21 March 2011

Hot stuff

I'm going to be away for a couple of weeks, so I've had to compress a lot of garden-related jobs into the last two weekends. On Saturday we tackled the chicken coop, carting out ten wheelbarrow-loads of litter and giving the floor and perches a good scrape and clean. Mike chipped some cedar branches to replace the old litter and it now smells a lot more fragrant in there!

This is a twice-yearly job, September and March. I was a bit more scientific about it this time, making sure that each barrowful got a good soaking of water before adding the next one. It's much more difficult to get the pile properly wet if you add the water at the end (as I found in September).

By this morning (two days later), the temperature inside the heap was reading 54°C/129°F, which is in just about the right range for killing pathogens. The outside temperature was just 3°C/37°F when I took this reading. Yes, that is a cooking thermometer. And no, I don't use it in the kitchen any more. ;-)

The heap will be a bit stinky for a while, as it cooks and then cures. But it's nowhere near the house and I'll miss the worst of it, as I'll be away. I'm no fool...

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