Just Started Our Humanure Compost Today

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Just Started Our Humanure Compost Today
Author: Ecointerest (Ecointerest)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 - 8:04 pm
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Just a short note here, because I don't have much time this morning.
As you will probably know, I have just recently started up my heap where the 5-gal bucket is emptied. It is warming well (not quite up to 50C yet, but getting there!). Have incorporated some eucalyptus mulch on top first, then hay on top of that because the hay is expensive to buy.
A couple of side-issue practices that Joe has shown in book and on video, are seen now as quite important to the no-fuss business of emptying the bucket, like: Having a water tap handy, right there at the heap. You don't want to spend time running back and forth with a watering can. Also having a dedicated brush can help in cleaning the bucket. The hay is ideally kept under cover I think, to keep it dry. Likewise the sawdust you are going to use as cover material spinkles better when dry. Ok to keep it outside to weather in the rain, but allow it to dry a bit before using.
I am mentioning these tips because it might be easy for someone to be put off the process of Humanure if details of convenience are not considered.
Happy Composting!

Author: Steven Veach (Cabinhermit)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009 - 1:55 am
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Compost pile update: Everything seems to be working great. My wife has come around to the idea now and uses the toilet more when the regular bathroom is in use. We are about out of leaves for the year I think. Since hay is too expensive I've sent the kids out with sheering clippers to cut down all the brown weeds that are on the property. They are pretty thick in parts of the field. There is also tall grass/hay laying down from the summer in the lower field that I'm going to have them cut down and pile. I have noticed that the weeds/grass is much more manageable and forms easier over the pile. I also don't use as much as I did with the leaves to keep it covered.

I have also cut way back on the cover material that I use in the house. I've noticed that it takes much less to cover the deposits and there still is no smell. Nice. I'm going to try and find a source for sawdust soon.

Steven

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Saturday, January 17, 2009 - 5:29 pm
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It was 12 below zero F here in northwestern PA last night (January 16, 2009) which is about -25C. My compost pile this morning was reading 112 F. It has dropped from 117F last week. I'm keeping a thick layer of straw on top of it, and only adding organic material to it once a week (mostly humanure). I'm really starting to think that, over 30 years in the same place, the bacteria are selectively breeding or mutating for maximum adaptability to this climate. I don't know, but I do know that for the first 10 years the compost pile froze solid as a rock every winter. Then one winter it didn't freeze (almost did). That was maybe 10 year ago. Since then, it has progressively stayed warmer during the winter months, from year to year, or so it seems.

It hasn't frozen in 10 years. My compost bins are shown on a video clip at http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/videos.html#intro

Author: Steven Veach (Cabinhermit)
Saturday, January 17, 2009 - 9:07 am
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My compost pile seems to be doing good. It is quite steamy on colder days. There are only 1 or 2 gnats present when I check it. I'm still using leaves as cover material inside and out. The pile is really growing in size. Had to add a few more boards to the front a week ago, and now I will soon need to add more. Will the pile shrink in the winter time? I have also located someone in my area selling hay for $3.50 / bale. Need to give them a call.

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 8:50 pm
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I prefer to use straw rather than hay (less weed seeds). It may be cheaper, too.

Author: Steven Veach (Cabinhermit)
Wednesday, January 07, 2009 - 12:39 am
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The last two days, I've noticed steam coming off of my compost pile when I add to it and it is warm when I put my hand down, just above the center of the pile. Its pretty exciting.

I have not been able to switch cover material yet, and, though the gnats are still present, they are not too bad. I did not realize hay was so expensive, its nearly $8 a bale here. Last time I bought a bale it was $1.50.

Anyway, the system seems to be working pretty well. I need to get a thermostat and different cover material and I think I'll be set. We are now composting humanure for 1 person (myself) and the kitchen scraps and bio garbage for everyone in our household (7 people). Its great. (Plus a separate compost bin for the dog manure.)

Steven

Author: Joe Jenkins (Joe)
Thursday, January 01, 2009 - 8:28 pm
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Try switching your cover material and see what happens.

Author: Steven Veach (Cabinhermit)
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 5:37 pm
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My compost pile is looking great, but I have tiny nats flying around. Anyone have an idea why? I'm using leaves as my cover both inside and out. I do not have the nats inside where the toilet is, they are just out around the bin. I only noticed them today when I went out to empty the toilet and our bio garbage can from the kitchen. Do I need to switch my outside cover material to hay?

Thanks for the help.

Steven

Author: Steven Veach (Cabinhermit)
Sunday, December 28, 2008 - 12:03 am
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Well, I'm pretty excited. I got the toilet completed last night and the bins put together today. I should be adding to my compost pile within the week.

There will be two of us using the compost toilet in the beginning. We have plans of adding another one upstairs for the kids, but they are very skeptical right now.

We have alot of leaves around the property right now, so I will be using this for cover material inside and outside, until I can get some hay. I will be looking out for a source on sawdust.

Our bins are made out of pallets. Two for humanure, 1 to store cover material and a fourth for dog manure.

I will post progress here as it develops.

Thanks for all the good info on this website.

Steven

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