New question about urine as fertilizer

drayvenApril 23, 2009

Using urine as a fertilizer is not a new topic here and after much reading the consensus seems to be that diluting it to between 1:10 amd 1:30 is optimum.

However I cannot find any information about the FREQUENCY of application.

Admittedly this will depend on the plants being fertilized but nowhere is there a baseline given for what diluted urine actually is.

Is it close to a 10-10-10, or 5-10-5, or 10-0-0. These are just random examples but if I knew what the closest equivalent was then I could calculate the correct application rate.

The plants in particular I am interested in using this on are corn, muskmelon, watermelon, broccoli, and tomatoes.

Any help or links would be greatly appreciated.

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tomacco(7)

I feel very weird about having searched this out for you... but here it is :)

"Urine has a fertilizer value of N/P/K 18:2:5 (2)"

Full PDF about use of urine to fertilize cabbage at: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/jf0717891?cookieSet=1

Main page is: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf0717891

The source for that was:

Lindén, B. Human urine as a nitrogen fertilizer applied during crop growth to winter wheat and oats in organic farming; Department of Agricultural Research: Skara, Sweden, 1997; Serie- B, Crops and Soils Report 1.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 4:43AM
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drayven

Thanks, that is just what I was looking for.
If anyone else has any experience or suggestions please let me know.
I'll update the thread at the end of the season with results.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:18PM
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daylilyfanatic4(Zone 6 SE NY)

Well the whole idea is strange to me but I wouldn't use it on tomatoes to much nitrogen corn will probally be very happy with it but I'm not aure I'd want to eat the corn well thats just me.

hope this helps

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:54PM
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tomacco(7)

Definitely sounds like you need to cut it down with water. If you do, most anything could use it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 7:58PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

We use it at 1:10 dilution, it works great and it is a very good price....;-). Saves water too! (from less toilet flushes). Not sure why people find it so strange or repulsive. After it is diluted it does not even smell bad. Actually, the urea you buy as fertilizer is made from urine is it not? Tomacco, thanks for finding the reference and the NPK value, this is very good. I always assumed that it only had N and 0 for the P and K, nice to know it has some P and K as well as N!

As far as the frequency, when the little bottles get emptied out, we start over, try to remember what was fertilized and just start again. Really I just go by what plants look like and who needs it, I do not use it much on the solenacea family, except maybe just at the beginning for vegetative growth. I have read to water with it once a month per plant, but it depends on the plant and how rich your soil is already. We do use it more on the brassica family, since they are such heavy N feeders.

You can use it straight - undiluted - on the compost pile or tumbler to heat things up a bit, we call it the liquid gold compost activator, LOL.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:05PM
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farmboy66

funny u should say u wouldnt eat corn from urine fertilizer,would u eat from animal manure?think about where an egg comes out of?u may b a vegetarian thats cool but animal(human) waste products are an intricall part of nature if handled with prober methods,everyday things u use can b tracked back to manure/urine.plastics,crayons candles,etanoyl,pharmasuticals,make up,coal,if u have ever ate catfish or shrimp they r bottom feeders what happens to fish poo,huh,im not a total organic gardener but i know what i did with the wastes of my animals when i had livestock,i put them on my fields where you ate my bread(wheat,rye)drove your car etanoyl(corn).hey enough blowin off on my part,tell a farmer ty for keepin me alive ,all this bad press about not taking care of mother earth is bs, who do u think bad stewardship of the land would affect first?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 9:51PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

why should horse urine be ok but your own urine yuk?
I am not a chemist but I know that human urine can even kill germs that cause infection, when applied on cuts and wunds.So the chances of being harmful is slim, plus, it breaks down and plants only take up its nitrogen.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 11:35PM
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tomacco(7)

I would think the concern would be... splashing veggies with it directly, and then eating your urine as a sauce? :)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 12:00AM
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boggybranch

Do not use as a fertilizer...yet, but do use it as an activator for the compost pile.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 7:07AM
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pnbrown

Right, fertilize with diluted urine when plants are growing (when soil temps are sufficiently high, at peak season I use it onces a week or more) otherwise sequester in bottles to chelate (for direct application it's best aged before diluting)or use in compost as suggested. I sometimes saturate planting furrows with it undiluted in early spring when there will be time to be metabolized by microbes before planting.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 7:53AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

we sue it daily, generally mixed with dish pre-rinse water we have about 16sq/meters of garden and fruit trees mainly citrus they miss out most of the time(about once a year) as we need this on the gardens more i can't realy say but i suppose the gardens would get an application a week maybe 2?

len

Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 3:29PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Not only does it save on toilet flushes, it also saves on needless trips back to the house for bathroom breaks while working in the garden.

BTW, urine is sterile, at least when it is fresh.

Jim

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 3:53PM
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wally_1936(8b)

Now I remember why I enjoy farmers and gardners, straight to the point and honest as well. When I have a problem with one of my animals I just hose the area and everything is fine. I can tell many of us are spoiled we are getting to where things have gotten too easy and we forget how to live but then something happens and we learn all over again
Thanks

    Bookmark   April 24, 2009 at 9:59PM
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drayven

It seems that there are more people doing this than I originally thought.
Let me ask one more follow up question for others doing this:
Since urine is so heavy in Nitrogen do you ever mix something else with it or amend the soil differently to compensate or do you just use the urine as an all purpose fertilizer and merely adjust the amount that is applied?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 6:16AM
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pnbrown

When I make compost or manure tea I add it to that. My sandy soils tend to be light on nitrogen so having a quick-acting heavy N fertilizer is useful. In a heavy more fertile soil I'd probably be a bit more circumspect.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 7:59AM
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pjames(8/LA)

For me the frequency of application is dependent on the amount of beer I drink while working in the yard.

I am thinking about saving in a jug indoors as a compost activator.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:19AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

I have been told by a friend with first hand experience that human male urine works as a deer repellent.

Jim

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:53AM
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margocostas

I use it on my compost heaps. I got a lid that goes on a bucket so I can collect it. I have bad knees and can no longer kneel or squat, which makes hiking and backpacking more challenging than it used to be.

I may start to use diluted urine in my garden. Unless you are sick it should be ok. I'm a microbiologist in a hospital, we culture the stuff. Chances are very slim that there is anything in there that is not out there already. The bad stuff is in human and animal feces but there are some that make "humanure". They put "night waste" on gardens in some countries, which obviously would be riskier. Urine is differant.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 10:35AM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

I collect it to use on my compost piles.

Peggy

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 11:58AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'day drayven,

mine gets mixed with pre-rinse dish water that we create or call value added water, this just so we can share as much of the urine value around as we can, i have used it neat.

and yes often it saves me the trip to the bucket for a pee just do it right there in the garden.

len

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:25PM
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californian

Dog pee kills grass. Is that because its not diluted?
I read that during the civil war they would mix human urine with the gunpowder, supposedly made it more powerful. The best urine for the purpose came from alcoholics.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:29PM
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drayven

Californian,
Yup. Urine was used in the creation of Saltpeter. Check it out:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_nitrate

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:59PM
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steelshepherd(6 OH)

You can't assume the NPK of urine. Digesting protein produces urea.

"Deaminating Amino Acids-
When amino acids are broken down (as occurs when they are to be used in energy production), they are first deaminated-stripped of their nitrogen-containing amino groups. Deamination produces ammonia, which the cells release into the bloodstream. The liver picks up the ammonia, converts it into urea (a less toxic compound), and returns the urea to the blood. The kidneys filter urea out of the blood; thus the amino nitrogen ends up in the urine."

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 8:12PM
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glib(5.5)

Also note that urine (18/2/5) mixed with wood ash (0/2/5) in equal amounts will give a near perfect fertilizer for vegetables (18/4/10). Limited to acid soils because of the high pH of wood ash. Never spend a penny on compost, mulch or fertilizer.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 9:22PM
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drayven

glib, that sounds almost too good to be true but the math seems to work out.
For something so simple and essentially free why isn't this more widely known and used? Especially in developing nations and areas.
Is there some downside besides the ph that isn't apparent?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 3:19AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

I use it mostly on compost and plain garden spot, when there is nothing planted yet. You can fertilize non-veggies, like corn, potato, flowers, etc with it. But to do this you have to DO IT in a bucket of water(at an inconspicuous place - hehe, be watchful!) , to dilute it before application.

Gardening is really fun!

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 4:57AM
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pnbrown

Drayven, I think we can be confident that the use of ash and human effluent as fertilizer is common in "developing" countries. China is one of those so-termed, after all, where they have forgotten more about horticulture than we'll ever know. In other places, the use of wood-ash via slash-and-burn is common. Whether the separation of urine from feces as a risk-free way of getting at urea fertilizer is common I don't know. Probably in many places a plentitude of convenient containers for the purpose is lacking....

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 6:59AM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

g'dy drayven,

it's called "the yuk" factor. and some fear hype getting round that doesn't stack up.

len who uses his all the time for years now.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:55PM
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midsummersgarden

My husband is going to love this little tidbit of information, especially when drinking cold beers on a hot day in the garden.

Myself; well, eek-neighbors.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 4:53PM
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greenmulberry(5-Iowa City)

The reason dog pee kills grass is indeed because it is not diluted. It is like dumping concentrated nitrogen fertilizer in one spot. If you go around after your dog and spray where they pee with a hose, you will not have the grass death.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 5:10PM
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steelshepherd(6 OH)

Pee from beer will be relatively low in nitrogen. Tell your husband he has to eat brats with his beer to boost the nitrogen content.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 7:14PM
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hp_MA6b

Urine as a fertilizer can be applied either fresh or aged.

The N value of fresh urine is very high. It will burn roots and leave on contact so be very careful
when applying fresh urine. Not recommended for inexperienced people.

After about 6-month (shorter in summer, longer in winter) inside a container (like an empty milk jar), urine becomes 'aged'. Aged urine has N/P/K values around 1:1:1 to 3:3:3, depending on what you ate. I got these values from a chinese gardening book. The book also lists the NPK values of urine/feces from animals such as cows, horses, chicken, bats, etc.

A further reference is the following book (download for free from josephjenkins.com)
THE HUMANURE HANDBOOK, 3rd EDITION
A GUIDE TO COMPOSTING HUMAN MANURE
by Joseph Jenkins
ISBN-13: 978-0-9644258-3-5
ISBN-10: 0-9644258-3-1
Library of Congress Control Number: 2005902104

Here is a link that might be useful: download for free book

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 2:33PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

jimster said, "I have been told by a friend with first hand experience that human male urine works as a deer repellent."

It will repel woodchucks and rabbits also. Or, so I am told. ;-)

Tom

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 6:42AM
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glib(5.5)

Unfortunately, not around here, tomakers. My rodents must have a cold or something.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 8:46PM
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the_gurgler(DFW TX 7b Sunset 33)

At a school my friend is attending in Guatemala they apply collected urine weekly to their garden. The safe garden that the cafeteria meals are prepared from. ;) So, it is not unheard of. I agree with Len I think it just the yuck factor or fear of the unknown.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 11:58PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

It doesn't work if you don't eat meat (I forgot this caveat in my previous post).
It does seem to work for me, but I also use dried blood around the garden hoping to get the same effect.
This year I should have no problem, as I have 2 cats on patrol. I can't believe the number of mice they find! They leave the, usually headless, carcasses on the steps to show us what a good job they are doing.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 2:34AM
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pnbrown

Ingesting traces of urine (even well-aged urine) is hardly anything to be worried about, considering the traces of all kinds of organic and synthetic compounds that we constantly ingest. And that we probably should make more effort to avoid. I'd a long way rather eat fresh organic produce with traces of urine on it than eat stuff with msg on it, or stuff that's been irradiated, or sprayed with various pesticides.

Which bottle would you drink, if forced at gunpoint, one filled with sevin, or one filled with your own urine? Eventually, we have to make that choice, because there isn't enough fertilizer to grow food for 7 billion people. Check out the dotearth blog at nytimes for more discussion...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 7:13AM
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pjames(8/LA)

CSI probably couldn't find enough urine stuck to the plants once it rains or you water a few times.

I was at Lowes yesterday and checked the price of regular 13-13-13 fertilizer. A bag was like $25. Makes a good case for using compost and adding some urine.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 8:26AM
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tn_gardening

I add urine to my compost pile just about every night. :-)

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:15AM
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lisazone6_ma(z6 MA)

My husband is going to love this!!

Wait till I ask him to start saving it in a jug for me lol!!

Anything "natural" is good imo. And like others have said, I'd rather have pee on my veggies than pesticides!

Lisa

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 9:37AM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

Sounds like I should start a compost pile around back, behind the workshop 8^).

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:19AM
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lazyhat

I think the immediate question if what would your Family think if they saw you urinating in bucket and hauling it outside, or better yet the nieghbours seeing you letting one rip into your garden! They probably would think nuts.lol

But I dont really see anything wrong with it. But probably best not to use urine inside the house on your houseplants. Because the smell. If someone came over they might ask you want why your houseplants stinks like piss. :S

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:11PM
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imrainey

I can answer that one.

My husband has thought I was eccentric since I was in my 20s. Now that I'm in my 60s he is no longer surprised when he sees a watering can and a long stemmed funnel (I think it's for automotive uses) in the bathroom off our bedroom.

I let him pee any damned place he wants to. And he let's me pee standing up into the funnel. Ain't love grand?!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 12:36PM
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