How do you feel about our current sewerage system? What part of this system respects nature? Why an eco loo?
The eco loo is not only sustainable but part of a regenerative solution. This compact toilet can go anywhere and be placed in any room. You don’t need any plumbing. It comes with 2 buckets of sawdust and you can use your waste and turn it into compost for your plants. This is a fantastic way to save water and to save the valuable nitrogen and other minerals that your body emits.
How does it work?
You sit on the loo and conduct business as usual. Once a deposit is made, you cover with damp sawdust. Light a match to burn excess methane in the air or use an air freshener. Close the lid.
Does it smell?
No, not if you cover your business with damp bedding like saw dust, wood shavings or even shredded paper.
Isn’t poo dangerous?
Excrement must be treated responsibly. The compost pile should reach a temperature of 62 degrees celsius for an hour or 43 degrees celsius for at least a month. Once all the pathogens are killed from exposure to these temperatures caused by the slow burn of decomposition and nitrogen content, the compost will be safe once it reaches a lovely black colour with an earthy smell. Click here for more information about composting and here for instructions on how to build a compost bin from pallets.
Why is this better than a conventional loo?
You can make your own compost and save lots of money while improving the soil and building more topsoil
You save huge amounts of water because there is no flushing
No embarrassing ‘plop’ sounds
No water splashes on your bottom
No toilet bowl cleaning required
If used correctly, no odour which is much better than stinky ‘Let it mellow’ in conventional toilets.
Unicorn Cafe’s toilets are made from wood, are very sturdy and come with your choice of toilet seats and wood finish.
Earlier in in 2017, we started keeping all the garden waste. Branches and leaves from pruning and raking were used in our compost pile as well as saved kitchen scraps and the contents of our eco loo. While these compost piles worked well in the sense that they broke down and matured into usable compost, they did take up space and became a bit of an eyesore with a garden developing around them.
We were keen on making a tidier compost bin which would create a large volume, big enough to enable the materials to heat up and cure. We used this informative video above as a guide to making ours. Now we have a big box in the corner to throw all our organic waste away in.
We didn’t use fancy hinges and replaced these with chains that were lying in the garage. As we will only open this bin when the compost is ready, we didn’t want to go to too much trouble. We can always add hinges and a fancy two-part door later 😉
The following article offers some guidance on how to collect, preserve and store these seeds.
Collect your heirloom seeds after the morning dew has dried preferably on a dry and sunny day. This usually occurs around 10:00 a.m. Make sure that your herbs, fruits, and vegetables are completely dry.
Always save more seed than you think you may need and save equal amounts of seed from each healthy plant. Saving seeds from each plant ensures that all the traits of the type of herbs/fruits/vegetables are preserved and saving equal amounts of seed from each plant ensures that the original balance and range of traits is preserved.
Fruits that have seeds in their pulp are best picked when the fruit is fully ripe and turning soft (but not rotting). These include tomatoes, eggplants, melons, chillies, and passion fruit. However, some fruits are best picked when the seeds have had time to plump up, that is, just after maturity. These include red and green peppers, butternut, gem squash, pumpkin, and marrows. Some fruit seeds need to fully mature before being harvested. This excludes a further 3 weeks before the seeds are ready to be picked. These include cucumbers, zucchinis, okra, and sweet corn.
Broad beans, runner beans, bush beans and maize should completely dry out on the plant before being harvested. If rain is forecasted, the seed heads and pods should be removed and placed in a well-ventilated, dry area until the seeds are hard.
Note that some plants scatter their seeds as they mature. These include, carrots, parsnips, lettuce, onions, and celery. As these seed heads approach maturity, they should be placed into paper bags and shaken daily, that way the released seed falls into the bags rather than on the soil.
How to clean Heirloom Seeds?
Plants that scatter their seeds do not require need any attention. They are clean and dry and just need to be harvested and stored. However, some seeds are fleshy, that is, they surrounded by pulp that requires removal. For example, with tomatoes you would need to scoop out the flesh with a spoon and place it in a bowl of water. Subsequently, you would need to separate the flesh and seeds by rubbing the flesh vigorously with your thumb and forefinger. Finally, you would drain the water through a sieve to catch the seeds and allow them to completely dry out on a plate (±10 days).
The genetic material of heirloom seeds can still change or be lost in storage even after proper collection and sanitation. Seeds may die if they are stored for too long or if they are stored under unfavourable storage conditions.
The viability of heirloom seeds preserves their integrity. Some seeds remain viable for a long period. For example, peas, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts last for at least 3 years, while tomatoes squash, cucumber, and melon lasts 5 years or longer. However, other seeds are only viable for a short period. For example, corn, onion, leek, parsnip, and salsify only last for one season.
You can place harvested heirloom seeds in paper bags and store them in a dark pantry or cupboard. Keep in mind that the enemies of seeds are heat, light and humidity. In addition, label your seeds indicating their type and time of harvest. Alternatively, you could store them in dark glass jars or plastic. However, seed transpiration can cause moisture build up in these containers ultimately spoiling the seeds. Thus, when storing seeds in these containers, you run the risk of your seeds going mouldy.
If you use glass or plastic, then a layer of silica gel must be placed at the bottom of each container and the gel should subsequently lined with paper towels. You may then fill your jars with your seeds. The silica gel will turn from its normal blue colour to pink when the seeds start to transpire. When this happens, you will have to remove the seeds, and replace the silica gel until your seeds need to be planted.
Saved heirloom seeds should be stored at a cool temperature (below 10°C/ 50°F). If you are unsure as to when you will plant your seeds again, you can store them in the fridge (in glass jars) at 5°C/41°F.
After following all these tips, a germination success rate of 50%-80% can be expected when you replant your seeds. Please note that this is also dependent on the type herbs, fruits, or vegetables you are growing, climatic conditions and soil viability.
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