For the enthusiast who enjoys managing the composting process, tracking the temperature in the middle of the pile is not only interesting, but it’s important for making management decisions.
The simplest way to track the temperature is to stick your fist into the pile. Another easy method consists of leaving a metal pipe or iron bar in the middle of the pile, then periodically pulling it out and feeling it. If the bar or the interior of the pile feels uncomfortably warm or even hot, you’ll know everything is fine.
A compost thermometer gives a more accurate reading than fist or pipe and allows you to closely monitor the activity inside the pile.
If the temperature inside is the same as that outside, that’s an indication that the decomposition process has slowed down. You can turn the pile, or see if it’s ready for use.