I started a thermal compost pile for next year with a couple bales of straw, big block of peat, bone meal, dried blood, greensand, alfalfa pellets (no meal readily available), some leftover plant tone, egg shells, coffee grounds, and weeds/rogued-out plants from the garden. I'm still trying to find some kelp and neem meal to go in there as well, and I'm gearing up to grow some biodynamic accumulators, do FPEs, start a bokashi bin (working on my BIM culture), make some AACTs, start a vermicompost bin, etc.... but that will happen over the next few months. I have fresh kelp readily available, but I suspect it's prospering due to people dumping chemical fertilizers into the water, so I'd rather not use that. Now some questions! First, I'm hoping to take this compost (which will hopefully be bacterially dominant), mix it with peat, perlite, and vermiculite to use as my final soil mix (as well as using it as starter for all my other projects once it's cooler). I'd like the compost to supply all the nutrients, which is why I've mixed everything into the compost pile. Is it a bad idea to put the bone meal, dried blood, greensand, and plant tone into my compost? I'm hoping that the microbial life will process it into a more usable form for my plants later on down the line and benefit directly from it themselves. Second, it's been a few days since I started it, and we've had some good soaking rains. I checked it this morning, and it's really hot. I wasn't expecting it to heat up so fast (I'm blaming the alfalfa!), but once you skim off the top layer, it's steaming pretty nicely. I don't have a soil thermometer (yet), so I'm looking for some way to gauge what's too hot and the best way to slow it down if necessary. TWM suggests watering and turning it as methods to cool it down, with watering being the more drastic, but I don't think those are going to cool it down very much or for very long. I also suspect I have a quite happy soil food web starting in there, as well as in my garden, for there is a plethora of beasties and the plants dont seem to be the worse off for what I used to consider "pests". So, what can the fine folks of GC's organic section recommend that I do differently now or in the future? What am I lacking and/or what should I not have added to the pile? Earballs open, ready to learn!