Me and my poop

ceth_k(11)April 9, 2011

I'd always dreamed of putting my poop to better use than to flush them down the toilet bowl causing red tide. I was long convinced that human poop is the best manure there is for any organic gardener who wished to do it the natural and environmental friendly way, and harvesting the most micro-nutrient enriched crops resulted from its uses, thus making a somehow 'true cycle' gardening life style.

Since I eat my own crops, parasite and/or disease do not pose a problem, especially when the worst/chronic diseases in the world is not poop transmittable. So why be afraid? And the only thing left that held me back from doing what I really wanted to do is the offensive smell of my poop.

The psychological breakthrough about the poop smell problem that I had last week, is when I suddenly thought of the power of the earth that could stop all buried smell. I used to bury fish scraps, and if the disgusting fish smell stayed in the soil without escaping, then why the smell of my poop cannot be treated the same way? And all the organic gardening inf in my head just felt connected at that point. So I went to the garden and dug a hole which is not very deep, and bury my poop there a few hours later. And the good news is I dont smell anything remotely like my poop at the spot I buried it! What a relief. I should have learn from the cats a long time ago.

And now I decided to use the best compost bin in the world(my stomach), and do all my beds preparation with buried poop and no other inferior manure anymore. I just know that my soil will be a LOT richer in trace elements from now onward. Thanks for reading.

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feijoas(New Zealand)

I'm all for using as many nutrients on-site as I can, but after a childhood involving digging 'dunny holes' for a foul-smelling bucket, a composting toilet is the only way I envisage dealing with omnivore faeces.
I'm too disorganised to be confident that I wouldn't lose track of my 'poo rotation' and...well, you get the idea!
I'll leave the pathogen discussion to others.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 5:18AM
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check this out. you'll need to get to the beginning of the pdf, but here you go:

Here is a link that might be useful: humanure handbook

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 2:12PM
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There's a youtube video of this guy and his family who loves exclusively on crops that he grows with his entire family's and his own poo and pee. The pee is a given but he goes through quite an extensive process for the poo. The poo is deposited via compost toilet in a huge pile of sawdust (think kitty litter for humans). Once it's filled, he puts it in a huge pile of straw and he hot composts it. Then he lets it age for at least two or three years before he uses it as compost.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 2:50PM
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jonas302(central mn 4)

Well at least you don't come off like your poop don't stink(:

The last issue of Backwoods Home Magazine had an article on a homemade sawdust toilet receptacle sounded pretty easy and was even mother approved

They basically built a decorative frame around a 5 gallon pail with a toilet seat and sprinkled sawdust on it until it was full and emptied into the compost

    Bookmark   April 9, 2011 at 6:05PM
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I just couldn't agree more with feijoas's concern about the rotation of poo beds. I kept a graph of all my garden beds to make sure I dont dig into recently buried poo. It was a horrible experience to accidentally break the soil with poo beneath.

And all those fancy toilets are cool, but I'm not really into poo composting 'cause I think composting something that's as 'wholesome' as the human poo is just redundant. It is simply far easier for lazy people like me to just bury it as bed preparations, so I'll pass. Thanks for the input though.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 4:21AM
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I do both, depending on where I am. One place I have large gardens so I just make direct deposits. Another place there is less room and privacy so I use the box method I devised: in the basement or garden shed simple keep sturdy cardboard boxes, 2-3 cubic foot size, and some fine sawdust or other absorbent OM. When the box is full pick it up with a snow-shovel because it gets soggy and bury it in the compost pile.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 7:53AM
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After a broken ankle, I kept the adult potty. Bought 4 buckets. Handy item. Use shredded paper from work instead of sawdust. Those potties are available at garage sales, I have seen.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 5:16PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

If you're burying your poop any deeper than 6-7", you are putting it beyond the digestive range of most micro-organisms.

You can buy a clip-on toilet seat and lid combo for about $10-15 that clips onto the standard 5-gallon plastic bucket from most places.

Please let me emphasize this: USE A NEW BUCKET AND KEEP IT OUT OF THE SUNLIGHT. I heard of a guy who used this method, but being a cheap guy, he just used an old bucket that had been lying around. Naturally, it didn't break until it was almost full.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Humanure Handbook is a great source - thanks

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 7:35PM
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why go to all the trouble. when you flush it is going to a treatment plant . where they process it and use it as fertilizer for farmers. many give it away. just ask your local treatment facility.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 10:39PM
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belgianpup LOL you just made it sound a lot funnier than it actually is about the old bucket. I'll always use new bucket from now on. Hah. And about the direct deposit method which pnbrown had said, that's cool but I'm just privacy concerned.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:18AM
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feijoas(New Zealand)

billlythekid, I for one, want to retain what nutrients I can on my property.
*begin rant*
For me it's a combination of being frugal and environmentally aware: why should I pay someone to take away my quality, healthy nutrients, then pay them again to bring back someone/something elses potentially contaminated, industrially fed crap?
I'm aso concerned about wasting and contaminating water. Sewerage systems do that on a massive scale.
btw, I'm still on 'town' sewerage so it's still a bit hypothetical, but I want to get away from relying on something 'out there' to provide me with all my stuff.
*End rant*

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 3:40AM
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ok but it is just a terd

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:20AM
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billy (the troll?), I notice you just registered yesterday. Interesting co-inkydink.

For direct deposit, just below the surface is best, obviously in an area that cannot flood or erode in heavy rain.

Regarding shredded paper, good idea if one has access to that. I have unlimited sawdust so it would be silly not to use it. people that don't work in offices won't have easy access to shredded paper. Also printing type paper is not highly absorbent so will not buffer feces from rainwater as well as sawdust or other finer more absorbent OM.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Humanure guy points out that we are pooing into several gallons of potable water when we use the toilet that is on a city sewer system. This does not seem to be smart.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2011 at 7:05PM
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I scored big when a urban ecovillage community took a front-end loader and scarfed-up probably half ton of Jerusalem Artichokes (Sun Chokes to some). Piled next to the street outside of their garden fence; listed it for free on Craigs List. It had been fertilized with human waste or not so well composted humanure. The listing mentioned someone pooping on the garden bed and that the tubers should be used for chicken food. I want to plant my 5-gallon bucket full now (Feb 2012) to harvest late fall.
Question, will the soil render any pathogens harmless or should I glove-up and get out the bleach and brush first?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2012 at 11:19PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

Pathogens in the compost depend on how long it has been in the compost and if it has been thermophilically heated from the bacteria in the pile to kill the pathogens. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it has aged at least a year to be safe. My compost pile has human pee and dog poo in it that gets put into the hot part of the pile and it literally disappears after about a week into the compost with no smell at all. I have one bin I add to and another I have let age for a year and a half. This year the aged bin will be used in the Spring before the mulch goes in the beds around my palm trees.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 11:40AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

Comfort, are you are asking whether you are at risk by handling and planting them now, or whether they will be safe to eat later? As to the former, it's a judgement call, I would consider wearing some gloves and definitely wash up well afterwards regardless.

As to the second question, after a few months they should be just fine if they aren't already. Organic farming standards require 3 months after any manure application before harvest. Apparently that's long enough for e coli to dissipate.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 1:00PM
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Fresh urine from any animal (including humans) would rarely if ever carry human pathogens. If one's garden soil is well balanced especially in its macronutrients decay of feces in the top 6 inches of soil will be quite rapid. Manure worms will process it within a few weeks if the temps are right.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Question: I have 5 gallons of human poop in a bucket. How far down, min., must I bury it, so as not to smell, or maggots/flies. I do have access to dirt, and an area for creating beds? Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 4:22AM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

I'm going to guess 6-12" of soil on top. I would dig a hole that's wider than it is deep, too, because as mentioned earlier in this thread, a lot of microbial activity is shallow.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 1:45PM
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Tox, I wonder how long before I can use that poop as compost for a fruit tree.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2014 at 11:18PM
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Several people mentioned it, but let me re-iterate: for those interested in this topic, please read the humanure handbook!

Human manure is super N. To compost it without smell requires addition of a lot of C, and it must be covered by the C.

As for why not just let it go to the sewage treatment plant, that is also addressed in the humanure handbook. First, why pollute x gallons of potable water? Second, there are too many other things mixed in with the water by the time it gets to the sewage plant, including stormwater runoff. It is a toxic soup. Not a good starting substance for compost.

I have a conventional septic system. I don't compost human manure. My friends already think I am crazy for living where I do and having farm animals. If I started composting human manure, I am afraid they wouldn't ever come visit.

But I am pretty sure that if one were to compost one's manure, there would be no question of whether it would be thermophilic or not. If you add human manure, it WILL cook off.

It is definitely possible to spread human pathogens by applying manure directly to soil, so don't do it in your vegetable garden.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 1:20AM
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How long before my poop soil, area with 5 gal. Poop, would be useable for fruit trees, you think?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:40AM
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    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 3:52AM
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I just dunno what to do with these two full
buckets. I peeked in one, tons maggots. Please help!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 4:09PM
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toxcrusadr Clay Soil(Zone 6a - MO)

You need to bury that stuff immediately, either deep in a compost pile or in the ground. Why are you waiting to start? Bury it and decide later how long it will take.

I don't think anyone here knows how long it would take it to decompose in the ground, since we normally don't do that with compostables. In order to compost aerobically, it needs air and burial does not help in that department. But it will decompose, and if you want to find out, dig down and check it now and then.

Fruit trees don't necessarily want high N anyway, it can lead to heavy leafy growth and low fruit production. I imagine the P content of humanure would be high though, and fruit trees do need that.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2014 at 11:32AM
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