Pit Composting

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Pit Composting
Author: Lori W (Lrw)
Wednesday, November 01, 2006 - 8:53 pm
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Hi Steve,

I'm in the high desert in California and was thinking of using a pit to conserve moisture as well. How did yours work out?

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 - 2:58 pm
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We're using the pine shavings that you buy for hamster cages right now and it's working great.

It's a 1.97 a bag and it is working out to one bag per full bucket and could probably go less but I have 2 kiddos that like to cover, which is a good thing but sometimes it's a bit much.

Author: Steve Adamczyk
Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 1:35 pm
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I am going to be moving to my high-desert land (4200') soon and am considering pit composting. This would conserve moisture in the pile, both from the sun and from the wind. Since the rainfall in this area is only six inches per year I will probably be adding a little water to the pile in addition to my humanure, kitchen scraps, etc.

I envision a 4x4x4 pit, which I'm guessing will take me as a single person two+ years to fill; an adjacent pit could then be started. Both would be covered loosely with wood to preclude tripping/falling adventures. Question: would I need to add some avenues for air to get deep into the pit?

Unrelated question. Out in my very remote desert location I will not have access to saw mills and the like. I was thinking (a dangerous thing, I know:) about using popcorn as a cover material for my "sawdust" toilet. Seems it fits all the criteria mentioned in "Humanure" and an 89¢ bag will make a yard of the fluffy stuff by my guess. (Eventually I'd pop my home-grown popping corn in my solar oven at zero energy cost.) Has anyone tried this material? Maybe it would need to be chopped/ground into a finer consistancy?

Author: maddy
Friday, July 26, 2002 - 11:32 am
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Steve, all of my personal experience with popcorn is that when wetted, it collapses into a soggy mess.
I don't have access to sawdust either, but we bought some bags of fireplace pellets (compressed sawdust). Got the idea from someone on the forum!
When wetted, itimmediatly falls apart into sawdust. A little in the bottom of a bucket, wetted, starts to "grow" as it absorbs the water and falls apart. Ends up just slightly damp.
So one bag doesn't look like much, but is a large amount when wetted. We are mixing this with some peat moss (one bag will last for a couple of months or more I think) for cover material in the bucket.
In the bin, we are used leaves, dried alfalfa, straw, and fine wood shaving mixed with dried chicken poop.
These bags of pellets are about $3 each, and will last probably more than a month.
After we have finished compost, we plan to use it for cover material!

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