The internal temperature in the compost bin reaches 140° F within the first 7-10 days. The internal temperature is hot enough to kill weed seeds and pathogenic bacteria when it reaches 160° F. The bacteria necessary for decomposition start dying off at this stage because most of the air in the pile is gone. The pile cools after the bacteria die off, which is the signal to start turning the compost. A compost thermometer measures exact temperatures to avoid guesswork.
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