As you may know, I have two dogs… a Dalmatian and an Irish Wolfhound. These are not small dogs and they do make a mess in the backyard. Ensuring that the yard is free of their poo is a chore and when I am finished I end up with a bag of dog poo. What do I do with this?
Something I am learning from Permaculture is the concept of turning a negative into a positive… to that end I have been working on a little side project for the last couple of weeks and it involves dog poo. I read that dog manure can be converted into a safe and highly productive manure if you treat it correctly. In short, dog poo may contain a large number of pathogens (such as roundworm) which could be harmful to humans… yet, if it is treated correcting, the manure becomes safe for use.
I have had a spare plastic bin in my car port for several years. It contained the mat from our old trampoline as well as the springs. Since we moved from Collinsvale we bought a new trampoline (for some reason I don’t recall). So this one has been sitting around. I wanted to use the mat as a cover for my garden beds, so they could over winter without accumulating weeds. When the bin was empty I decided that it could be used to store the dog manure… as I didn’t have any other use for it.
The one problem with collecting dog manure is the smell. Storing 30 kgs of dog poo is bound to smell bad. I have gotten around this by using carbon… in the form of shredded paper. I have added one part dog poo and two parts shredded paper to the bin. This helps to break down the manure and also removes 99% of the odor. The contents are mixed weekly (when I do the weekly clean up of the garden) to ensure they are all covered in paper. While many people recommend allowing the compost to sit for 6 weeks, I believe that is not long enough. I will be allowing this bin to sit for 12 months, once it is filled, before I start to use it.
I am not 100% sure I will be using this on my food garden. I will have to research more before I am satisfied that the pathogens in the manure are all deceased. I should be very safe using this on the ornamental parts of the garden, such as the roses or the non-fruiting trees which we have on the property. The good thing about this is that I don’t have to decide now… I have over 12 months to make my mind up on my decision.