Jay Angler wrote:Skandi Rogers wrote:My problem has always been how to chop things up efficiently. Although the right kind of scissors will work, they will tend to add dust and bits to your indoor environment. A permies thread I was reading today had a link to this video: https://youtu.be/qzqJS_EJV94 and at the ~15 minute mark, they show a prototype for a bike-powered straw chopper. Maybe that needs to go on my bucket list. (the permies thread was:https://permies.com/t/7535/manual-flour-mill-attached-stationary
why not harvest a bunch of reeds or if they are too coarse then straw, and have a heavy duty pair of scissors by the toilet, spend the time on the thrown chopping up your needs.
Jay Angler wrote:Dita if you feel you're in a position to do some research on this, that would be awesome!
Jay Angler wrote:
1. For example, we used to use commercial wood shavings in our brooder (my husband raises a batch of Cornish Cross once or twice/year and they start in a brooder before moving onto grass). I find these shavings take *forever* (like easily 3-4 years) to decompose. They are difficult to get evenly moist when trying to compost them, so decomposition is also inconsistent within the pile.
Jay Angler wrote:
2. This year I switched to using only organic coffee sacks, made from a variety of plant fibers. I layered the poopy sacks in a pile with some partially composted woody debris in layers and I watered them as I went. It will be interesting to see how well they decompose.
Jay Angler wrote:
3. A couple of years ago, I set myself up a humanure bucket with an old toilet seat for earthquake preparedness (I've got no good place for it at this time for regular use, unfortunately). I decided to try biochar in it, thinking this would act to charge the biochar with nitrogen (women just don't have the best plumbing for the "water the tree method") and for its short test period there was no stink. Biochar may be something that would be easy for you to make and test, but be wary of the dust affecting your lungs.
Daniel Ray wrote:Dita, people do end up making composting mistakes with a humanure system sometimes. Usually this stems from not enough cover material or property bulky material on the collection pile which leads to smell and/or flies getting to the pile. Another easy mistake is not taking the time to add a fresh bucket of compostable materials in the correct manner. Joe outlines it well in the book, but he does have a series of youtube videos that demonstrate the proper technique.
Jay Angler wrote: I will have to go hunting for those studies. My example of blueberry was just the size aspect and a quick google search wasn't helping me.
Jay Angler wrote: There are people here who can grow the Japanese maple and the difference between its leaf size and our local "Bigleaf Maple" (Acer macrophyllum) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acer_macrophyllum) is impressive. The Bigleaf maple leaves tend to just mat down in compost and when I've used them to mulch the duck run. I've been contemplating this issue for some time as our environment is very damp in the winter, so drying things and keeping them that way is a challenge. We currently use a lot of shredded dead tree, but that takes diesel, equipment, time, and a big mess so I've been looking for plants that will do double duty.
Jay Angler wrote:Welcome Dita! Are you in the process of setting up your homestead? If so, could you consider specifically planting a grouping of fine/small leaved shrubs and trees (I'm thinking like blueberries - they're hard to grow but just to give you the idea) that would allow you to collect a few bags of small leaves in the fall to keep for the purpose? I've been thinking of a similar system for myself. The leaves in my eco-system are frequently *very* large, and we get a lot of dew and rain in the late fall when they drop, so getting dry leaves is an issue. It's harder to store wet leaves.
Daniel Ray wrote:Hi Dita, welcome to Permies. Excellent question and the Jenkins system is a great method that I have been using for four years now. While the fine sawdust is preferred because it breaks down much faster, the leaves will work splendidly.
Daniel Ray wrote: Dry leaves will crumble rapidly when hand shredded, something you can do as necessary after using the loo.
Skandi Rogers wrote:If it's just you/family, i.e people who can be trusted, why not harvest a bunch of reeds or if they are too coarse then straw, and have a heavy duty pair of scissors by the toilet, spend the time on the thrown chopping up your needs.
Daniel Ray wrote: It will make awesome compost. Also if you are in a pinch, soil can be used as a cover material as long as you are still getting a carbon input within the collection pile. reeds may be too big like straw, but mowed or scythed grass will work well too.
Daniel Ray wrote: Use whatever you have on hand, the microbes won't care, and try to keep a surplus of leaves stocked up. Good luck!