Okay if I keep the food scraps separa...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: General Composting Issues: Okay if I keep the food scraps separate?
Author: Jeffm (Jeffm)
Friday, December 09, 2011 - 9:47 am
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I raise pigs so they get any food wastes from my kitchen. So my humanure pile is exclusivly humanure with the occasional dead pig and butchering wastes. I live alone and it heats up just fine. I think without the mortalities and offal it would cook up nicely too. I dont have a huge need for the compost as the pigs fertilize the garden nicely for me (its their winter home) so I plan to let the compost age an extra year. As the book points out after waiting the first extra year you get compost yearly.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Thursday, December 08, 2011 - 4:56 pm
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Joe points out what I believe is a common misconception. It seems that many people think that feces just produces diseases on it's own. The fact is that if you don't have a disease, you aren't going to get a disease from your own feces.
If you read Joe's book, you will learn that some cultures used raw/fresh humanure to fertilize their crops. As long as the societies were closed everything was fine. But when outsiders entered the picture, they introduced diseases that the natives had never dealt with so therefore had no defenses to.

If you have others, friends and acquaintances, using your toilet, then you might want to be more concerned. If it's just you and your family, you shouldn't have anything to worry about.
But it's still a good idea to let the pile get hot or to just wait for a couple of years.
If you are in a big hurry, buy a truckload of horse or cow manure to tide you over.

Author: Test2 (Test2)
Thursday, December 01, 2011 - 8:25 pm
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@Mindimmf - if you follow the instructions in the BOOK, the pile will get hot and you dont have to worry about it not getting hot. If something is not working this message board has alot of info plus some great and helpful advisors - so just search and or ask.

But I understand your concern. If you have enough materials how about putting say half of food scraps, and other organic wastes with humanmanure pile and the other half in a seperate pile. One advantage is you get the use the latter compost sooner.

Author: Joe (Joe)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 11:44 pm
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Your best bet is to compost everything in one pile. There's no reason to separate anything from your humanure compost and there is no reason to think that you can't use the finished compost for growing your own food. If it doesn't heat up enough for you, let it age longer. What diseases are you or your family suffering from that you feel your compost may not be suitable for growing food?

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 7:40 pm
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I guess I should answer your question directly. Yes, the humanure will compost without the addition of the veggies. It will also compost without becoming thermophilic... eventually. That's why you need the thermometer. If the pile doesn't heat up, you need to know. There are other things you can add to get the pile to heat up also. For instance, you can scrounge the curbs for fresh grass clippings. They work well.
One thing I did when I started getting serious about composting was to ask my neighbors to save their kitchen scraps for me. A couple of them still do.

Author: Knothead (Knothead)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 7:32 pm
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Yes, it's okay. You can even have more than one compost pile. I currently have three or four going. One, I'm using. Two are aging, another is just a pile of fresh leaves on the ground where I piled them with the rake. I've got a couple of worm colonies that like the kitchen scraps too. Plus, lots of my veggies go to the two chickens I have.
If your pile doesn't heat up to the point that you are comfortable with, just let it sit for a year or two.
Like Nancy said, just start and see what works for you. Have fun experimenting.

Author: Mindimmf (Mindimmf)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 10:18 am
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Thanks.

I guess what I'm asking is: Is it OKAY to NOT combine my food scraps with my humanure? Will the humanure still compost without them?

(I don't want to get stuck with compost I can't use on my vegetable garden, because that's the most important thing.)

Author: Nancybeetoo (Nancybeetoo)
Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 12:02 am
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Welcome to the world of humanure composting!

I don't think you'll find anybody here willing to make absolute statements about what works or doesn't work. We are all experimentalists. We learn by doing and so will you.

My suggestion is that you get a compost thermometer. The thermometer is your window on the internal workings of your compost.

Make a plan for what to do with the compost if it doesn't heat up. Then just start and see what happens.

Author: Mindimmf (Mindimmf)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 1:57 pm
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I'm about to start a new composting system... I understand why combining food scraps with humanure is good for composting, but my concern is that if my system doesn't get the thermophilic reaction needed for some reason, I then won't be able to use it on my vegetable garden. And I really need compost for my vegetable garden! So what I would like to do is continue to keep my food scrap compost separate, so I know I'll at least have THAT to use on my vegetables.

So my question is: will my humanure compost still work if it doesn't have the food scraps?

Thanks!

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