Urine..Is this true?

meyermike_1micha(5)November 20, 2009

Ok..I can't believe I am here asking this, "Bashfully"

I figured, if we can have a crapy conversation about toilets, they maybe one about urine too..lol

I have no clue about this one..

Forgive me for asking such a possibly dumb question..It is a curiosity thing and a much on going debate around here on the forums and especially amoungst my older garden neighbors..

Some actually use 1 part urine to 10 parts water on their "container" houseplants!

Here is a story,

Someone in my neighborhood got caught peeing on my plants outside over the summer. The next morning it was reported to me by a neighbor...I watered those things down as much as I could in disgust, and would you believe they were the greenest and shiniest I ever saw them just within a couple of weeks from that night and still doing great..Ever.

Is there something to this?

I am seeing and hearing tid bits of info on these forums, and amoungst people around here talking about how urine is beneficial to plants..I even had a conversation with many people here at work about this that agree and disagree..

Does urine work the same as other organics, or is it readily available to plants because of its nature? yuk

Which is it...?


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It is a pretty potent source of nitrogen. Various discussions about the benefits of urine and 'humanure' come up on the Soils forum - you might want to check through some previous posts to see what the consensus is. Generally the 'application' is made directly to the compost pile where it can safely add benefits without burning sensitive plants.

For various reasons, I would not apply directly to plants even if diluted and certainly not to indoor plants. But that's just me. Guys seem to find this notion more intriguing than gals..........go figure!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 9:37AM
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Well... judging by all the burned and dead grass areas in our dog yard, I'd say that urine is a little too harsh in its "fresh" form... I don't know if it's good for plants, at all... but I do know that urinating around the edges of the yard and garden areas keeps some of the critters at bay. Beyond that, I don't really know.

I will say one thing... I'm not peeing in my gardens or my potted plants... I don't care how good it might be! I buy liquid fertilizer for this purpose.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 10:01AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

"Someone in my neighborhood got caught peeing on my plants outside over the summer.
The next morning it was reported to me by a neighbor..."

If someone urinated on one of my plants....I'd be pissed! ;)

You're very patient, Mike!


    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 10:36AM
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Hi - IT WORKS ! ! Urine-urea is 48% nitrogen and nitrogen is what makes plants grow.... diluted of course...... I would not use it on indoor plants or food crops, but it works fantastically on roses..... plus, it's FREE ! ! Please just get over the Yuck factor.... after all, most of the food we eat comes from third-world countries and guess what they use for fertilizer ? especially the salad and greens we eat and hardly wash after we empty them out of that handy plastic-bag.... strawberries...... so get over it, you are actually eating the nitrogen etc. provided by peasants as they grow and harvest your dinner salad and fruits..... no wonder we have these epidemics of sickness and wonder where oh where did it all come from...now you know...... sally

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:23AM
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That is a good one..Jodik!! Too funny..You certainly brighten my day with that! Hahah

I am not here asking for my purpose though, since I would not consider using it for my own "personal" interest, since my fertilizers are just what my plants love and need, and I am perfectly content with them..Beside it grosses me out.

I am asking for the sake of being well informed and armed against those that say otherwise, and absolutely believe that it is gold in their pots, and refuse to use anything but this with other organics....I just don't like knowing what I am talking about..I like to be well informed.

Per gardengals suggestion, I have been reading up on a few posts over at the soil forums on what time I do have...Way to many opinions and conflicting info to take up anyones time...Like I said, such a debate and too much confusion to give a concrete answer as to its purpose if any, in conversations with many I know who would use it. They are looking for a concrete answer, not based on "experience" or a "perceived notion", but facts, something I know nothing of with this one......My friends "here" that I am comfortable with, might understand where I am coming from..

Seems like everyone has a different idea about it, even alot of "women", but offer scientific proof, unless I missed it.....
How can I myself justify saying no, not to use it or that it serves no purpose, when I know nothing of this one......

There must be a simple yes or no and why so..

I can tell them that using chemical fertilzer has a much greater advantage than organics do, and that I wouldn't use it, but to many, that is not good enough.
I know nothing of urine composition or its effects on plants, so I can't back up what I say. So my reasons for not using urine is not a good enough reason for many...

Based on my assumption, I too tend to lean toward Jodiks opinion and think quite possibly that urine is just another organic substance that serves no purpose in a container mix, just like all the rest. Outdoor soil, maybe? Who knows....But this has been a subject of conversation around here latetly and my neighborhood, ever since the "toilet" thing came up..lol

I believe that there are some very well educated members here, who know so much more than some of us do.
I could of asked this question in private, in particular a wonderful very helpful person here, to know for myself, but it would be beneficial for "many" to know the exact truth behind using urine in container culture, not just for my personal interest, instead of believing possibly false information.....


    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:30AM
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Ps...I am over the yuk factor for anything used to help grow plants in ground, even crap doesn't bother me..

But I do have a yuk problem with it's used in containerized plants, especially houseplants..;-). My pots surley reaked of urine for a few days after the fact, although the plants stayed green..Would you wear gloves to pic up your containers after knowing urine was put into them? lol

Thanks Josh...I was patient, especially after finding out what person did it....:-)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:38AM
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It's not the "yuk factor" that bothers me... I got over "yuk" a long time ago! You can't live on a dairy farm, or be married to a hunter/trapper, or have kids, or breed canines, or generally live in reality if yucky things bother you that much!

I sure wouldn't want some neighbor peeing in my yard, though! Revenge is best served cold, however, and I pity the poor fool who pees in my yard without my express permission!

I thought it was common knowledge that some other countries dispose of their human waste by using it to grow crops... I actually prefer to grow my own food, or at the very least, know where it originated before purchasing!

Anyway... I think I'll stick to the MiracleGro liquid for my potted plants... and use the duck poop soup from our Muscovy ducks' swimming pool on the gardens! That, and all the horse and goat manure we compost!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 12:08PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

It doesn't gross me out, necessarily. Urine is usually sterile, anyhow.
But there are other things passed in Urine that I don't want in my containers -
like anti-depressants and loads of other drugs / medications.

Secondly, I must take issue with Saldut's assertion that most of our food is grown
in "night soil" in Third World countries. I live in California, and I believe that we provide
huge amounts of vegetables to the Nation. I could be wrong, of course....
but Saldut's statement surely doesn't seem correct. Perhaps more clarification is


    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 12:27PM
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It's not hard to find documentation on the nutritive value of urine -- lord knows, its been around long enough so that it has been studied rather extensively. As an organic nitrogen source (urea) it is excellent, although too strong in concentration and in salts to be applied directly. Like other "fresh" sources of urea, it should probably be composted/diluted before using on plants.

Again, it is not something I'd choose to use on houseplants or container plants that would populate my deck or patio. Urea from urine is highly soluble, so that would not be a hinderance as far as container gardening is concerned but one may have other reasons - like me - not to use :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: current thread on urine in the organic garden

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:10PM
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Hi - There was a comment that most of our food here is grown in Calif.? Didn't they just have huge recalls of different veggies ? seems I remember people very sick and some died.... well, the workers in the fields come from the same Third-World countries that the workers here in Fla. come from, mostly Central America and Mexico.... also we import an awful lot of our produce from these countries as well as Asia... just look at the sign behind the display, it usually tells you where the source is-was... and look at the boxes as they are being unloaded, by the Produce-Person, or ask...... I know that here in Fla. the workers have no sanitary facilities in the fields, and a lot of them would not know how to use them anyway...... remember awhile back when green onions were pulled, grown in Mexico and the pails they were transported in were used as latrines by the workers ? a lot of folks got really sick..... so you folks that don't like to hear this stuff, you need to grow everything you put on your table, because otherwise you are getting urine wether you like it or know it , or not...... sorry....... sally

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 2:05PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

No, that was not the comment at all. I said that California provides huge amounts of vegetables to the Nation.

You wrote:
"...most of the food we eat comes from third-world countries and guess what they use for fertilizer? [...] so get over it, you are actually eating the nitrogen etc. provided by peasants as they grow and harvest your dinner salad and fruits"


    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 2:37PM
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Hi - Yes, Calif. provides lots of veggies, so does Fla. so do other countries, veggies, as well as our fish and shellfish...... our produce follows the seasons, Fla. grows in the winter when northern fields are frozen, Calif. likewise......I am uncertain what part of my comment is controversial, I am merely pointing out that our food is grown with a 'Yuck' factor and we just are not aware of this.... we here in America have grown away from a direct knowledge of our 'sources', kids today think our food comes from the supermarket with no idea of 'dirt'... when we go back just a generation or two we were all mostly farmers, I do Genealogy and America was mostly rural up to the War, and people accepted that we used manure etc. to grow our crops..... but now our food comes from countries that don't have our sanitary advantages, they are still in the primitive stages of development and we contract diseases we are unprepared for. ................. sally

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 4:25PM
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That deserves a YUK!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:03PM
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For a true look at the yuck factor of our food sources, take a look at a movie called "FOOD, Inc."... it's a real eye opener!

It's a sad statement about today's society, but I think a good portion of people have no idea where or how our food is produced and processed. Sure, it ends up all clean and packaged on the grocery store shelf... but what happens to it along the way, before we buy it?

Chicken eggs don't begin in neat little white rows of styrofoam or cardboard dozens, all the same size. And most of the meat we eat is not raised humanely. If people really knew the whole story, they'd never eat half the things they do!

If our infrastructure were to fold tomorrow, and there was no power and no conveniences of modern day, how many people would actually, could actually, survive?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 5:00AM
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betonklotz(7b Baltic Sea coast)

I would recommend this film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLwxDWgY8JU

It's in 10 parts uploaded to youtube and is mostly about the european union policies regarding agriculture. But it should also give an overview about how our food is produced worldwide.

To the first question: Feces are most simple and an efficient way to fertilize. I know that here farmers are bound to have both animals and land-use. Since the feces should be deployed on the fields. What should you do with them apart from that? Of course like Jodik wrote, in high concentration urine can cause damage. The urea also works as a harmful substance, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urea#Agriculture

Here is a link that might be useful: Check out the documentary

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 7:33AM
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meyermike_1micha, as an agriculturist from a "Third World" country, I read saldut's comments with very, very mixed feelings. We manufactured a food product and the US market was highly valued. The quality standards were extremely high and occasionally a shipment would be rejected.
I have to assume that the standards are equally high and just as diligently applied to other 'raw' food products entering the country.
In the US I have seen how perishable food items are received, stored and prepared in restaurants and I have sometimes thought that disease outbreaks have been erroneously attributed to the country of origin of the particular food item e.g. tomatoes, green onions etc.
There is ample evidence to support the contention that poor sanitation and personal hygiene are issues in the growing of food crops but equally, such evidence is not enough to substantiate the suggestion that these issues are confined to the "Third World" and its peoples.
My own feeling is that one's attitude to urine is quite cultural. A plumber once told us that man's longevity increases in direct to proportion to his ability to devise two and separate water systems:- a clean system and a waste system. I believe that and I am glad that I live in a country that goes to great lengths to maintain two and separate systems.
However, I once read, in the early 1990's, that the good news is that by the turn of the century recycled water will be safe to drink; the bad news is that it will still not be enough.
I am part of that culture that avoids topics of this nature but in an age when astronauts have the ability to purify and drink their urine, I believe that urine can be processed to provide even our in-home plants with moisture and/or nutrients.
Here is quote from "Encyclopedia of Earth".
["Night Soil"For example, the use of human wastes as fertilizer is still widely practiced in China where human "night soil" is collected and spread on local fields along with animal wastes. The use of human wastes as fertilizer however has a significant potential for transmitting human parasites and disease. Therefore, the historical use of human wastes as fertilizer greatly accounts for the culturally-derived practice in Chinese cuisine of cooking almost all vegetables.]
It illustrates how a culture learned to cope with a particular situation - a culture which some still define as "Third World".

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 9:27AM
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We keep an aviary of peafowl and ducks, and during the nicer months they have a large plastic baby pool to swim in. We recycle the water onto the rose and perennial beds, and we find it to be excellent fertilizer, as well as a water source. We call it duck poop soup!

There are also horses and goats here, and some of their manure is composted along with yard and garden waste. I currently have 3 large compost heaps going, and each spring I dig out wheelbarrow loads of "black gold" to add to the gardens.

We try to remain as organic as possible outdoors with our gardening, and only use chemicals in the case of extreme insect infestations, and a twice seasonally applied systemic on the roses. Everything else is grown naturally, and I think the composted manure and duck poop soup are responsible for the wonderful growth we get.

Regarding our food sources... I am a Lupus sufferer, so my diet and what I put into my body is important to me. After eating poorly most of my adult life, I detoxified my body after I was finally diagnosed with my illness. I mainly use products from Optimum Nutrition, and I take a handful of supplements, such as purified fish oil, echinacea, etc...

Once detoxified, I broke down and ate a cheeseburger from McDonald's... I was horribly sick with flu-like symptoms for about three days! This told me something about the foods most of us eat without thinking twice! They're over processed, most contain additives and preservatives, sodium and sugars, and trace amounts of whatever chemicals were used to grow the food items... such as the growth hormones used in meat.

As a society, we don't even know what the long term effects will be from consuming the things we do! We are successfully poisoning not only our environment and air, we are also slowly poisoning ourselves! How will this effects human genetics in the future? Do we even know?

All this processed food, combined with our now more sedentary lifestyles... it's not a wonder that we're obese, have cancers, immune system deficiencies, etc...

We are slowly killing our own species and the environment we need to sustain life...

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 9:47AM
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We are successfully poisoning not only our environment and air, we are also slowly poisoning ourselves! How will this effects human genetics in the future? Do we even know?

Those who are able to handle these toxins will have a survival advantage over those who do not. In other words over time we will adapt to them, assuming we don't nuke ourselves into oblivion first.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 10:21AM
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Yes it works. Some neighbors of mine kept a section of there grass alive last year during the drought by recycling their bears on that section. And that part of the lawn was fantastic. :) Gross yes. Makes plants go, absolutely!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 10:56AM
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This has turned into a really interesting discussion and I for one have learned a lot... thank you ronalawn82, you have pointed out a valuable cultural practice, that of cooking all our veggies,, from a much more ancient civilization where many of our modern ideas originated, we should probaby be well-off to adopt some of their practices, ie: cooking our food... I for one never eat salad greens, I am simply afraid of what they might contain......and not necessarily the threat coming from the grower, there is unsafe food-handling after it arrives in the store or restaurant also in the home itself...... and all this discussion came about because someone mentioned the use of urine and another said " Yuck"...... wow..... sally

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 1:41PM
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I am glad this conversation came about...It is very interesting and so much to be said...

Thankyou everyone for being involved..I would love to continue to hear everyones views and knowledge..So many good people here..I am privledged....

And just because of the word YUK?


    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 2:26PM
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My Dad used to say, "A little dirt never hurt anyone."... and he was so right! We actually need to ingest, and be exposed to, some dirt and some bacterias and other things in order for our immune systems to build anti-bodies and work properly.

Part of the reason people get so sick is because they sanitize everything constantly... and their bodies never get exposed to things they really need to be exposed to in order to effectively fight it off.

Cleanliness and being careful are one thing... but if we live totally sterile, sanitary lives, we risk greater illness than if we are exposed to certain things so our immune systems can work properly.

So... there's a good side and a bad side to the YUCK thing.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 9:59PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

There is also a theory that if you are living in a sterile environment, your immune system will have nothing to work on and thus get bored and will eventually find a artificial target, you develop an allergy.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2009 at 11:38PM
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I've been using my urine on everything that grows for about 40 years now.

I'm still alive and kicking!!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 9:52AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

When I think back on my childhood and teenage years, back to all the lake, river, and canal water that my friends and I accidentally ingested while swimming, I wonder how we ever survived at all.....

Amazingly enough, we never caught the dreaded giardia...or any of the other oft-cited illnesses.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Believe it or not, a well know doctor on Denver TV, just last week kind of agreed with this when he explained that the more frequent allergies today were maybe because we live under such clean conditions. If eating dirt helps, I should live for ever.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2009 at 1:27PM
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I think allergies are more due to all the chemicals we ingest and are exposed to, not to mention genetics.

But it's all the over sanitation of everything... anti-bacterial everything... plus frequently misused antibiotics... that causes mutation of viruses and bacterias.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 7:34AM
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Money's been real tight this year and I couldn't justify spending money on Foliage Pro and Pro-Tekt when I ran out back in July. I've been using diluted urine on all my container plants since then and they are all thriving.

The water I use is from my fish tank so I figure that between the urine and fish waste, they're getting all the major and minor nutrients they need.

Everything is in either the 5-1-1 or the gritty mix.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 7:55PM
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yellowthumb(5a Ontario)

If you eat a balanced and low sodium diet, diligent in exercising, drink plenty of water. The urine could be a really superior fertilizer. If you can afford a multi-vitamin and mineral pill a day, it's even better.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2009 at 9:28PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

I know, jumping on a very old thread here, but I don't know that anyone really addressed the OP's question directly:

"Does urine work the same as other organics, or is it readily available to plants because of its nature? yuk"

In fact it is different. It's the closest of organic fertilizers to being inorganic. It's basically minerals in solution just like MG but without the blue dye and other questionable ingredients. A little odor that breaks down and dissipates quickly if diluted. I'd say not nearly as objectionable as bleach and other odors we deliberately introduce into our environment (would include fish emulsion in that...).

In regards to the yuk factor and the big picture, does it really make sense to buy packages of soluble fertilizer on the one hand and flush good fertilizer with clean water down the sewer on the other. You make the call...

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 3:07PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

My call w/o consideration for any 'yuk factor':

How can we justify using urine as a fertilizer when we know it's not complete? (I understand that 'complete' technically only means a fertilizer has NPK, but I mean complete in a literal sense) We KNOW we'll need to add additional supplemental nutrients and many of the nutrients therein contained will be duplicates of those in the urine - not to mention the 'other' solubles that are not needed by plants and simply contribute unnecessarily to the EC/TDS of the soil solution.

A) urine is incomplete
B) we will have to fertilize anyway
C) why not skip the urine and use a soluble fertilizer that supplies all 12 essential nutrients in the same %s that plants use them and in a favorable ratio to each other, enabling us to maintain the lowest EC/TDS levels possible w/o nutritional deficiencies?

For me it's a slam dunk decision.

I'll leave the pee to thee.
And chose to go with Miracle-Gro. ;-)


    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 5:15PM
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I concur... without a chemical breakdown, without a label to read describing the ingredients by percentages, our urine would logically be considered not your garden variety fertilizer, pun intended.

I, too, shall continue to use Miracle Gro, which does come with a label depicting ingredients and percentages, not to mention directions.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2011 at 6:23PM
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Diluted urine is very beneficial, I have had lots of proof. Of course since I have a full house of children, baby pee is what I was using, seems somehow more fitting - clean and innocent. Undiluted will burn any plant tissues.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Yes, Urine is fine to use. It's 95% water, about 2.5% uric acid and the rest is stuff you get from food anyway every day. Do a search on "Urine therapy". If a person is healthy there is no reason not to use their urine if they want.
The reason people get the "Ick" factor is when they were growing up they were told by mom or dad that's it's "Icky" or "Yucky". THAT'S where the fear factor comes from.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 11:18AM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

I urinated on a jellyfish sting once....it didn't work ;-)

But I digress....


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:05PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

OK - you use urine on your plants ....................... then what? How much of what did you give them? You know it doesn't have anywhere near all 12 essential nutrients, and it's heavy on N. So what's the next step in ensuring your plants get the nutrition they need?

My aversion to using it is completely from an analytical perspective & has naught to do with the yuk factor. :-)


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 12:40PM
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Yuck has nothing to do with it... you want yuck, assist in fetus removal from a cow, when the fetus is large and deceased and must be cut in sections to be removed. Nice smells and fluids involved, too. That's yuck at its finest.

Urine is for flushing... down the toilet. When applied to containerized plants, the person applying has no idea of the concentration or percentages of nutrients, and plants do need certain nutrients in certain doses.

I think it's much more logical to stick with a fertilization plan that minimizes the items used and assures us that our plants are getting what they need in the amounts they need. Hence the use of a single liquid containing all the nutrients in proper doses.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:11PM
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A child's bodily filters... kidneys, liver, etc... are working at full and new capacity to filter, so the toxins removed from the body, now in the urine, would be stronger than an adult's.

I wouldn't use any urine on my plants... but I sure wouldn't think that a kid's urine was weaker.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:21PM
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suddensam(10 Boynton Beach)

The whole thread is ridiculous, use foliage pro, or someother high quality fert.
Plant em if you got em.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Just to clarify, I don't use it on my gardens personally currently but some people do as a supplement. A quick Google search shows numerous links, this link for example:


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Hi Sam.

This thread is not ridiculous to many at all. Talk of using urine in our containers is just the same as talk about using fish crap, fish water, cow poop, worm pee and poop, chicken poop, sewerage compost, and other weird things I can't mention that many people will swear by works on their containers.
What's the difference?
Many here suggest using all the things mentioned above and throwing them into our pots. To me, using pee is the same as using poop.

Remember this forum is about learning how to grow plants to their best potential and not ground plants.

The truth behind using urine or any other organics has to come out sooner or later for those that like to be educated to the max about nutrient needs for, and how their plants benefit form them if at all. Quite interesting indeed.

Like I said at the onset, it is not for my own personal interest to know since I understand what works in containers and what fertilizers work best for my plants, but for many that still want to know , just not sure, or may even believe strongly about this whether accurate or not.
That is what this forum is for.

If I had asked this question back when I first joined, and back before I knew so many wonderful people here who took the time to show me the science and the facts about plants and their workings in containers, I would of asked for my own personal use.

I continue to believe that the best thing for 'my' plants and that of many others based on facts, science and experience, is great soilless mixes and fantastic chemical fertilizers.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 2:34PM
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TwoMonths(So Calif)

well, now that I have had a good laugh, I have to say that if you want yuck....watch the ole sci-fi movie where they fed people solvent green patties or solvent gold patties if you were higher ranked...then found out it was the people who died, lol..... anyways....this poor guy who posted was not trying to do a gross post....he just wondered. But if you have ants or gophers, tell the man where he should not go....then of course that is where he will go. I had heard it helped chase gophers away. Not sure if it did cause they come and go from all over the area...but it got rid of all the ants when I poured it along the border of the house where they were coming in. I had the males in the house go into jugs and then I poured it outside the bottom border of our house. Took 3 yrs for the ants to come back. Hmm was it the little boys bottle or my husbands (he was on radiation and also taking cancer drugs, hum...)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 8:59PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

"Soylent Green" - like Soy and Lentils, I believe...
Of course, Soylent Green was people ;-)

Classic movie!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Spring is coming so I checked up on this wonderfully informative chat board.

Last fall I posted some results on foliage pro grown versus urine grown pepper plants. The urine grown ones in the round buckets below did the best. In fact in over 12 years of container planting, this was my best harvest. However the better results might have been do to the better drainage. I used SWCs for the foliage pro plants. The urine plants though also had a reservoir at the bottom of the tub that was kept full.

This year, I'm setting up a better comparison, no SWCs, good drainage for all tubs.

In one "corner":
* 5:1:1 mix and foliage pro.
In the other "corner"
* Leaf mold, wood ashes, & pee.

Both to be planted with the same variety of peppers, eggplants, & basil.

I'll post the startup pictures when setup around end of April (after tax season).

For me it is fun to see if I can grow without any store bought supplies, don't really care about "optimal" production. Just "really good" results.


Plants at the beginning of 2010 growing season.
In the tubs: leaf mold, ashes, urine:
In the rectangular SWCs: fast draining mix, foliage pro.


At the end of season, bucket plants did much better:


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:35PM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I'm sorry, but I'm not really seeing where or how they did better. The pic is too far away, and all I can really see is the ones in the blue containers sit higher.

It's a unique type of experiment, good luck.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:44PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Seems to me much of the debate here revolves around two very different approaches: one that embraces industrial fertilizer even if only as a "necessary evil," the other which seeks to avoid using industrial fertilizer even if it means more effort and/or less optimal results.

I wouldn't expect any single organic fertilizer to meet all the needs for container plants because, well, they weren't designed and manufactured for this purpose. Just as one component of a potting mix won't meet all of their rooting needs.

As I see it, looking for the right organic formulas is just another step in the DIY process that led Al and others to great results with DIY mixes.

Maybe a completely different kind of mix is needed to work with organic ferts, maybe not...

Maybe what we need is for someone with Al's level of dedication to look into organic methods for container gardening.

emgardener, you could be on the right track with some better control of variables. (I assume you weren't setting out to conduct a controlled experiment at the time...)

Anyone with access to a modest high school level chemistry lab could analyze different organic ferts and come up with some simple indicators (i.e. specific gravity of urine) of quality and composition that would be within reach of many home gardeners.

Anyone know anything about bonsai history? What did the masters do before industrial fertilizer came along? What were their results like? Are there successful organic bonsai practitioners today who could add any insight?

Getting back to the big picture (uh oh!), what happens if by some chance industrial fertilizer is no longer readily available, or is impractically expensive? If someone has already worked out the kinks and developed a working organic option, won't that make the transition a little easier?

Diversity is resiliency!

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:07PM
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The idea of using composted manures is not new... but knowing what I know about the vast differences between growing in containers and growing in the ground, I'd save any organic ideas for the gardens... where they do more good, and where nature works to turn it all into usable nutrition for plants.

We're talking about two very different environments, here, with very different systems.

When it comes to containerized plantings, I like to know exactly what nutrients are going in, and in what percentages... so I can control overall feeding and growth. Bodily excretions don't come with known ingredient listings and percentages... so it makes much more sense to use a bottled item that's already in usable form, and tells me what it contains.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:42PM
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gemini_jim(7 MD)

Hi jodik,

Many of us who are dedicated to organic methods are also attracted to container gardening for a number of reasons and like a lot of the ideas shared in this forum. But not necessarily the industrial ferts. We'd like a way to apply the principles in an organic way.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 1:59PM
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A few comments here:

I did use solid organic fertilizers in my SWCs many years ago. This did not work well. Poor results. These SWCs probably hold about 8-10 gallons of mix. I conclude it didn't work well because it was too wet to sustain any microbial life and the amount of mix was to small. Container soil heating up during the day and down at night is a big drawback to organics.

Last years organic experiment worked much better probably because the drainage was better, more soil 18 gallons, and I used a liquid fertilizer + ashes (I assume ash fertilizer is readily available??). Pee is about 1% inorganic nitrogen and thus readily available. I could have been mostly feeding the plants with the inorganic nitrogen and draining off the rest (~5-9%).

Also for last's years, the organic tubs produced about 5x the number of peppers than the inorganic SWC ones. Also the inorganic ones became stressed, lots of aphids attacked them, but not the organic ones even though they were next to each other.

I'm really just interested in getting big harvests. So any system that works is fine with me. I don't really need to know if the exact nutrient levels are achieved or not.

I'm very interested to see what happens this year under a more controlled comparison.

My guess is the inorganics will produce slightly more but not by much. I got such a good pepper harvest last year, I don't see how it could get much better, even with optimized fertilizer inputs.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 7:26PM
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A pot is a confined space that doesn't have the same army of worms, insects, nematodes, bacterias, fungi, and other elements of nature, like sun, rain, birds and other animals, that all work in harmony to decompose matter into usable food for plants, aerate the soil through constant movement, maintain a balance of good and bad, and draw rain/moisture through layers to negate a perched water table and keep roots healthy. It's extremely difficult, if not impossible, to duplicate a garden ecosystem within the confined space of a pot. Trying to do so almost always leads to imbalances that we can't always correct.

The differences between container growing and garden growing are so vast as to make it illogical to utilize organic methods in container growing. It makes more sense to save the organic methods for the garden, where the natural ecosystem of living things and other contributing factors do all the work of matter decomposition to usable nutrition, maintaining balance, etc.

Since controlling what happens within the space of containers falls to us, the growers, it makes more sense to utilize methods wherein we can accurately exercise that control... as in using a product labeled with the exact composition and ratio of components, in a readily usable form, so we know our plants are getting the exact nutrition they require and can actually intake it and use it. And by using a more inorganic, durable medium that remains aerated, and functions as a soil needs to, with plant support, by allowing for the all-important exchange of oxygen and gases to and from the roots, and by being the catalyst for moisture and food distribution.

Organic growing methods are wonderful... and I employ them, myself... in my garden.

I go with a more inorganic approach in pot culture for the very reasons I mention above... container growing is very different than growing in the ground. They are two separate venues requiring different approaches. That is, if you really want to grow plants to full potential.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 12:19PM
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jmsimpson9(CA 8/9)

Secondly, I must take issue with Saldut's assertion that most of our food is grown
in "night soil" in Third World countries. I live in California, and I believe that we provide
huge amounts of vegetables to the Nation. I could be wrong, of course....

I also live in California and have you ever seen the people out in the strawberry fields picking strawberries? Usually there is a porta potty near the field. No running water. No soap to wash their hands.

Enough said on that?

Its one of the reasons I grow as much as my own fruits and veggies that I can. Then I freeze, can and dry the excess for later use.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:27PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

California isn't a Third World country, however... ;-)

Pigs contaminate vegetable crops, too.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 1:42PM
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onafixedincome(z8-9 CA)

Wow. Amazing to see how this discussion has gone in thirty nine different directions!

Here's my input (so to speak LOL):

HUMAN Urine has pros (readily available, decent amount of nitrogen, pretty effective with dilution)...

...and cons ('hot' if not diluted, potential chemical content, yuck factor, potential bacterial/viral content if donor is ill, odor, and unpredictable nutrient content)

My own major concern would be odor (ew!) and the potential for disease transmission. Therefore, it would make the most sense to 'anoit' the compost pile where the varying nutrient content won't matter but the nitrogenous content will help heat things up enough to disable most pathogens.

I'd say that using urine to fertilize foliage plants like most houseplants probably isn't a horrible thing as long as it is properly diluted and the odor isn't a problem.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 3:30AM
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Nitrogen is composed of three sources,one being "Urea" which is found in urine. Regardless of our feelings of urinating on plants when we fertilize them that's exactly what is being done in a sense.
Although a high urea value isn't the best course of action for some plants some of them do handle the (AGREE)gross human urination act directly on to it and flourish.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 9:39AM
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There's a world of difference between what's found in a bottle of manufactured fertilizer... and the results of having to urinate.

For one thing, the bottle or package of commercial fertilizer contains precise, measured amounts of ALL necessary nutrients for feeding plants, in proper ratio to each other, regulated and tested by quality control. We know how much we're feeding.

Dumping urine on plants only gives you one piece of the nutritional puzzle, and you have no idea how much of that one piece, or whether it's in usable form.

Therefore, using pee on plants is not the smartest of ideas.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 11:14AM
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andrewofthelemon(7b Central Arkansas)

Ok, gonna start off with the what i think is a little unrelated... Did mexico just get called a 3rd world country? Cuba too? okk...

Lol, this is just great. Everyone has contributed.
I, personally, don't use unrine in my pots...i am in high school, living with my parents, and our house is where the plants are kept...
I think if i couldn't get fertilizer, i would probably use urine, a little nutrient is better than no nutrient.
I would dilute it though. I would get some pond water, and some urine, and go with that.


    Bookmark   March 28, 2011 at 12:31PM
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it's only personal anecdotal evidence i have to offer, but we've been container gardening for over 5 years and have found urine to work wonderfully. we live in an urban area, with tiny (less than 1/10 acre) lots and still manage to grow strawberries, blueberries, 8 different varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, pumpkins, english cucumbers, and lemon cucumbers in containers. we have a meyer lemon, a turkish fig, apple trees, and an orange tree in the ground. all of our plants are prolific producers. we use diluted urine (1:10) on the soil around the plants. that being said, we also make compost and use that around the plants, too. so is it the pee or the compost that helps our plants...? perhaps store-bought fertilizers would work better, but we chose to use something that was readily available and free, that had little to no waste associated with it. on a final note, i also use bloodwater once a month; again applying to the soil around the plants, not directly to them. any plant that is struggling almost instantly greens right back up. it's amazing.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 9:34PM
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I'm not even going to ask how you make "bloodwater" faroq.

Anyways, as far as using human urine for plants, well, I wouldn't do it, and I'll explain why. For one, especially indoor plants, it is not only a source of nitrogen, but a source of stink. That alone is enough to make me pass. Also, you have to look at what urine is, and why it comes out of your body. Urine is basically the leftover liquids from your food & drink intake, and I dunno about everyone else, but I don't eat or drink plain nitrogen. Your pee contains a lot of salts, and worse yet, any toxins that you shovel down the hatch. If you are on some sort of drug or medicine, or were out drinking the night before, your tinkle will contain any chemicals that your body doesn't want in it. So, me, I'm not draining the weasel in my plants, but if you want to, be my guest. I just figure that there is plenty of choices out there for fertilizers, and many of them are quite inexpensive, so the last thing I'm going to do is pee in my plants to "save money". Now, if I ever caught someone relieving themself in my plants, or even my yard for that matter, there would be H$#L to pay.


    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 11:03PM
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But just think of the wear and tear you'd save your toilet from! :-p

Interesting read, but i think I'll stick with the Foliage Pro, thanks. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 9:56AM
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I'm pretty sure the wear & tear on our toilets isn't coming from us going #1.......

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 12:00PM
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dowbright(z6 in Missouri)

jodik, your natural way of life sounds terrific. I'm writing this so long after just to see if you are still here at gardenweb. I hope so. I know you are right about our food and our future. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:31PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

She is - I'll send her a link to the thread. ;-)


    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Hello... it's a very busy season, so I'm not around too much at this time of year. But even after all this time, I still subscribe to the same idea that it's better to know what you're using on your potted plants, in what doses, and whether or not it's immediately usable for uptake as food.

Gardens are different in that they don't require exactly the same things broken down into immediately usable form. The garden contains a veritable army of microscopic creatures that further work anything we use into food for plants, while our potted plants are minus these same creatures. Therefore, the two environments differ greatly.

Organic methods work great in the garden, but I go with a more inorganic approach to container growing.

I'm just lucky to have access to animal manure from ruminants, such as horses and goats, manure from ducks and other fowl, all the small and microscopic other critters that help digest everything into usable food, and the rain and lightning from spring storms to make it all work in conjunction.

I still treat my potted plants quite differently, because as an environment, that's quite a lot different from the garden.

Roses and perennials fill the garden beds in a huge demo area, and I mix in herbs and vegetables... roses and perennials in potted form are part of our business.

We encourage small predators to stick around... like toads, birds, good bugs and spiders, praying mantises, etc...

And we save any human urine for the outer edges of the garden areas to keep larger creatures at bay... sort of like "marking your territory". Does it work? On some types of animals, but not all. If you're having a problem, it's best to trap them and either move them or dispose of them... depending on what it is.

As far as I'm concerned peeing in your potted plants is just plain silly.

Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 5:21AM
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I live in 3rd world Thailand, where pro-grow and miracle grow as well as other fertilizers are not available, I am trying container gardening because of the jungle bugs and critters love my gardens and they eventually die of the root bug infestation.
I do not care about the exact amounts of proper fertilizers in my containers, I do not have the option of the "proper" way to grow in my containers.
The yuck factor is not an issues, as my failure to grow my own food would mean that I will buy vegetables grown in China, that Thailand large vegetable importation from that country.

If I am going to have to ingest someones YUCK, I am better off ingesting my own urine.

I am trying to get some ideas of how many times I would need to apply it to my containers and at what intervals.
I plan to use crushed eggs shells, wood ashes, compost and small doses of urine starting out, diluted about 40 parts water to 1 part of urine and increase to an end mixture of 15 water to one urine.

There are some of us that do not have any alternative but what is available to us to use!
Please allow the member that have already use urine to let us know how to use it.
Thank You

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:33AM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

Urine fertilization

Here is a link that might be useful: All about urine fertilization

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:51AM
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