Can You Put Dryer Lint In Compost Piles?
The answer to this question depends on your situation. If you have a small yard or garden, then yes, you could put dryer lint in the compost pile. However, if you are concerned about contaminating the soil with human feces, then no! You would need to get rid of all of it before putting anything else into the pile.
Dryer lint is not just any old kind of laundry. It contains many different kinds of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms that may cause problems when they grow in the compost pile. These organisms will eventually kill off everything in the pile unless you remove them immediately. Some people believe that using dryer lint in a compost bin is OK because it’s been washed several times before being added to the pile. But, there is no way to tell if this washing has removed all of these organisms.
If you do decide to use dryer lint in your compost pile, make sure that you wash your clothes thoroughly after each load so that the bacteria don’t grow and multiply inside the clothes. Also, wash your hands thoroughly after touching the items you plan to put into the compost pile. After all, you never know where those dirty fingers might end up!
Can You Use The Compost From A Composting Toilet?
Some people have used the compost (or humus as it is sometimes called) from a composting toilet in their garden. They feel that this is a safe way to get rich soil for their gardens without putting any human waste into their soil. This is a valid point, but it only works if the toilet is designed properly. If you are using a self-contained system with a sealed unit that keeps the human waste inside until it is removed for disposal, then the matter doesn’t have a chance to mix with the soil. It remains in a separate container until it is removed for collection.
Most commercially made composting toilets work this way. They also tend to cost a lot more than the average garden variety toilet. If you are going to make your own, then be sure to follow the instructions carefully so that you don’t end up with contaminated soil or leeching problems.
Can You Use The Compost From A Bucket Toilet?
If you are using a regular 5 gallon bucket then it might be possible that the compost from such a toilet could be used on your garden. However, you would need to take several precautions.
First of all, unless you live in a very dry area, there is a good chance the contents will get too wet and start to ferment rather than compost if you don’t keep an eye on it. This could lead to leaking or even overflowing. You would need to find some way to either keep the bucket elevated or add a second bucket underneath to catch the excess liquid.
Also, you would need to keep scrupulous track of dates. You can only use this on your garden after a certain amount of time has passed.
How much time?
Well that depends on the temperature where the bucket is located. If you live in a hot climate, then it might only take a couple of months. However, if you live some place colder, then you will need to wait up to a year just for safety’s sake.
Some people use a second bucket to assist in the removal of the compost from the first bucket. They simply turn the first bucket upside down over the second bucket and remove the toilet seat or lid from the bottom bucket to access the contents.
This does present a problem in that you have just exposed your carefully collected ‘treasure’ to outside air which can introduce all kinds of bacteria and other organisms into your precious load.
However, if you are careful and keep the bucket system clean, this type of composting toilet can be made to work. Just make sure that you keep up with the dates and don’t add any extra ingredients (like kitchen scraps) until it is time to take it out. Also, only use it on your personal property where you can keep it all nice and secure!
Can I Spread Manure On My Garden?
Manure is a terrific fertilizer for your garden. The only problem is, you have to get the raw version and not the bagged type. Bagged manure can contain hay or other types of plant matter that will actually cause more harm than good to your plants. It also tends to be very dusty and if it is sitting out in the sun, it can actually cause more harm than good due to the heat buildup.
Now what you want is either fresh manure or composted manure. Fresh manure should be fine, but will need time to compost first. You want to make sure you don’t add too much at one time or else you are going to have one smelly garden!
You will have to keep it from contacting the plants as well since fresh manure can be full of bacteria that is harmful to your plants. This should all be taken care of by the time it is ready to use in your garden, but you do want to make sure that it has had time to finish composting first before using it in your garden.
If you have a lot of manure to use and don’t want to wait, you can actually create two areas to compost in. The first one should be a shallow area, filled with as much manure as you can get in it and then covered with a tarp or plastic to help keep the moisture in. You will need to keep an eye on it and take off the tarp to let the moisture out whenever it gets too steamy under there.
The second area will be a little deeper with sides. You will fill this one with the same type of materials you put in the shallow one, but you are going to only fill it up halfway.
Both of these systems should have a ramp leading up to them so you can easily roll a bucket down into them to collect the compost when they are ready. You would then use the composted manure in your garden and if needed, do it all over again.
You can keep the raw manure you collect in a septic tank, but be aware that it will probably have to be pumped more often as it is going to get more use than normal.
Keep in mind that if you use raw manure, you need to let your garden soil “rest” every once in awhile or it can actually harm your plants rather than help them. Using the manure in your garden is great, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you use.
If you are worried about having enough to fill up your garden with, you could always grow a cover crop in a large fenced in area and then let the manure “age” before using it. A cover crop is simply a crop grown not for harvest, but to be plowed or tilled back into the soil so that it will help enrich it.
A good cover crop can be several different types of plants that will help break down the manure so that it is ready to use in your garden without harming it or just using a lot of it up before it has aged properly.
Can You Buy Manure?
You sure can! There are several places where you can either pay a small fee or just buy bags of it if you don’t have livestock and don’t want to go through all the trouble of collecting it yourself.
Some farms that don’t have the land to raise livestock anymore may even have it available to buy. Just make sure you know where it is coming from and how it is being stored before you buy a lot of it, especially if you are using it for your main source of fertilizer.
Some places that sell manure will also provide it free of charge if you sign up to be a gardening client there. These places are usually farms or nurseries that also have livestock on the property. They use the manure in their fields and then sell it to people like you who need it for their gardens. You can also find these kinds of places if you just do an online search for “manure” and the name of the place that you live.
You may also want to ask around at nurseries, garden centers and organic type grocery stores in your area. You may be surprised at the places that you find that have it for sale or even give it away.
As you can see, there are several ways to get your hands on some free manure or compost for your garden. Just remember to always use caution and common sense when working with it and to keep it away from your home if possible.
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Sources & references used in this article:
Agricultural composting and water quality by L Brewer, N Andrews, D Sullivan, W Gehr – Osu Extension, Corvallis, 2013 – ag.ndsu.edu
Agricultural composting and water quality by N Andrews, W Gehr, LJ Brewer, DM Sullivan – 2013 – ir.library.oregonstate.edu
Innovative Solutions for Reducing Waste at Skidmore College by J Watkins – 2020 – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
10 Sorting the trash by L Chatelain, M Reeves – skidmore.edu
EBLINE by S Machum – Microsociological Perspectives for Environmental …, 2016 – books.google.com
The human dimensions of household wastewater: Alternative onsite wastewater treatment systems and the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Composting Toilet … by IS NEBRASKA, UNL H’ers Attend – 2006 – digitalcommons.unl.edu
Techno-Economic Evaluation of a Silk Cocoon Dryer by M Dimpfl – 2011 – search.proquest.com