Need Experienced Humanure Composters'...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Need Experienced Humanure Composters' Feedback
Author: Test2 (Test2)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 3:55 pm
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M. Fukuoka - author of the One Straw Revolution and The Natural Way of Farming is #1 (no pun intended). Read and Reread his books. He discussed burying human manure which sometimes is a good idea and sometimes not. Oh well, no body is perfect. I am still waiting for somebody to replant the desert as Fukuoka proposed. Here is an idea. Maybe those cities situated near a desert can construct a pipe line into the desert transporting sewage into the desert. I bet in a few years vegetation would take… and who knows.
That would make Jenkins #2 (no pun intended), but in some ways Jenkins is also #1 (no pun intended).

Author: Derekgripper (Derekgripper)
Monday, May 10, 2010 - 2:07 pm
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We have been composting for almost a year now. We are a couple with four children (2,3,5,8). We homeschool and live on a farm on Cape point south of Cape Town, South Africa. As soon as we read Jo's book I built one out of an old kitchen cupboard door and some shelving and we have never looked back. Now our children refuse to use the flush toilet (which we can't take out because we rent) because they don't want to "poo in water." We have two very rudimentary bins made of scrap wood a short walk from the house. We make about 25 litres of toilet waste a day plus 25 litres of kitchen waste. We use four 25 litre paint buckets which get emptied into the bins every few days with the kitchen scraps on top and all covered with straw. Everything immediately heats up to steaming hot even in rainy cold weather and in two or three months when the one bin is full the previous one is no longer active and the compost is sweet smelling like rich forest soil. We then spread the compost a few inches deep onto a section of grass (we are slowly eliminating the Lawn!) and use it as a bed for direct seeding of vegetables. We use clover and alfalfa as a green manure and by having a big diversity of different plants have managed to out compete the local grasses (which are indestructible). We also do seedballs of many different seeds encased in clay which we throw onto the beds and around the rest of the garden. I would say this is the best and most natural and easiest method for human waste disposal possible. It is my greatest joy (still after all this time) to walk to the edge of our garden with two buckets of my families poo and to dispose of it safely and cleanly while enjoying the view of the oceans of Cape Point. We get a small pickup (we call it a bakkie) of rough raw sawdust every few months for R200 (15 dollars or so). We live in a water scarce area. Our farm is few by an underwater spring of the freshest water you can imagine. I am pleased to say that we very rarely have to use this wonderful water to dispose of our human waste (except when the buckets are full and its raining and nobody feels like going outside!) Thanks Jo, you're up there with Fukuoka, the father of natural farming, who showed us all in his 50 odd years of farming that nature knows best while human beings know nothing at all. Love, DerekHumanure Day - the emptying of our first bin

Author: Utopian (Utopian)
Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 2:28 pm
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I have been doing humanure composting for over 5 years and regular composting for 20.
1. I have never had any problems with flies or maggots.
2. I did have a small amount of run-off one year because I started a new pile in late November and failed to do the proper prep for the bottom of the pile. I did not dig a depression below the pile and did not add a sufficient amount of sponge material. For a brief time I had a small amount of leaching on one side of the pile. To deal with this I piled up a lot of compost from an older pile to soak up the leachate. That eliminated the problem.
3. Even though I live in town, my yard has lots of squirrels, raccoons, and possums. None of them have ever bothered any of my compost piles. I have seen evidence of mice in the bottom of the pile, but this is no different from what happens in just a plain pile of leaves. They are simply digging for warm nests. I have never seen any evidence of animals being attracted to the contents of my piles.
4. I've never used a manufactured composting toilet. They seem to be a waste of money and electricity.
5. I've seen no evidence of compost related illness.

Author: Alice_aky (Alice_aky)
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 - 5:16 pm
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We live in indiana there's alot of sawmills around here we get a pick-up load for five dollars lasts a family of three about a year.

Author: Nancy Charlotte (Ilovecompost)
Sunday, July 06, 2008 - 1:01 am
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A note on finding sawdust. I buy mine from a horse barn. They use it for bedding and are happy to sell me a truckload for $18. That lasts me most of a year.

Author: Cara Peacock (Beaner)
Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 11:01 am
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Thanks a lot for your feedback Nancy. It is interesting to note that animals have more interest in the pile when kitchen waste is present. That meshes with what other composters have told me too. For the 8 household neighborhood, we have a "fort compost" designed. It is almost laughably secure and one person would do the bucket dumping and the ongoing management. We would probably rotate this responsibility over time.

Author: Nancy Charlotte (Ilovecompost)
Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 11:08 am
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Cara, I had a few more thoughts and questions about what your community is considering.

I also manage communal food composting for my 34 household community. We are using 4 foot diameter wire hoops for the piles. We have had animals (neighborhood dogs) in the food compost, and we had a period of high fungus gnat population. The fungus gnats arise if the food waste is not well covered. I have a helper now for the compost and we check the piles every other day or so. We flatten and cover the pile. No more fungus gnats, or few enough that they are not noticed. Using 4 foot high hoops keeps the dogs out.

My observation from doing this is that most people don't have a clue about how to compost effectively. Specifically, they don't know how to keep the nasty stuff in the middle, and they don't know when to cover. I expect that an 8 household humanure compost would take a lot of management. Or if there were 8 individual piles that it would take a lot of training to keep all the piles functioning effectively.

I am not intending to discourage you from humanure composting. There are so many benefits, not least being the wonderful compost that you will produce.

Author: Nancy Charlotte (Ilovecompost)
Sunday, April 13, 2008 - 10:46 am
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I have been humanure composting for about 3 years. Six months ago I moved into a cohousing community. So I also have an interest in increasing community acceptance of humanure composting.

As for your questions: no flies, no runoff, no animal interest in my current pile or in the piles at my old house.

The humanure piles are intensively managed by me.

Author: Cara Peacock (Beaner)
Friday, April 11, 2008 - 5:43 pm
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My intentional community is HOTLY debating the subject of using humanure composting in a new neighborhood of eight homes. I would LOVE to have some feedback from experienced composters on your personal experiences with the following. (I've read the excellent handbook - thanks Joe!- and know this is covered. To present this info to my community, though, I am seeking individual experiences.) THANKS in advance for answering the following questions:
1. Have you had any problems with flies (or maggots) in your piles? If so, please describe.
2. Have you observed any run off from your pile? If so, in what situations? Any problems with this?
3. Any problems with animals invading the piles?
4. Has anyone used both humanure system and a manufactured composting toilet (either at the same time or different times)? Can you evaluate what is better or worse about each?
5. Has anyone ever had an illness that you suspected the humanure system might have caused?
THANK YOU!!!

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