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Hot compost with humanure  RSS feed

 
Sarah Houlihan
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Location: Central Maine
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I haven't been able to find much info on hot compost using humanure anywhere.  I'm not sure if this will work, but here is what I did.
I built a compost bin and set it up to hot compost.  Basically I layered my carbon/browns with my nitrogen/greens 25:1 ish.  I raked up leaves from all over to make up the carbon layers.  I used kitchen scraps from all winter to make up the nitrogen layer, but I didn't have enough. 
We have been living on this lot about 3 years and so our first bin full of bucket toilet compost is about 2 years old.  We use pine chips and occasionally wood ash in our buckets.  I decided to use this 2 year old pile to make up some of the green layers since it is probably nitrogen rich.  But it is also full of pine chips.
I also piled this 2 year old compost over a bunch of my hugel beds and buried it in leaves.  I can't start planting for a month or so, so it has some time to break down.
Any thoughts on this system? Anyone tried something similar?
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Eric Hanson
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Location: Southern Illinois
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This is a truly fascinating compost system.  I am new to the forums and I am still transitioning to a fully permie lifestyle, but your project fascinates me.  Personally, I think using humanure&urine is critical to closing the nutrient loop.  I doubt my wife would be thrilled at this system at our house but that does not stop me from using my own urine for fertilizer.  How long does you pile need to sit to be safe?  I heard of one approach that uses worms to completely digest all of your already once digested material including microbes and parasites in raw humanure.

Whatever your plans are, please keep us updated.

Eric
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 89
Location: Central Maine
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Here is my hugel bed with humanure and trellis.  The second picture is my hot compost with humanure at two weeks.
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Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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hau Sarah, nice hugel start.  I think your proportions for hot compost are bit off, most people try to get a 3:1 ratio of browns to greens for a good hot compost heap.

Humanure requires you be able to get well over 140 degrees f for pathogen kill.  The few people I know who do this type of composting strive to reach 170 to 175 internal temps. for several days, only add the humanure to the center of their heap and monitor the heap about 3 times a  week.

The Chinese have been composting human wastes for a few thousand years so there should be both new method ("The Humanure handbook")   as well as some scientific documentation by Chinese scientists (online).

One other, recent source of information might be Clara Mills, Environmental Coordinator of Spotsylvania County, in central Virginia.

Redhawk
 
Michael Cox
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"The Humanure Handbook" - available as a free pdf online - is THE resource for humanure. Get it, read it. It covers everything you might want.
 
Sarah Houlihan
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Location: Central Maine
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Great. Thanks for the advice.  I had trouble finding much information.  Only a couple sources really.  It doesn't help that our internet out in the woods seems to be blocked by every tree.  The pile is getting hot, but not that hot.  Maybe if I add some more nitrogen now it will help.  
  I think we may have downloaded the humanure handbook way before we had a chance to put it to use.  I'll have to see if I can dig it up.
Thanks guys!
 
Alexandra Clark
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Location: Long Island, NY
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:hau

The Chinese have been composting human wastes for a few thousand years so there should be both new method ("The Humanure handbook")   as well as some scientific documentation by Chinese scientists (online).


Redhawk


My father is a Greek expat who grew up in Shanghai before the communist revolution. He never ate a "fresh" vegetable until he left china because of the "night soil."  All vegetables had to be soaked in carbolic acid and then cooked because of serious parasitic, viral and bacterial infectious issues. 

It might be different now, and certainly he was living in an urban area and not out in the country, but using humanure from people who's health status you do not know is a big issue.

Like with any manure, aging before use is important. Getting the temperature VERY hot to kill pathogens is important too. If you have access to yarrow as a compost activator that might help. Your ratio is, as stated above a bit off for a very hot pile, so up the green stuff/humanure and decrease the carbon.

All the best!
 
tony uljee
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I am going to be using a toilet composting system soon and after thats up and running will be facing the leftovers of the process, i have no intention of including this into my compost pile or trying to hot manure in the Jean Pain hot water system thats slowly taking shape in my shed , but i am fortunate to be living rural and on 2 acres .With the property being enclosed by a ditch and dyke/mound all the way round , on top of which i have planted about 30 species (so far) of trees and about 600 in all -so far , my plan is to spread the humanure along this to fertilize the hedge , which is to be pollarded over the years to use as fuel for the Jean Pain system and my homemade wood burn range.
 
Sarah Houlihan
Posts: 89
Location: Central Maine
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I love that idea.  Sounds a lot luke a tree bog out house where you would plant trees around the outhouse.  This doesn't have to be as deep as a standard outhouse because the trees "eat" the manure.  I'm hoping to set one up soon.
 
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