The Hot Composting Timetable
The temperature of the pile should rise steadily, peaking between 50oC to 65oC (120oF to 150oF), 24 hours to one week later. When the temperature begins to drop, the compost is ready for turning. Break up any clumps of material, and move the outside parts to the base and centre. If the pile is too dry, this is the time to wet it. Cover the pile again, and wait.
The temperature should peak again in about a week, in a pile made of well-shredded materials. Remember, the smaller the pieces, the faster the compost. As soon as it begins to cool, turn the pile once more. In another week or two, the compost should be finished; that is, dark and crumbly, fresh-smelling, with very little of the original material identifiable. When compost is ready for use, the temperature of the pile won't rise above 43oC (110oF) no matter how often you turn it.