the hosts of Green Power ... More »
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