“Night soil” was the name euphemistically given to human waste because it was removed from privies under the cloak of darkness so that polite society would be spared from confronting its own feces as the men carted the crap away, leaving a trail of stench in their wake.
China's use of “night soil,” as the Chinese rightly call a manure that is collected after dark, is probably the reason that its soils are still healthy after four millennia of intensive agriculture, while other great civilizations—the Maya, for one—floundered when their soils turned to dust.
Using unprocessed human feces as fertilizer is risky because of potential disease-causing pathogens. That risk is exacerbated by use of antibiotics, hormones and endocrine disruptors that appear in all manures.
While the practice of collecting “night soil” from urban households in China to be repurposed as fertilizer in rural rice paddies might be somewhat outdated, the idea of using excrement to maintain soil fertility continues to be promoted by environmentalists around the world.
Human excreta, or night soil, has been used in China to fertilise crops and feed fish for thousands of years. Presently, some 164.25 million tonnes of night soil are produced every year by 300 million people in 479 cities.
Urine can be used as a fertiliser without fear it will fuel the spread of antibiotic resistance, researchers have revealed – although they urge caution against using fresh bodily waste to water crops. Urine is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus and has been used for generations to help plants grow.
Urine is chock full of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, which are the nutrients plants need to thrive—and the main ingredients in common mineral fertilizers.
If you can get over the initial “ick” factor, composting your dog's poop is absolutely worth considering. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it is a simple, natural, and inexpensive option for use as a nutrient-rich and surprisingly odor-free fertilizer that plants love.
Human poo can be used as a compost to help fertilise soil so that crops can grow - the product is known as biosolids. Biosolids in the soil will provide nutrients and organic materials for the crops and plants to absorb, such as nitrates and phosphates.
But the “60 harvests” claim is quite clearly false. More than 90% of conventionally managed soils had a 'lifespan' greater than 60 years. The median was 491 years for thinning soils. Half had a lifespan greater than 1,000 years, and 18% exceeded 10,000 years.
The Amish in Bourbon County themselves dispose of both human and animal waste on their farm lands for fertilizer.
All this waste is good, holy fertilizer. Dog and cat waste is particularly valuable because, compared to most manures, it is higher in phosphorus, the plant nutrient most difficult for organic farmers and gardeners to come by naturally.
A good soil amendment, chicken manure adds organic matter and increases the water holding capacity and beneficial biota in soil. A good fertilizer; chicken manure provides Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium to you plants (more than horse, cow or steer manure).
Human composting typically involves putting a body into a steel vessel, then covering it with organic materials like straw, wood chips and alfalfa. Microbes break down the corpse and the plant matter, transforming the various components into nutrient-rich soil in roughly 30 days.
Cow manure is a great all-purpose fertilizer. It's low in nitrogen so it won't burn your tender plants, and has a good balance of nutrients. What's more, since a cow's four stomachs digest its food so thoroughly, very few weed seeds make it through, so you don't have to worry about them.
By the early eighteenth century, night soil was highly coveted. The price of the fecal material from ten households per year was valued between two and three bu of silver or over one half a ryo of gold.
Dewatered Sludge Cake is a resource that is produced from the final dewatering of sludge from Waste Water Treatment plants. The production of sludge cake is an essential part of producing the clean discharge of water into the environment from the treatment of human waste.
For many farmers, it's more cost-effective to let crops rot in the fields. They can't afford to harvest it if there is no market for it, and food banks can't cover the full cost of labor.
Generally, resting winter farmland is part of crop rotation techniques, and a cover crop is often used to replenish the nutrients in the soil. However, some farmers let their winter farmland rest beyond just a season. Some let their fields lay fallow anywhere from a year to five years.
Another thing about human waste is that it has tremendous potential value that can be tapped if we don't waste it. Urine has most of the nitrogen and phosphorus – both key ingredients in fertilizer – from our diets. Feces contain organic matter and nutrients.
Scoop dog poop immediately after your dog goes to the bathroom (even in your own backyard). If not immediately, clean up all dog poop in your yard at least once a week. Never mow the lawn with dog poop in it. Your lawn mower will spread any bacteria or parasites in the poop all over your yard.
Can I place used paper towels, napkins, and tissue in my compost cart? Yes, absolutely. These items can be composted even if they are wet or stained with food, vegetable oil, or grease.
Humans have known for thousands of years that their urine is an excellent fertilizer for crops. It contains phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium—many of the same ingredients as commercial fertilizers. But because of the squeamishness associated with using urine to grow crops, its use has been limited.
Using wood ash in home gardens can increase soil fertility and raise soil pH. What are the potential benefits of using wood ash? Wood ash contains nutrients that can be beneficial for plant growth. Calcium is the plant nutrient most commonly found in wood ash and may comprise 20% or more of its content.
Take home message. Adult human urine is not sterile. The resident bacterial community may contribute to urinary health and disease in undiscovered ways.