Midnight Gold

chrysoliteStarred Page By chrysolite, 9th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1h3j6dob/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Soil

This article is not for you if you are easily grossed out, but for the ones that want excellent fertilizer for their plants and feel it's time to do something about our environment, this practical how-to guide on humanure should be of some informational value.

How the Chinese did it

You know how the Chinese use this flowery language! Somewhere I read that in former times the man who collected the "Midnight Gold", i.e. the excrements of the people (and probably animals) in city of Shanghai, had to pay the government of Shanghai 17.000 of their currency back then (and I guess that was a lot!), to be given this job. He collected every day, then composted everything on his land outside the city and after a few years when his haul had converted into the best humus available, he sold his "Midnight Gold" to the farmers who spread this humus onto their fields. So the story goes ...

In modern day reality we also pay our governments an extreme amount of money to get rid of our excrements, but it is open to discussion if the government then produces something useful with it or just tips a lot of chemicals into the sewage farm basins to then dispose of the lot into nature. In my view, not a very clever or lucrative approach.

How my neighbor does it

Well, my neighbor got it all sorted! He has a small piece of land and a little cottage on it and a few meters away from the cottage he put up a little wooden garden shed. In this garden shed he's got a nice regular toilet and a wash basin and the water comes from a well almost automatically as the well is a bit higher. The garden shed is standing right next to the edge of a terrace (our land here in the mountains is terraced) and the disposal pipe of the toilet goes into a little cave he dug right under the shed. There is also a door to close this little cave.

Nothing ever smells nasty there, he's taking all the left overs of the garden to cover every layer and also uses compost help products, because we live in a very dry climate and some help seems to be needed to get the composting process going fast. Every time he wants to plant something, he's got the best humanure, black, sweet smelling compost ready to shovel onto his cultivated piece of land.

How I do it

I'm not as rich as my neighbor, so I have a bucket of water to do the necessary and I also have some very big flower pots, the ones that are used here to transport big palm trees. I had the opportunity to get 12 of them for € 7.50 each, so I had bought them. They are so useful, upside down one can even make roomy cages for chickens and rabbits out of them. So ideal!

Anyway, to start off a humanure pot, I fill it with a bit of straw, grass clippings, small twigs and also a some soil to attract the earthworms. Then, every time I finished using my "waterloo", I empty it into the palm pot and throw in more grass clippings, straw or saw dust, whatever comes in handy. No nasty smells ever! It takes a few months to fill this palm pot and then I bring along the next one to fill. I don't use compost help products, I just let the filled pots sit somewhere in the garden for 2 years and when they are ready, I just add some soil on top and start planting. Call me the lazy gardener and you would be telling the truth.

The plants in the palm pots can also be sheltered from the wind with a piece of plastic to make a cold frame in winter and spring or in summer I shelter them with netting.

How will you do it?

Well, the first question here really is: *Will* you try this? And if you can overcome some silly education we all got for some reason or another, then maybe you will join us to make humanure, it's free, it's the best fertilizer available, it's green living.

The biggest problem will be to convince you that this system doesn't "smell". Well, my neighbor and I know it doesn't, but I can't convince you! You have to try it out for yourself.

You have to find the system you want to use. Whether you want to use compost help products or compost bins, the suggestions can easily be found in garden centers and there are very good books available on "humanure" at Amazon.com (I got them obviously! ;))

Why not ease yourself into the idea with the following suggestions:

  • Watch the YouTube video below
  • Get a book on humanure from Amazon.com
  • Talk to a green fingered friend of yours about it
  • Go to the garden center to get some ideas
  • Do it!

How to make a composting toilet for $15:

Related Links:

And here's a few links if you want to know more about healthy soils:

Practical Soil Improvement Part I - The Earthworm
Powdered Stone (rock dust) - Panacea for the Soil
Plant Your Medicine In The Kitchen!

Thanks for calling in!


Alternative, Chinese, Environment, Fertilizer, Garden, Gold, Green, Guide, How-To, Humanure, Lifestyle, Living, Midnight, Neighbor, Plants

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author avatar chrysolite
From writing to blogging it's only a small step:


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author avatar Retired
9th Jul 2012 (#)

this was a hugely fertile composting with words..lovely & useful advice

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author avatar chrysolite
10th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you for your comment, writingforfun! I'm glad you found the information useful. Why not start your own heap! ;)

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author avatar Kingwell
24th Feb 2013 (#)

I'm not grossed out - intersting share.

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author avatar chrysolite
24th Feb 2013 (#)

Glad you are not grossed out, Kingwell, especially since the humanure is first composted thoroughly and so there is no resemblance with the origin! But then there are always people with fecophobia and that's why I wrote the article. Just to show what has been done for centuries to improve our soils and I think if we want to eat in future properly again, we have to include humanure. Thank you for your comment!

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