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4324 Views 31 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  bethanie
As a vegan gardener, I dont use animal based fertilizer or animal manure.

So that only leaves compost ? No.

There is humanure, Im thinking of using it for the (vegetable) garden, but have to overcome some practical things as well as some mental things.

What do you think ?
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I don't like the idea, even if the excrement used comes only from vegans. But I don't know enough about it to make a good thorough argument against it. If it comes from non-vegans you risk accumulation of heavy metals. If it comes from vegans you still risk pathogens, unless you properly compost the feces first. How do you do that? I don't know.

Still, food plants acquire an aroma reminiscent of the medium in which they were grown. This applies to composted excrement. Food grown in well-rotted pig excrement tastes diff than food grown in well-composted cattle excrement. I don't like the idea of using human urine either.
Sewage sludge from unknown humans is a bad idea. People flush things they aren't supposed to, and they get mixed in. I would scrupulously avoid municipal sewage.
Sewage sludge is now illegal in the US, except for golf courses and such. It is illegal for food crops. Heavy metals. Unknowns and unknowables.
There is some historical evidence that several hundred years ago farmers in Europe brought back bones from battle fields, knowing that bones were just what their soil needed to produce better crops, without knowing what exactly what it was in bones that produced better crops. The phosphorous in bones is what.
At the local County Farm in my area, which has an agricultural program for prison trustees, they grow corn for hog-feed, and raise hogs to feed the prison inmates and workers. They are self-sufficient in pork. Of course Muslim and Jewish inmates may not be too excited about this program.

Plus they use the huge amount of hog-feces they produce, to feed the corn.

I took a look at the corn fields one day -- looked like sand with pig-feces in it. No other organic matter was visible to my eye. Very unlike the soil in my garden. Smelled like pig feces, but not extremely strongly. The natural soil is tan sand. Plus the added pig feces do not change it's color much. Very fine particles, instead of the larger sand particles, was the result I noticed, of adding pig feces. Very unlike the soil in my garden, which started with very similar sandy soil, but which is now almost black from added composted veg matter. And of course my soil smells entirely different.

The corn is not fed to humans, only hogs. Strange program. Sometimes I think government officials don't have brains.

Not only don't they grow any vegetables, they don't grow a single ear of sweet corn, only corn for pig feed. Very strange.

Soil got like rock-hard when dry -- such small particles. Sand glued together by micro-pulverized pig-feces glue.
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Eva-bo-beva "I wouldn't do it if youre on antibiotics or Rx meds.."

Why? What would that have to do with anything? Are you concerned that antibiotics or Rx Meds might affect the soil or the plants? Negligible compared to everything else in excrement, and urine. Antibiotics and most Rx meds would break down rapidly in soil.
janette writes:


i know you have to let it sit around for a while.. just like any other manure.


Inorganic manures such as ground limestone, and phosphate rock, do not need to sit around before being applied. Just as soon as you grind the limestone or the phosphate rock, into spreadable powder or granules, you can add it to your soil. You just have to know how much is too much and how much is not enough. After you work it shallowly into the soil, you can immediately plant seeds in the soil without harming the seeds.

You can also spread them around growing root plants,work them into the soil, and then immediately pick the root plants and eat them, without harm to yourself, providing you wash most, but not all, of the stuff off before eating the root plants. This is the scenario where manure made from animal excrement can be dangerous to humans, if bacterial spores have not been killed off by long-term composting.
Cooperative extension says you should not use feces from animals that are not largely herbivorous, nor from humans because generally humans eat too much animal flesh, which makes their feces unsafe. 2 reasons: accumulation of heavy metals in the feces; more dangerous kinds of micro-organism spores.
The aroma and flavor that plants acquire, of the kind of feces they were grown in, is not usually due to feces particles remaining on the plant, but is due to chemicals that enter the roots and circuclate throughout the plant.
Even feces from largely herbivorous animals is not entirely safe.

In my opinion it makes no sense to use any kind of feces. It is simpler to compost plant matter in a bin, instead of using an animals digestive tract as a compost bin. And there there is never any reason to be concerned about disease or heavy-metal concentrations, if the compost is plant matter. The micro-orgranisms that live on plants won't infect animals, and vice versa.
Why can't you make your own compost 1vegan? Is there a shortage, near you, of free compostable materials like fall tree-leaves and lawn-grass clippings?
What do you mean 6 inch deep? I had plain yellow sand when I started. Period. 1/4 inch of topsoil above that.

Now I have black soil 8 inches deep.

You just have to pick out the plastic. I have plastic all over my yard -- it blows over from the down the block. I have to pick it up before I mow. I don't use grass clippings from the unfenced front yard because there are too many dogs cropping on it, and I don't want to use the grass over the septic tank (tho most heavy metals go down, not up, and coop ext says it is safe to compost those grass clippings).

I have about 1000 square feet of lawn that I mow, in the back, and the rest of my back yard, about 1500 square feet, is garden area. I have occaisionally gotten grass from a local commercial mowing service, and from my front lawn, but I don't like doing it.

People bag leaves for the town to pick up. I pick them up instead. About 40 to 60 bags a year. Put them 6 at a time in my garden cart. Plus when I had a car I used to go to the shore, about a mile away, and pick up seaweed. I once got my son to do that with me using his car. You can't use too much seaweed tho -- salt.

You can buy hay and straw. If possible you might be able to find rotted stuff, that they can't sell. But I never tried that. I've collected bales of hay, maybe it was straw, from neighbors who had them in Christmas displays. I also mow and compost green manures other than lawn grass -- buckwheat, clover, oats, peas, vetches. That is, leave some of my garden in these, instead of vegetables, and mow it a few times, before finally turning it in.

The bulk of my compst is the tree leaves tho. These are real good for soil tilth construciton, but unfortuantely, these aren't the highest in N. So I supplement with "synthetic" nitrogen.
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It looks like you have trees all around. Even if this land does not belong to you, you might be able to scrape the fallen leaves off the ground. If those hedges are yours, you could trim them before they get too stemmy, and compost the trimmings. Plus you could devote part of your land to growing compostable material for the other part. You grow stuff that will grow easily in poor soil. Like clover, field peas, even edamame.

My first year, I got compost that the town made from leaves they collected --- but I agree they didn't seem trustworthy, too much garbage raked up and composted with the leaves. I didn't like the smell of the stuff. My composted leaves smell different -- better.
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