How did the indigenous Amazonians create their miracle black soil? No one knows for sure, but it seems obvious that human waste - poo and pee - were important ingredients in the brew.
The ancient Amazonians were ahead of us in many ways. We have embraced the Amazonian practice of adding charcoal to soil. When will we also adopt the practice of gifting our own excreta to the soil microorganisms? Can we call ourselves an advanced civilization when we still engage in barbaric practices like pooping in our own drinking water?
Personally I have not pooped in my drinking water for more than 20 years. I have a two-hole “composting” outhouse with two separate compartments at my remote home in the woods. About every 5 years when one compartment of the vault gets full, we switch to the other hole. We alternate sides so that the composted poo is stored for nearly 10 years before it gets applied to soil. It has been stored so long that there are not likely to be any pathogens left.
When I built my biochar workshop down in the village, however, I had a an opportunity to try something different - pooping in a bucket!
Following the guidelines established by Dr. Ralf Otterpohl of the Hamburg University of Technology, I set up a lactic acid fermentation system for my poo. Terra Preta sanitation is big in Germany, which figures, since they have a lot of sauerkraut juice available to use. Lactic acid fermentation is what produces yummy foods like sauerkraut, yogurt and Asian pickles. Pickled poo may not be “yummy” but it has one great virtue – it eliminates the poo smell. That’s right, pickled poo does not stink. It doesn’t smell wonderful, but it’s really not offensive. So you can keep your bucket indoors right in your bathroom and no one will complain.