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Old 30-05-2013, 05:52   #1
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Does anyone dig in their compost?

A couple of questions for those with composting toilets...

Do you take your compost home and dig it into the vegie patch or rose garden? Or do you dump it in the normal way sewage is disposed of, at sea or at an onshore facility?

And for those who do the latter, could you say why you've chosen composting over chemical treatment, which would be so much simpler and cheaper?

Thanks
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Old 30-05-2013, 06:10   #2
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

Tilling human waste into your veggie patch is not a good idea. For one thing, because of the meat in our diet, it will stink. For another it carries human pathogens and bacteria, which you really don't want on the food you eat. That's why "good" compost for the garden always comes from ungulates who are also basically vegetarian--cows, horses, sheep, etc.
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Old 30-05-2013, 06:24   #3
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Tilling human waste into your veggie patch is not a good idea. For one thing, because of the meat in our diet, it will stink. For another it carries human pathogens and bacteria, which you really don't want on the food you eat. That's why "good" compost for the garden always comes from ungulates who are also basically vegetarian--cows, horses, sheep, etc.
The chinese think otherwise - but I have to agree with you. Even with animal manures, people rarely do an effective job composting and the end result is loaded with coliform. We compost several hundred tons of it a year but for grain crops.

MAybe your flower beds or lawn would appreciate if more or less properly composted.
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Old 30-05-2013, 06:38   #4
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pirate Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

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Old 30-05-2013, 06:52   #5
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

friend of mine does that in baja....
most veggies filter out the pathogens...lettuce and some few others do not--is why some certain foods inmexico do make you use facilities more frequently.
fruits and mpst veggies can use the fertilizer--mix it into a compost heap, as fresh stuff isnt going to do anything but burn your garden and stink righteously.... you need to mi=x it with more organic vegetable remains and let it sit a bit then use it when all is well mixed...
there have been instructions on making the proper compost heap since mid 1950s....mebbe google it for info.
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Old 30-05-2013, 07:18   #6
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

It wouldn't bother me at all to do that except I don't garden. I will be installing my Airhead next month and plan on finishing the composting in with my kitchen scraps at home but I will be just making nice dirt as a way of recycling, not for gardening. I grew up on a dairy farm and my dad just dug the raw sewage from the outhouse right into the veggie garden as far as I remember and no one suffered from it. Never heard of pathogens back then.

Steve.
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Old 30-05-2013, 08:17   #7
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

Hi:

"The Humanure Book" discusses this. IIRC the basic idea is run two piles, active, and aging. A year (two?) after the last addition to the aging pile, that is a year after it stopped being the active pile, the pathogen load is way down and the compost is good for general application. There are of course pile size and temperature details, but that is the basic idea.

Boulter
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Old 31-05-2013, 02:17   #8
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

Thanks to those who've responded; there are some useful thoughts there but it was the last question that really interested me: viz, why choose a composting head over a chemical one if the compost is not being used as a fertiliser but, instead, being disposed of as sewage.

It seems to me at the moment that a chemical head has all the benefits of a composting head (no plumbing for starters) but none of the complication (urine separation, turning in the organic material etc) - not to mention the much higher initial cost of the composting unit.

If the compost product was being used to grow bigger spuds, I'd understand. But if it's just being disposed of in the usual manner, at sea or ashore, then I struggle to see the benefit of going compost over chemical.

I want to go plumbing free with the head but, because I can't imagine using my compost in my garden, am leaning to chemical.

Any thoughts appreciated...
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Old 31-05-2013, 02:26   #9
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

Having lived aboard with a chemical toilet for the best part of 7 years I can say that I will be going for a composting toilet very soon. Chemical toilets stink unless they are emptied every few days. This can be a nuisance when you want to leave the boat as you have to empty the toilet before you go. A Composting can just sit there doing it's thing as long as you empty the urine. Composting seems like the perfect solution for the simple sailor.
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Old 31-05-2013, 05:00   #10
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Old 31-05-2013, 05:06   #11
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

I'll second snowpetrel's ^^
I didnt like the frequent handling that a chemical toilet requires. I got a retching feeling each time I had to empty it.. Even bucket and chuck it was a lot nicer for our casual coastal sailing - and the better half didnt mind it either.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the compost loo works, just once a month emptying sounds good (the regular urine emptying doesnt bother me).
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Old 31-05-2013, 05:37   #12
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Tilling human waste into your veggie patch is not a good idea. For one thing, because of the meat in our diet, it will stink. For another it carries human pathogens and bacteria, which you really don't want on the food you eat. That's why "good" compost for the garden always comes from ungulates who are also basically vegetarian--cows, horses, sheep, etc.
Properly finished compost does not contain human disease pathogens (I can point you to the research if you want) and does not stink. It is just fine to use for gardening.

I have composting toilets at home. They are "batch" type systems (as opposed to "continuos"). We set the compost from these aside to finish for 3 months before using. The end result is just beatiful rich soil.

The possible issue w small capacity marine systems I think would be adequate finishing time. If it is not properly finished then you could have issues. If I were going to use the material from one of the marine systems then I would set it aside in a composting bin to finish completely first.
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Old 31-05-2013, 05:52   #13
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

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A couple of questions for those with composting toilets...
could you say why you've chosen composting over chemical treatment, which would be so much simpler and cheaper?

Thanks
Because holding tanks stink, are small, clog with tp, it's difficult to find pump-outs, and I hate pumping the toilet. We just installed our second composting toilet and I think they are great. No stink. No clog. No pumping. Simple.

We don't garden, but I wouldn't use it on a food garden if I did. It looks like dirt mostly when you dump (after proper composting time) but it just seems wrong to me.
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Old 31-05-2013, 06:08   #14
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

why bother with COMPOSTING when ye dont bother to use it as fertilizer....so now there is another huge bag of toxic waste to be dumped somewhere--how do you folks with desires to CLEAN the world deal with this big bag of e choli that must be dealt with--is toxic waste....
seems to me the original toilet on a boat is a cleaner and better idea ...
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Old 31-05-2013, 06:29   #15
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Re: Does anyone dig in their compost?

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why bother with COMPOSTING when ye dont bother to use it as fertilizer....so now there is another huge bag of toxic waste to be dumped somewhere--how do you folks with desires to CLEAN the world deal with this big bag of e choli that must be dealt with--is toxic waste....
seems to me the original toilet on a boat is a cleaner and better idea ...
What, pumping your crap out into the same patch of water you or somebody else is going to swim in. What part of that is clean and nice? At least with a chemical toilet (which I never used any chemical in) I could take it ashore or row it out of the bay or empty it late at night on an outgoing tide. But the composting toilet seems like such a big improvement on the chemical toilet, with longer emptying periods, separating urine from solids and mostly odourless, spill proof, natural long term storage that only improves the longer you leave it. The ecoli load is much much less than a mix of urine and feces left to simmer and fester in a warm dank holding tank for days. Whats not to like?
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