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White/grey "powder" in hot compost pile?

9 years ago

Hey everyone!

I've been reading and benefitting from this forum for quite some time now, so I figured it's time to join the fun.

Anyway, I have a question about my hot compost pile... First, a little background. I originally built the pile in late December using approximately 50-60% dry brown leaves (mixed with a little rice straw), and 40-50% green yard clippings supplemented with some dry (baled) alfalfa. This was moistened, mixed, and piled about 3 ft high in a roughly 4x4 chicken wire enclosure. I turn it about every 3-4 days, and it's consistently reaching 130-140 degrees between each turning (I turn when the temp seems to start dropping). I'm shooting for something kindof like the "Berkeley Method"; frequent turning for fast composting.

On to my question... Each time I turn the pile, I see quite a lot of powdery grey/white material in the hottest zones. I believe this material to be actinomycetes. Is it bad for these guys to dominate the pile like they are? Should I be doing something differently? It seems to be composting rather quickly, but I just want to be sure I'm growing the proper microorganisms for healthy compost. I have read posts from people who mention a little bit of white/grey being no problem, but in my pile it seems pretty substantial.

I'd love to hear any thoughts about what I could do differently.

Thanks in advance,


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