Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by helenlee, Aug 4, 2010.
helenlee is having some major logging on problems at the moment
Helen, you mentioned somewhere whether people keep their composters inside, and I've started adding all my herb clippings, lavender, lemon balm, sage, rosemary on top of each addition of dirt/dry organics, thinking the aromatherapy might be nice, but it turns out the ants have left and so have the gnats. I don't cut up the clippings, but leave it in lengths. I also use a spray by a company called EcoSmart for flying insects. It's a combo of peppermint oil, cinnamon oil and sesame oil somehow emulsified into water. It's a nice smelling spray, and it might be possible to make one up without too much trouble
And if the contents look too creepy I just put more dry stuff and dirt over the top, although it does break down fastest when it's wet
Worm farming would do a stage one breakdown, then add the vermicast to a traditional compost heap or let it age on its own.
Earthworms don't eat human (carnivore) feces. They don't eat, as in chew at all. They pass soil through their system,. and what they're after is is decayed plant matter, so it has to already be extremely tiny. They might be around herbivore poop, but only if there's plenty of soil and plant matter available, and only after the microbes have broken it down first. Have you ever seen directions on worm farming that say add human feces to their bin? No.
It's only microbes you want in your composting toilet, and those come from soil and decayed plant matter, carbons.
There are waterless worm driven toilets available, sweetpea. Dr Uday Bhawalkar has a fairly clever and adaptable design...
The Book... "Earthworms in Australia" by David Murphy makes for excellent reading.
Hi guys, I'm just about to move into a house on a few acres and looking at putting a biolytic septic system in.. I have approval for sub surface drip irrigation but i am wondering, I know i can irrigate my fruit trees with it but i am looking at putting in a very big vegie patch, like nearly quarter acre to be fully self sufficient with our veg. i have heard mixed stories on a few forums about this and would love some "good" advice from maybe someone who is doing the same thing, or someone else with the same biolytic system..
I'm sorry, but they are not 'worm driven". They are carbon/decayed plant material/microbe driven, and that's the first line of breakdown of human feces. Once that has happened, worms will pass decayed plant matter/compost through their systems. Earthworms are herbivores. they co-exist in an environment that has more plant matter than feces. Earthworms are not the first to work on solid feces.
If you can find a site that says that earthworms eat human feces (not herbivore, but human carnivore feces) before anything else gets to it, I'd love to see it
And when you think about it, why wouldn't every country on the planet treat sewage this way? Think of all the stinky sewage plants that don't need to happen, and all the third world countries where people throw it in the street if earthworms were the first to break it down.
Earthworms need the soil to be 55-65F/12-18C. A properly built composting toilet pile can range from room temp 75F/23C and can get up to 150F/68C degrees in the center because microbes are eating the feces, pooping and dying and creating heat, earthworms cannot survive in those temps. they will leave, like go across your floor to get out if they are inside. They will go down into the soil below an outdoor composting toilet and wait until the composted pile cools.
Any mention of worms in composting toilets I've found in the internet are by individuals who aren't even mentioning microbes, don't even seem to understand that microbes are the first line of attack on feces. If worms can't chew off chunks of solid waste, how could they break down (be the a "stage one breakdown") solid globs of feces?
you certainly put your point across strongly, we used worms in our nature-loo and naturally along with them would be bacteria i would guess as the worms are the only visible critter in there, except when these big black flies (not normal fly) got in and then their maggots helped in the process, an updated design in the toilet seat stopped that (and no we did not have these flies hovering around the dunny seat, they weren't there in droves), for the worse i thought. as those drums seemed to give the best end product. but we used composting worms who never left the drums and the matter was duely composed in about 6-7 months. we would put a spade full of the composted material back in with lots of worms to begin the new process. we also used dried out mushroom compost to cover the stool with not every use not needed can't remember maybe once a day. that can heat up to when it begins to break down.
but whatever was happening in our drums was working, without the enzyme. the added advantage was each time we added the material into our gardens we added more composting worms.
for me if science gets involved to bag the idea then they are there for vested interests as they don't work for nothing it all costs, and when research is done and paid for the rule is "who pays wins", just look at gov' they pay for research and always get the supporting answer they want.
Scan from the Book, "Earthworms in Australia" by David Murphy
that system is very close to how the nature-loo works except their system the solid gets collected in a drum, all vented much the same. might be that n/l is then a little easier to set up, only need to build the toilet house. worms work just as well and at the end of it lots of worm wee in the bottom.
Yeah, the nature loo has a rather high price tag... i've seen it advertised for over $2,000. Dr Bhawalkar's simple design, is adaptable to many locations, particularly and especially in countries and areas where waste is a problem and money is lacking...
that price still be lower than septic and others around the place, and simple by design and vesatile by nature one might say. with that unit you scanned only one issue your pooping on to a sloping tube what makes the poop flow to the bottom, hence the design of nature-loo straight from you to bin no stopovers. with pricing need to look at all factors, some other systems heading up toward $10k or something and then needing lots of plumber work for septic. always the simplest systems works the better.
Yes, I agree, the sloping pipe is not the best idea, but it would still work with a straight pipe. I have heard a pour of used vegetable oil every now and then helps with the slip
Septic systems rarely allow for the collection of a usable product... That's wasted waste...
yep it could be easily designed for a straight down pipe, not sure some vege' oil? might slow the break down dunno? anyhow full marks for being simple, only thing in council controlled areas would they approve it?
used to be plans available for a DIY n/l copy, saw one once worked well identical in operation, but not EPA approved so councils would not approve it, silly realy. that was lots cheaper like in the mid+ 100's of dollars, used the blue 44 gal drums. i bought plans then sold them to a canadian. once you see nature loo construction you could easily mimmick it.
The only resume info I can find on David Murphy is that he was a tanner who decided to raise worms, wrote a book that has everyone who wants to sell you this book, thrilled. I'm sure he knows how to raise worms, but he is not a microbiologist. He never once mentions the microbiology that is happening in the toilet. It's just bad science to say that worms are doing all the work, when they are not. Just because you can see worms, does not mean they are doing it all. He's leaving out a crucial part, and I don't have time to thoroughly check if anyone has questioned his book. Everyone seems to want to embrace it without asking questions, but any microbiologist will tell you, no compost pile or compost toilet is ever 100% worm driven. Never.
I can see gnats and ants in my toilet, so I can say that it's gnat and ant driven. It's just wrong to only use observations. Sure worms love household food scraps, and that's why it's easy to have a worm farm. But when it comes to composting human waste, they are not the first line of breaking down the contents.
Quoting from your scan:
the way the paragraph is written, the "100% worm driven" refers to producing drinking quality water with vermifilters, not handling a composting toilet:
"Straight from the Bhawalkar Earthworm Research Institute come Vermifilters. Using these, (vermifilters) the Institute claims to produce drinking-quality water from raw sewage. It is a continuous process, is 100 percent worm-driven, and provides both primary and secondary treatment. "
Notice the word "claims" which doesn't prove it works or give Mr. Murphy any inside knowledge as to the efficacy of the Bhawalkar Institute's claims.
"feeding raw sewage across a succession of specially designed worm beds by means of a rotating broom AFTER first GRINDING THE SOLIDS into fine particles"
that means the worms don't even touch it until something else, presumably machinery, grinds it into something the worms can handle. So worms are not the first to break down the contents even in their setup.
David Murphy's book was written in 1993, and I can't find anywhere on the internet Earthworm Systems in Victoria, nor was there ever a composting toilet for sale by that company. The book is still around, but it's been 17 years and apparently nothing new about composting toilets from this fellow.
Farming earthworms is an entirely different endeavor, and does not involve human feces. So unless there are other parts of that book that talk about worms being the only thing working in a composting toilet, (these are all pit toilets with dirt, i.e., microbiology, BTW) this is not proof positive that a composting toilet can be 100% worm driven. If it's 100% worm driven then let's put the feces, pee and worms in a container and see what happens. it won't be pretty
No one is claiming the manure, whether human feces, animal or plant has not begun a Microbial Fermentation before the worms get to it... shit breaks down regardless of whether worms are attacking it or not. Maybe worms are piss pots and wanna get high on the liquor... I don't really care to spend my time investigating a worms mind. The fact is, worms consume decaying (decayed if you prefer) matter and deposit grains that looks a bit like used tea leaves... This stuff is great on the garden and i'll continue promoting the benefits of it... the rest is just science...
Has anyone used the camping toilets, the ones with a plastic bucket with a toilet seat attached?
I was thinking this would be a good idea, depositing the number 2's in and covering with comfrey, lemongrass or other herbs. Keeping the full buckets for 12 to 24 months, then spreading in the garden. Collecting the pee in a seperate container to use in the garden. Does anyone see any problems with this concept.
Grassroots, the problem I see is the small size isn't going to contribute the heat to the breakdown that a larger compost pile would. The heat generated in a larger pile would help destroy internal parasites and other nasties. In a working compost pile, I can't see that omitting the urine would be of any benefit, as the nitrogen in the urine would contribute to the breakdown. That may not be the case in a CLOSED system, such as a manufactured composting toilet, which I don't know much about.
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