Do I have to add dirt to make it work?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Do I have to add dirt to make it work?
Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Thursday, September 04, 2008 - 4:18 pm
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Dirt is the end result of compost. It's biologically stable and not a compost feedstock, so I would not recommend it as a cover material.

Author: SP (Pinky)
Monday, September 01, 2008 - 2:09 pm
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I have a slightly different angle - I have plenty coarse organic material which I can add to the compost pile, but for the pail in the toilet, the coarse material may not cut odors. Can I use soil for the pail and coarse organic material in the pile?

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Saturday, May 17, 2008 - 4:26 pm
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Just contact us closer to the time and see if we're here (we usually are): http://josephjenkins.com/contact.html

Author: JP (Islandofjoy)
Friday, May 16, 2008 - 10:54 pm
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terrific! thank you Joe. While I live in Arkansas Ozarks, I will be passing through PA in August; perhaps I can stop by your facility and see it all "brewing"? JP

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Friday, May 16, 2008 - 6:53 pm
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1. Either

2. Cedar will decompose. We used some in Texas at a conference. It worked great.

3. You don't need to cut veggies or anything that goes into the compost. Just throw them in whole. It's only the wood that must be small.

4. I would just add to the existing pile.

Author: JP (Islandofjoy)
Friday, May 16, 2008 - 4:36 pm
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Hello Joe and Alan,

thank you for your insightful replies. I am so happy I do not have to add dirt to make it all work! My computer was down so I am only now getting back to you.

So now I have a few more questions:

1. Does the saw dust have to be pine, or can it be hardwoods like oak?

2. Somewhere I read that cedar will never decompose. does that mean I should never put in cedar dust?

3. I will try keeping particles under 5cm/2.5 in. and cut grapefruit halves into to smaller pieces. My dry leaves, though, are often 10 cm/5in in size. That should be ok, right?

4. Lastly, I have this small pile started with wood shavings rather than wood dust. (approx 4'diameter in enclosed in chicken wire fence, about 2' tall). Should I start a new one instead?

Thank you again. I am happy to be part of this group, and appreciate your help.

Best, JP

Author: Ken Miller (Ken)
Saturday, May 03, 2008 - 6:22 pm
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Thanks for the videos Joe, nice to see you live. Been using your system for about six years or more. Very good results too.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 2:23 pm
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1. No soil is needed
2. You should not use wood shavings at all. Use sawdust.
3. Do NOT add wood.
4. Do not add brush to a compost pile.
5. Do not add branches or any woody material bigger than sawdust.
6. Yes, old bread and baked goods are good for a compost pile as are any food materials.
7. Yes, all fats, oils, meats, cheeses, etc., etc., can go into a humanure compost pile. Just remember, when you feed a pile, you add material *into* the pile, not on top of it. Dig a depression in the top center of the pile and add the material, whatever it is, then cover it over and add additional cover material. Keep a piece of wire fence over the top of the pile to keep out any scavenging animals. You can see videos of some of my compost bins here: http://jenkinspublishing.com/videos.html. Look at the video of the active pile to see the wire and the cover material.

Author: Alan J Marshall (Ecointerest)
Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 4:38 am
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JP, thanks for your interesting questions. I have a little "rule of thumb" about the size of particles which can be added to compost systems in general.

Compare it with trying to light a camp fire. If the twigs etc. are packed too loosely, or too big when the fire is young, then you will not get the fire burning. If everything is packed tight together, so no air gets in, again it will not burn well.

The compost heap is similar. You need just the right air, just the right moisture, and I chop vegetables and plant matter to no more than 5cm (2 1/2 inches) in size.

This is for general composting, others no doubt will add info. for you about the Humanure system.

Wishing you success in your efforts.

Alan

Author: JP (Islandofjoy)
Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:05 pm
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Hello!

I am thrilled to be able to recycle human waste as I am starting to live off the grid.

So I just started my first compost pile ever, here in the Ozark Mountains, and I have a couple questions:

1. I have an endless supply of dried leaves on the ground, but no soil that is not full of rocks. Can I make the compost happen without adding any soil to it; just with leaves, kitchen scraps and human waste in wood shavings?

2. Can the wood shavings be cedar?

3. can I add a few small sticks of wood, up to 1" thick and up to 12" long, that are lying around in the ground?

4. If I cut briars (thorny weeds), and put them in the pile , will they start to grow in it?

5. Can I place any cut branches in the pile, or will they some start to grow in it?

6. Can I put old bread and baked goods in the pile?

7. If I have cream cheese that went bad, is that too fatty, or can it go in too?

I appreciate your help and insight! Thank you so much, have a non-crappy day!

JP

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