Thermophilic humanure composting
In contrast to the more
widely used cool
humanure composting systems, the author of The
recommends thermophilic composting. His method is extremely safe
since all pathogens die when compost achieves a temperature of 143.6
degrees for an hour, 122 degrees for a day, 114.8 degrees for a week,
or 109.4 degrees for a month. As a result, Jenkins has used
homemade humanure compost in his vegetable garden with impunity for
Jenkins' system uses the
inside toilet as a mere collection device. He fills a five gallon
bucket partway with sawdust, then adds another layer of sawdust after
each use. Once the bucket is full, he carries it out to his
Humanure Hacienda (a two-bin outdoor compost pile), rakes back the
covering material in the center of the pile, deposits his load, and
covers everything back up with straw, hay, weeds, leaves, or grass
clippings. After rinsing out the bucket, he pours that water on
the compost pile as well, and all of his food scraps are similarly
The Jenkins family of four
fills one bin of the Humanure Hacienda each year. On the summer
solstice, Jenkins shuts off the old bin and lays down about eighteen
inches of pile-covering materials in the other bin. By the time
the second bin is full, the humanure in the first bin has thoroughly
composted and is ready to apply to the garden, leaving the first bin
empty and ready to refill.
While Jenkins' system is
definitely tried and true, I don't really see the point of carrying
humanure around in buckets. After living for a few years without
a toilet in the house, using the bathroom indoors has started to feel
unsanitary (and also boring --- no wildlife viewing opportunities), so
I'd be more inclined to move the whole humanure system outdoors.
Tomorrow's post will end our lunchtime series with a couple of
iterations of Jenkins' design that keep poop-handling to a minimum
while retaining the benefits of thermophilic composting.
walks you through no-till gardening, cooking with homegrown goodies,
keeping chickens, and much more in simple weekend segments.
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