JAPAN

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: JAPAN
Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Sunday, April 19, 2009 - 3:40 am
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Hello again

Thank you for all that great advice, dear Nancy, John and Demeter.

I'm back in Japan now and wondering what to do with a pile that's already too high to start changing the cover materials - any hints on that? Do I just need to leave it the way it is and start a fresh pile the way advised so kindly by all of yous?

As you can imagine Japan's garden don't give us the luxury of several feet of spare space for all kinds of different and big compost piles... what's the minimum size considering I'll be starting it now with temperatures around 20Celsius?

Greetings from Kyoto
Ela

Author: John D. Seibert (Shush)
Monday, February 23, 2009 - 5:23 pm
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Hi Nancy: Trees here are red maple, sugar maple, red oak, beech - typical PA hardwoods. My "Autumn pile" is 10 feet square in lay-up logs; no other additions, no other additions to this leaves pile. Come Spring, some of that pile will be forked into 42 inch square piles with humanure and all else. Your right, I shred them with lawnmower. Until I read Joe's book, my leaves would not compost. Page 50-52 in my book are worn out from the good news!

Author: Demeter (Demeter)
Monday, February 23, 2009 - 3:38 pm
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Regarding the leaves--they definitely compost faster and heat up better if you crumble them up. I get a good yield of cover material by running the power mower over them when they are dry. The collection actually works best when they are on the driveway.

If the leaves are wet, you can dry them in a solar oven and crumble them with your hands.

Author: Nancy Baumeister (Nancybeetoo)
Monday, February 23, 2009 - 12:11 pm
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Hi John,

A question about leaves- Do you shred them or use them whole? And what kind of trees are they from?

The leaves that I have (in abundance) are leaves that we get by the truckload from the city that they have swept up in big trucks. Its a lot of big-leaf maple, some of various oak species, and whatever else people have growing in their yards. By the time I get them they are wet and matted together, not dry and fluffy. I think that was one of the factors in not getting heat that first winter.

I will experiment again. Thanks for the inspiration!
Nancy

Author: John D. Seibert (Shush)
Sunday, February 22, 2009 - 3:36 pm
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Hi Nancy, I'm John/shush. Hope your wrong about leaves. Nothing but leaves here, and after fecal/urine additions, I got hight temps/ and vast reduction in pile size. Good for you with roadkill. Here yours truly was too chicken to drag and cut up a deer struck on road, 25 feet from compost pile! Waste! Uncle Joe and his poop truck make more sense than ever. 18/19th century Philadelphians defecated in 10 and 18 foot pits together with archaeological materials of interest. How backward and wasteful we've been for a long time!

Author: Nancy Baumeister (Nancybeetoo)
Saturday, February 21, 2009 - 10:20 pm
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I had the same thing (lack of heat in a winter humanure pile) that you are having. Our climates sound kind of similar (I am in Oregon). I was using leaves as cover in the pile, sawdust in the bucket, and had few other inputs to the pile (since it was November in a new house I didn't have the usual weeds and such). I think my C/N ratio was too high. I was using a lot of sawdust in the house because I was scared of having a smelly bucket. Sawdust has a very high C/N ratio. The leaves for cover material also have a high C/N ratio. What I did is to seek out more high nitrogen inputs. I invited my neighbors to contribute their kitchen compost. I welcomed and sought out high nitrogen/protein rich compost materials. I started getting bunny poop and bedding from a neighbor. Anything green will help because it has a lower C/N ratio. Can you get grass clippings? I switched to straw for the cover material in the pile. I think that leaves are not as readily decomposable as straw. Also the straw lets more air in that leaves since it doesn't pack down. Things heated up better after that and I have had not piles ever since. My winter piles always seem to be the coolest.

Just recently I had a winter pile that was only reading 110 F. I added a road killed oppossum and the temperature shot up to 140F only 5 days later!

Wow! Good luck in your endeavor. I am sure that you will find the right mix of materials to compost nicely.

Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:46 pm
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Dear Joe - Thanks for your quick response, much appreciated!

The pile is 1 square metre and was started in October last year on top of a 6 months old compost about 4-5 inches high, that consisted of mainly kitchen waste and some leaves from the garden.

We have average temperatures of 10-15 degrees C (50-60 F) during Oct, slightly lower in November and between 0-10 degrees C (32-50 F) in Dec-Jan (there were days that heated up to 15 degrees C (60 F) even during this years January midays for the lenght of max. 3 days!

Greetings from Ela (Clear Sky)

Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:32 pm
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Clearsky - it's unlikely that the compost is too wet. It would have to be under water to be too wet. Starting in October could be a problem, especially with the first pile. You may need to develop a good thermophilic population and colder outdoor temperatures will suppress the compost population, especially when you're just starting out. Also, what is the mass? How big is the pile? Small piles are unlikely to heat up at all. How long have you been collecting material? How old is the pile?
posted by Joe Jenkins, Wednesday February 18, 2009

Author: clear sky meditation and study foun (Clearsky)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 7:00 pm
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We started a humanure composting toilet in Japan last fall (as an experiment for our meditation centre and before introducing it there on a large scale). Unfortunately our monthly temperature measurements show that the pile is only around 10 degrees higher than the temperature in the environment/soil around the compost. Could it be too wet? Japan is a very humid place with lots of rain fall. Did we start it at the wrong time of year (October)?

Or might it be related to the cover materials? Since saw dust is not so easily available we are using peat moss in the bucket toilet and as a biofilter on the pile itself, while creating layers using leaves/weeds from the garden and kitchen composting material. As the peat is very heavy one other possibility could be a lack of air-space in the pile. Now our compost area is full and there's no space in our Japanese garden for any more experimentation. Greatful for any advice. Thank you!

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