Hot Composting with only leaves and coffee grounds

I started a compost pile this spring with all the leaves that fell on the ground. The pile is 4′ around and 4′ tall. I went to Starbucks, who has a “coffee for gardeners” program and asked for all their spent coffee grounds. I gathered up around 50 pounds from 2 different stores. I wasn’t sure what to ask for, just “do you have any spent coffee grounds you’re throwing away?” Both locations promptly emptied their trash cans, tied the bags, and handed me huge bags of coffee grounds.

I shredded the leaves, sprinkled the coffee grounds in and watered the pile as I built it up. After 24 hours, even with huge rain storms pummeling the pile for the past 24 hours, we’re still cooking!

I tried to use my laser temperature gun, but I couldn’t dig down in the pile far enough to get to the hot zone. I’d dig down as far as I could but would only register temperatures around 80 degrees F. I instead used the REOTEMP FG20P Compost Thermometer. It’s 24 inches long and allowed me to stick it straight into the heart of the pile to get the core temperature without disturbing anything! I thought to myself “Matt, $25 is quite a bit to spend on a thermometer”, but it’s stainless steel construction, long probe, and fast response time has made me a believer. It will quickly tell me if it’s time to turn the pile.

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