We are developing a completely off the grid property and are planning on using composting toilets. I understand peat is the common starter/activator for these toilets. My question is about sourcing the peat. The southern half of our property (20 acres) is the northern tip of a 200+ acre Tamarac swamp. I'm thinking I have a 100 lifetimes supply of peat literally in my back yard. But I'm not sure if that's usable, if I have to do anything special to it to use it in the toilet, or what my options are. I'm hoping the answer is "just dig up a shovel full and throw it in". Any thoughts/suggestions?
The only reason people suggest peat, as far as I can tell, is due to it having massive amounts of carbon to absorb nitrogen. Most peat, is not biologically active, so you still need a compost starter of some sort. I personally wouldn't choose to use peat due to the fact that it isn't a renewable resource (although you have a lot of it from what it sounds like). Sawdust or leaf mulch work just as well as a carbon sink, and a cup or two out of a recent compost pile in your yard is more than enough to get things going. If you don't have a compost pile yet, some good old organic material rich soil from your yard will work almost as well.
That's great - I should have plenty of all of that. I also have plenty of rotting tree stumps and fallen trees on the property that are decomposed to almost the state of mulch. It seems like any of that would work.