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Old 13-01-2012, 17:00   #16
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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We have been using a composting head for the last 5 years. It takes awhile to get used to but once you get the hang of it their great. The peat especially the stuff bought from Lowes etc can have bug eggs in it. No screen will cure that as they're already in the tub:
That makes sense. I wonder if it's more of an issue in places where it doesn't get cold very often. Have you considered using coconut husks?
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Old 13-01-2012, 17:08   #17
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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You sound as if you have had bugs before and did not mind them. True or false buddy!
Yes we have had. It's happened a couple of times but thats part of owning anything, you gotta work the bugs out. if you get bugs use a shop vac and suck them up. You will of course have to change the peat.
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Old 13-01-2012, 17:14   #18
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

I only buy the 'Beats Peat' made from ground coconut husk [choir]. I have never encountered anything like these bugs, and I suspect they were original in the peat. I am super alert for bugs. I hates em I does, gollum gollum. One of the reasons for living in the PNW.
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Old 13-01-2012, 17:20   #19
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Thumbs up Re: Composting head for live aboards?

I have experience with both the Natures Head, and the Air Head. The Natures Head is (without a doubt) the better unit, but either would be a fine choice.

The first Natures Head was installed (briefly) on my boat, and then I sold it (and installed it) on a Southern Cross 31. It is a great unit, better made and engineered then the Air Head... no screws to remove to empty the urine... The owner of the SC 31 has been using it happily since I sold it to him.

I spent Christmas / New years on the boat with the Airhead... I did a delivery on it in August, and it has been in use since then. The urine has (of course) been emptied many times, but the compost has yet to be... it was getting close to being ready to be dumped but had no smell what so ever.

I plan to buy a C-Head seat and make a custom unit to fit my boat... the 22" height just does not work out for me. Having gone 'composting' there is nothing else that I will have now.
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Old 13-01-2012, 17:22   #20
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

The good people at Permies.com are an excellent resource for this kind of thing. Permaculture has a lot of similarities to the sustainable cruising lifestyle. Check it out, its pretty cool. (Let me know what you think)
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Old 13-01-2012, 17:57   #21
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

The main thing is separating your urine from your solids. (The urine is excellent when mixed with water for ferlizing plants, so it you keep a small herb garden etc, you can use some if it there.)

The solids need a bed of carbon material like wood shavings. Then every time someone uses the pail you add some more shavings. It should not smell at all if you have enough carbon.
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Old 13-01-2012, 19:16   #22
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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The solids need a bed of carbon material like wood shavings. Then every time someone uses the pail you add some more shavings. It should not smell at all if you have enough carbon.
Do you turn or stir the pot contents or just sprinkle to cover and forget?
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Old 13-01-2012, 19:21   #23
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

From what I understand, you just cover. On land, you would just take it to your humanure pile.
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Old 13-01-2012, 19:43   #24
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

It works better if you do aerate. Most of the home made ones don't and you have to keep covering it so you use more desiccant. With a Nature's Head you "stir the pot" and so use less desiccant and get more composting effect.
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Old 13-01-2012, 19:53   #25
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

Hmmm never had a bug problem in the past almost three years now. But then I never thought of something as simple as bug eggs in the desiccant. Makes some sense but not enough with some new precautions with the desiccant to ever go back to a holding tank system.
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Old 13-01-2012, 20:21   #26
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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Hmmm never had a bug problem in the past almost three years now. But then I never thought of something as simple as bug eggs in the desiccant. Makes some sense but not enough with some new precautions with the desiccant to ever go back to a holding tank system.
What kind of moss do you use?
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Old 13-01-2012, 20:26   #27
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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Hi RH, I recall your earlier enthusiasm for the swap to composting and, for those of us who have been dallying for a while, your experience would likely be valuable.

I wonder therefore if you could spare the time and energy to post the "bit of writing to relay properly" that experience.
I've been waiting to write up, and believe me, I really wanted the composting head thing to work for us. When it worked well, it was awesome. When it didn't, it was a nightmare and honestly made me feel like a terrible parent because my infant daughter was living on a boat that had these disgusting little bugs running around in it.

The eggs coming from the coir might have been the source: entirely possible. If you google around and look at composting message boards in general they're very happy to have the bugs as it adds to the composting situation. While I'm sure that's true, it's disgusting to have in your bed.

Dumping the solids is cake, dumping the jug every couple of days is dead on easy, and the installation (minus the physical size, which is big) was brain dead simple as well.

I'll probably do a blog post soon and go into depth about it when we re-install a wet head system. I'm stoked for those of you guys who've had long term luck with composting heads. Maybe I just had a string of bad luck (there was more than just the bugs, we actually got a new unit shipped out because of a seal failure as well), but the next place we're going is south and central america where the bug situation and heat/humidity will only be magnified.
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Old 13-01-2012, 20:49   #28
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

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The eggs coming from the coir might have been the source: entirely possible. If you google around and look at composting message boards in general they're very happy to have the bugs as it adds to the composting situation. While I'm sure that's true, it's disgusting to have in your bed.
I'm with you on the bugs. If I had that problem it would be a case of solve it or move on. I would prefer to use the coconut husks but it seems difficult to find. I would guess that it would be less likely to house bug eggs plus it comes in those lovely compressed blocks.
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Old 13-01-2012, 21:51   #29
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

Perhaps you could attack bug eggs the same way you do eggs in flour or rice. Freeze, or microwave, or put dry ice in a zip lock with them.
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Old 13-01-2012, 21:56   #30
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Re: Composting head for live aboards?

... anyone ever think of sticking the brick of coir into the oven and baking it to kill any potential liveaboards?
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