How much straw per year?

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Composting Around the World: How much straw per year?
Author: maddy
Monday, April 15, 2002 - 2:07 pm
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Joe, I am getting the makings for a sawdust toilet together...so far, have 2 bales of peat moss, 12 bags of fireplace pellets, and 2 bales of straw (cover material for pile).

Just wondering, how many bales of straw do you use per year per person?
The straw was really expensive - over $10 per bale! I need to be able to plan how many to buy before next winter...

I live in mountains in Southern California, can't find a sawmill, and have no access to leaves or grass. Here in the mountains we only have tons of pine needles, which don't really compost well.

My plan is to compost for 2 years with "store bought" materials, then start using the compost as cover material....hopefully it will turn into an almost closed system.

Thanks, maddy

Author: Joe Jenkins
Monday, April 15, 2002 - 10:25 pm
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We use about a bale of straw or hay per month.

What are the fireplace pellets for?

Author: Stephen
Monday, April 15, 2002 - 11:50 pm
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Thats some expensive straw. Depending how close your neighbors are you could slimp on the straw.
I have no neighbors and the pile is "normally" downwind so smell isn't an issue.
How about shredded paper? Most places have plenty of that. And if you do use paper make sure that the ink is a soy based type.

Author: maddy
Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 5:40 pm
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Joe, the pellets are to replace the sawdust which you use...I read here on your forum that at least one person is using them. He said if you get them damp they fall apart into nice sawdust. Thankfully they are cheap...less then $4 per 40 lb bag.

So, you use a bale per month for 4, so for the two of us, that would be about a bale every 2 months, or 6 per year...well that is not too bad!
Sure would like to find cheaper, though.

Stephen, yes I plan on adding our newspapers (not the color pages) to the pile, along with some chicken and horse manure. Also am going to buy some red worms to spike the pile with...at the edges.
If I don't use plenty of cover material, my husband will put a stop to this, haha...the pile is going to be only about 50 feet from our house.
He wanted it further away, until I reminded him that we had to carry the buckets through the snow to the bins (and we get up to 6 feet of snow at one time here!)

Author: DaronPage
Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 10:47 am
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I think that I would just use the locally available pine needles, so what if they compost slow, with the added humanure it will speed up,
I am using leaves, that I collect with my lawn mower and grass catcher bag, it gives me a nice finely shreaded leaf mulch,
I used to till in a pickup truck load of christmas trees, after thay were chiped up of course, into my dads garden, you could never even find them by the next year.

Author: Stephen L
Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:21 pm
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Daron, I can't see how pine needles would decompose any slower than the Sassafrass, White Oak, Cherry, Black Walnut and even Chestnut that I have been using. They really don't seem any slower than the Yellow Poplar that is much less rot resistant.
I forgot Black Locust.
All wood decomposes when moist.

Author: DaronPage
Friday, April 19, 2002 - 11:15 am
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That is just my point, I would not go out and buy high priced straw or peat moss if I didnot have to. All we need is something to cover and add carbon Right? if there is no smell so what if it takes three years instead of the two, before you get to use that compost. The compost is the dressing in this salad, it is just an added bonus.

Author: TCLynx
Tuesday, January 03, 2006 - 12:01 pm
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Any reports on how the use of pine needles is going?

Author: blake
Thursday, February 02, 2006 - 3:15 pm
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i garden for a living and also compost humanure. there is really no reason to think that pine needles wont compost. frankly, i would prefer them if they were free

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