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Use of human urine?

Posted by Tennessee z7TN (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 7, 05 at 23:42

I just read an article about a woman who saves her urine to use on her plants. I think she was China. What is the benefit of urine? Also, someone I know said that horse manure from the horse stall was good because it had urine in it.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Use of human urine?

urine is the fastest acting, highest nitrogen portion of mamalian waste - not too adviseable to use it directly on yer plants, partly because most plants don't need that much of a nitrogen hit, but some folks use it in the compost pile

the manure from horse stalls is likely to have straw or sawdust bedding included, which will absorb the urine, so the stall bedding is usually higher in N than straight manure picked up from the field, but also higher in carbon from the bedding

the Chinese are famous for using "night soil" in their farm fields - some folks over at the soil/compost forum are keen on using "recycled beer" in the compost for a nitrogen boost

Bill


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RE: Use of human urine?

Urine contains urea (amoung other things), a metabolic byproduct and a ready source of nitrogen for plants. Salt is also a metabolic byproduct. So, urine should be diluted when applied so that the salt does not accumulate in the soil.


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It's an excellent fast-acting fertilizer when diluted. I've been using it for years. I use about 1-2 liters in a five-gallon bucket of water. During winter I pour it in the pile, soak sawdust, or pour straight in the garden on the mulch to help it break down.


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RE: Use of human urine?

  • Posted by Vgkg 7-Va Tidewater (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 8, 05 at 12:17

Also works for me as a rabbit, deer, and other critter repellant when dribbled around the garden perimeter.....doubtful possums would care LOL. vgkg


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RE: Use of human urine?

g'day,

i use my urine on a daily basis i do mix mine with water but basically that is so i can get the benefits of some of it on more plants at each time i use it.

len

mail len

lens garden page


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RE: Use of human urine?

I live on a farm where we can't dig a well and use cistern water--runoff from the gutters of the barn into a cistern. Needless to say, my urine has been contributed on a daily basis to the compost pile for 7 years. Chemists can explain the science of it, but I find that it is an excellent water conservation measure on my part and is a stimulant to the pile.


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The Chinese suffer from numerous diseases passed along in human waste put on crops but I think they are in feces not urine.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Ruth, specific sources for that claim, please?


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urine from a healthy person is sterile.

one note of caution - is that urine can pass medecines or supplements that one might be consuming such as hormones, blood thinners, vitamins etc. generally the concentration is going to be so low its not a concern and the science is just underway on the decomposition and persistence of medecines wasted as such.

the diseases from human fecal waste on crops is from poor sanitation - limited access to potable water and using contaminated water for irrigation, cleaning hands and food before it is eaten.


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RE: Use of human urine?

And here's a reference...the whole book is available online as text (see link below) -- if you want to look only at specific chapters -- or as a pdf, with all the graphics, from a link on this page
http://www.jenkinspublishing.com/humanure.html

Here is a link that might be useful: (the brilliant) Humanure Handbook


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RE: Use of human urine?

Having been to China 3 times I verify that people get horribly sick (intestinal type things) if they eat any vegies that are not cooked vigorously, or even if you just drink water that isn't boiled, etc. My first time there I was in a tour group for 3 weeks, and at least half the people (a bus full) at some point got sick in an unpleasant way.

Even if you are careful about eating and drinking, there is contamination from having your food served on a wet plate, or cooks and servers just having wet hands, etc. Some people forgot to use boiled water when brushing their teeth, and so on. It is attributed to the widespread use of 'night soil' in Chinese fields and the poor sanitation and water distribution systems all over the country. Could be from something else, but the diseases are definitely there.

Basically much of the water in China is polluted with human waste. WHen I was in Shanghai in '89 they were proudly putting sewer lines into half the city for the first time ever. We asked what they did before. Picked it up in carts and took it out to fields for fertilizer is what we were told, along with restaurant scraps, etc.

Marcia


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RE: Use of human urine?

We're the only animals that regularly use salt in our meals. For that reason I'd say horse or cow urine is safer (still needs to be diluted).
Urine or manure-I'd be hesistant to use it on leaf or root vegetables. For fruits and fruit vegetables (tomatoes, cukes), I think it's OK.


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Urine is sterile when it comes out of your body. Don't use it if you have a urinary tract infection.

Nightsoil is another problem--one that is handled by hot composting.


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RE: Use of human urine?

  • Posted by bjs496 z9 SE Houston (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 25, 05 at 20:57

If I drink diet sodas, is it still considered organic?


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RE: Use of human urine?

I think that the elements breakdown so as not to be either organic nor otherwise, but why do you drink diet drinks knowing they are not healthy? Sorry, couldnt resist the question I dont mean to offend, just curious, seems to self defeat what organic is all about to me.


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RE: Use of human urine?

One beauty of using urine that hasn't been mentioned yet is that you have a constant, year round supply of it - a high quality, nitrogen-with-trace elements organic fertilizer. Compost takes time to make - look for the material, collect the material, often short of greens or browns, wait for it to cook, lug it to the garden. Green manures likewise take time and effort. But urine you can count on getting pretty much effortlessly every day of the year. Doesn't matter whether you live in the city or the country either.


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Marcia, the people who got sick in that way while you were in China weren't Chinese, right? I think many of us here, especially in the last few decades of obsession with anti-bacterial soap and kids not playing all over the place like they used to, a lot of us are dangerously under-exposed to 'dirt'. Maybe a kind of latter-day and poetic re-cycling of what happened to the former human inhabitants of north america when they were exposed to the wider world


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poop bad,pee good.treat poop,dilute pee-pee. (hehe)


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Dr. Horticulture said
"We're the only animals that regularly use salt in our meals.
For that reason I'd say horse or cow urine is safer (still needs to be diluted). "
I heard that some animal urine and manures are high in salts.
Especially from Steers.

Swanz


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Maybe Dr Horticulture doesn't have animals?

(And hence, doesn't buy salt licks for animals?)


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How do you use the urine? Do you pour it over your compost? I have been using leaf mulch in my vegetable garden to admend the clay soil I have. Could I pour the urine over the leaf mulch? Should I dilute the urine?


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RE: Use of human urine?

Like any nitrogen source, there are times that it needs to be used with care. Straight into the compost is usually ok, if you have enough browns to make use of it. Diluted when used around growing plants. (It's has a 15 to 19% nitrogen content according to my readings.)

Wayne in the Adks.


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RE: Use of human urine?

ours gets added to water but only so i can water some of it around more vegetables.

len

mail len

lens garden page


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RE: Use of human urine?

Here's a page on which plants are tolerant/moderately tolerant/moderately sensitive/sensitive to salt, if that is a concern.

Beans and peas, listed as sensitive, are nitrogen fixers anyway, so I hadn't been using diluted urine on them, but now I avoid using it often on the other plants listed as Sensitive. I apply it to the soil, not the edible part of the plant, or as in the case of root crops, stop using it long before harvest. They don't need the nitrogen boost anyway, which is what urine is especially good for.

Here is a link that might be useful: salt sensitivities


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All I know is that I used it on my clematis as a test. It must have had 50 blooms at one time.It had never bloomed like that before. I believe that there was a connection.


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I tested human urine diluted at around 1:10 with water. One plant seemed ok with it while the other plant nearly seemed to die, it is still recovering after around a week, and I'm not sure if recovery is the right word. It's leaves are quite soft. part of the difference may have been the ammount recieved as well.

Also apparently ammonium cyonate turns to ammonia which is a cleaning product. I am geussing the 2% urea in the mixture is more so converted by adding in extra water then the natural urine content.

Different animals most likely have slightly different urine compositions as well.

I havn't used it again. The smell is a potential issue. I plan on doing more research between implementing it on any plants again. If I did I may try a 1:20 or 1:50 or more dilution. I may see about composting but stagnation is a concern.

Note I have also read that it kills benificial soil bacteria creating dependance on nitrogen treatment, and severely weakens the plants. I am geussing that light spraying may be ok, but the health factor, or I wonder insect attraction could be an issue.

Like I said I will do more research before trying it again. I'm hoping the plant that took bad to it will survive, and I felt quite upset about what happened to the plant.

Be Careful.


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I piss on my plants all the time. I drink diet soda and it works great. Although, I don't have much salt in my diet. But yeah, I think piss works fine.


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After my husband has used the chipper on garden brown waste, he adds a "boost" as he calls it. He "waters" the compost pile every day - and even with very little if any greens, the pile cooks right along.

I don't use it around my plants, as the cats seem to think it is an invitation to a giant litter box - even when it is diluted.

Just my 2.

Kathy


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  • Posted by germ Zone 5 (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 21, 06 at 21:50

I wonder the effects of the urine if you are on blood pressure medication? Diabetic meds? Cholerstrol meds?


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RE: Use of human urine?

Eat a lot of meat and your urine is very rich in nitrogen. It pretty much depends on how much protein you take in daily. That makes that much difference.

I wonder about taking antibiotic medication will have any effect on the soilweb... I'd think this would have major effect. I don't know about other medications.


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"Eat a lot of meat and your urine is very rich in nitrogen"

Eat anything and don't drink enough water- it will be more concentrated. I haven't measured the N content of urine, but straight urea is 45% N. I have a serious doubt that urine is 1/3 urea by mass such that it would yield 15% N.

I'm on Liptior (10 mg/day). I use my urine on compost, the lawn- heck I pee all over the place. Plants are healthier than heck. Maybe my worms have lower cholesterol now :)

10 mg- assume that half gets metabolized- leaves 5 mg. Most is excreted in the first pee of the morning, as it's taken at night (80% of cholesterol production occurs at night). First pee is roughly a pint, or a half liter (makes the math easier). That results in 5 mg/500 ml, or 0.01mg/mL. That's 10 ppm. Not much. You probably have more to worry about if you use horse manure in compost- pretty hard to know what they're on unless you ask lots of questions.


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I am glad Pablo got that one. It has been a few years sense I worked as a pharmacy tech. However taking Pablo's numbers and following it a few steps further, for those who are worried. Rember even if applied directly to a plant at a 9:1 ratio it that is even less concentrated and then there is the issue of uptake Vs. leeching. Even with a tomato plant slurping away how much of that goes to each fruit Vs. leaves for respiration Vs. unused in soil vs. leached out completely.


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If I smoke and then pee on my tomato plants, will it make tomacco? ;)


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Wow, the thread that wouldn't die, huh?

Is everybody still utilizing their "wastes"? Or have half of us perished from human waste-borne diseases?


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Urine is good stuff. If you are having trouble getting a hot compost pile, pee in it!!!!!!!!!

I've noticed that when mixing liquid gold to use on the plants the smell of my own urine seem more potent to me than that produced by my other half. Anyway, definitely dilute at least 10 parts water to one part pee for plants in the ground and weaker (like 20 parts water to one part urine) for container plants. I notice the odor while applying it but not the next day.

As with any other fertilizer you want to minimize leaching and runoff into water supplies. I've found that even keeping some urine separate for fertilizer, I still have plenty in the compost to keep that hot.


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We've learned recently that urine is more effective when well-aged in an air-tight container.


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  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 22, 07 at 12:15

How is that, Pat?

For those concerned about the smell, it goes away within minutes once exposed to air and soil bacteria.

I've been careful about not applying urine to the soil around salt-sensitive plants like spinach and strawberries although I'm not sure why. I don't understand the difference between fertilizer salts and sodium and what is in pee and how much. Otherwise I think of it as a very mild nitrogen source, have been scattering it undiluted on the lawn and the soil around many things without any burning effect. I wouldn't apply it to a dry summer lawn 'neat' though - common sense applies.


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Most men fertilize plants undiluted from time to time. I suppose the trick is not to fertilize the same spot too often or when there has not been much rain.

Yes the odor of urine stored sealed in a bottle can get quite extreem. Adding some vinegar can help some.

There probably isn't that much difference between salt build up from urine or from fertilizer. If it starts to build up, it needs to be flushed away. Plants in containers are going to be more at risk so their food should be more diluted.

It is best not to over fertilize since the salts are not so good for soil microbes and other soil life (especially earthworms.) That said, urine is still great as a compost activator (or high nitrogen source to help get good hot compost out of lots of browns.) Two or three people peeing in buckets of sawdust or leaves and adding them into a continous compost pile can have compost up to 160 degrees F in only a few weeks.


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Okay guys I'm wondering, does charcoal act as a catalyst to convert urine into ammonia, or at least faster? I know that all the times I've stored urine, I would close the lid on tight and it would go through this anaerobic process and start to smell like rotten fish if I left it there for a while. However, since I started adding charcoal into the jug, it smells very strongly of ammonium the longer it ages. And the jug feels like it's almost about to burst open as I open the cap, like a soda can. I guess that's from the carbon dioxide the separates from the ammonia


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I have been using it regularly for the last year. First we fill bottles (and cap them), then we dilute 10:1 and make rounds watering whatever might benefit from a little extra nitrogen. When you get to the last plant just start over. I pour the bottle into my 3 gallon watering can and fill with water. The stuff in the bottle smells, but once it is diluted it is not too bad. The smell goes away really fast once it is applied too.

I am glad I read this thread since I did not know it did speed things up in the compost pile. My compost is doing well but it could use a little more speedy composting.


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If anyone is concerned about what are being refered to as "salts" a very simple test can be done to quantify your pee salts. The test is for electrical conductivity. Any soil/water test lab can do it and it should be very cheap (under $10.00). The result when compared to tables for vegetable crops and their sensitivity to various levels of salts in water would be illuminating. Look at Table 8 on pp 8-9 in the link below with your pee EC results from the lab when they come back.


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Hmmm. I just applied it diluted 2:1 on some young corn before reading this. I hope the corn will be ok. Next time it will a bit more diluted. But I notice that the spot of grass on my lawn where I have been 'watering' it (undiluted) at night is quite green and the grass has grown in densely.

Oh, and I think I'll stop adding salt to my food at least until gardening season is over.

BTW, I have been taking a vitamin B supplement and it's making my water very yellow. I think I remember that vitamin B is used as a root growth aid.


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ID_Gardener,

I've been using it on young corn 2:1 for a couple months and haven't seen any problem. I've also put it on corn and around toms undiluted on occasion. I think diluting it 2:1 or greater is pretty safe IMO.


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I prefer to keep a 5 gallon bucket in the garage and empty it daily over my leaf/compost pile. My city crews bring me 30 cubic yards of vacuumed up leaves every Fall. They sit there, absorb rain and urine, and decompose. I also throw everything else that composts (except carbon items) on top, and bury the meat scraps in it.
Now, the pile is 1/2 the original size, and should be almost used up when the city starts again in November.


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I solve some problems this way.
Rather than dilute it, I apply it as top dressing around heavy feeders at the beginning of a rain. The rain washes it in, keeps it from evaporating and stinking, and dilutes it at the same time.
I have switched to a system of numerous smaller compost piles, and it helps for those too, but the time from production to application is great. So using it for topdressing seems to increase throughput.


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i'm on all sorts of med's for heart and diabetese i have no concerns with the residues that may be in my pee, i add mine to pre-rinse dish water to make it go around but have used it neat, the plants do well in our gardens we don't bring in any fertilisers.

someone asked way back about horse stable manure that is the best horse manure same as with cows/cattle from the stalls or yards the manure's contain lots of urine. just with horses you need to check see when the horses are wormed and not use that without composting maybe or not at all.

len

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


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Fri, May 29, 09 at 20:31

Someone please remind me to decline should I ever be there invited to sup.

Al


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RE: Use of human urine?

I know! Pee on pine bark, it's much more superior than horse manure!


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, May 30, 09 at 11:18

What makes you say that "... it's much more superior than [sic] horse manure?"


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a1????

that's your loss the many i share crops with wouldn't support you fear hype issue with the use of something that is basically sterile the only time it may not be is when someone has a urinary tract infection and there is no hope of that transferring from garden to plant.

and when you consider many drink water recycled from sewerage i can't see the objection. like always i ask show us the hard case evidence of someone being treated medically for something that was catagorically now assumed to be caused by this sort of application.

no one has ever gotten sick eating at my table. the yuk factor a myth maker.

len


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a MI (My Page) on
    Sat, May 30, 09 at 19:25

I'm not talking about the vegetables or fruits, I'm talking about adding it to your pre-rinse dishwater. That's a considerable "YUK" factor for me - sorry. ;o) Maybe it was the way it was worded, hmm?
Al


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RE: Use of human urine? (dishwater)

Al,
Obviously Len is taking his pre-rinse dishwater and adding the urine for irrigation purposes AFTER he's done with using the water on the dishes.

Len is not using urine as an organic spot-free dishwater additive or disinfectant. . . right Len?

Skirt


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g'day skirt,

i see the yuk!! factor has raised its ugly head when there is no yuk factor to even consider, in the use of a valuable resource like human urine or any urine for that matter. yes we mix it with our dish rinse pre-wash water but we will also mix it with the dish water that has been used to wash the dishes. we wash by hand using a basin that fits inside the sink all part of our water management in our effort to use all water at least twice.

the mixing occurs in buckets, this has been a long held practise for us for over about the past decade, our recycling practises along with the use of green mulches means we get good healthy productive vegetables without any need to bring in manures or fertilisers.

i have said it many times we water only the root zone no overhead watering ever well only when mother nature delivers it. we create usually 2 buckets each day and each bucket will water up to 6 plants, currently that means each plant is getting watered nearly twice a week, we don't have a lot of garden space app' 16sq/mts, but the practise will work in all sized growing areas jsut means those may have to use some other water as well in the watering regime, as this is our fertiliser water, the other water that gets used on our gardens is laundry water.

don't use irrigation systems either our way we have more control over how much water each plant gets through its growth period, so there is no chance of any wastage or any plant missing out.

len


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New member here with one small correction if I may... Urine is only sterile as long as it remains within the body and then, only if there is no infection. As soon as the urine reaches the meatus, it is thrust into a world rife with microbes. That being said, I have no problem using it in my compost or adding to the garden. My wife thinks I'm nuts! I bet she can't wait for me to get my sawdust toilet going ala The Humanure Handbook.


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After a good chelating I imagine its very far from sterile indeed - no longer a good thing to soak a cut with. Fortunately, it has a much better use as a very fine fertilizer.

Fresh produce isn't sterile either, apropos of nothing.


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I think human's urine is one of the best fertilizers that you can use to your plants. My friend told me that her grandmother put some water in her urine and watered it with the plants. It's effective!


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Human urine is the fastest acting, most excellent source of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium and some trace elements. Not only that, but we all have a constant, year round supply of it - and it's free! There's not a lot of effort involved in creating this wonderful organic liquid fertilizer.


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One thing to keep in mind. Once that urine is poured onto dirt that has been laying out in open fields for thousands of years...?

It's no longer sterile.

Great thread!


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I just read in the recent issue of "Mother Earth News" magazine that urine is indeed good for making liquid fertilizers. It says that urine should be diluted 20:1 -- 20 parts water, 1 part urine. This article by Barbara Pleasant (one of my favorite writers)contains much more info. about using this and other liquid fertilizers.


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Whenever I can I take the opportunity to pee on the leaf piles and around the small fruit trees.
As I have a deck that is private it is easy to take that first morning pee off the end of it and right on to a leaf pile.
When I pee on the big leaf piles that come from oaks each fall and are overlaid by needles from nearby white pine trees, the peed-on leaves take just 2 or 3 weeks at most to get to the same point that the others take a whole winter and spring with rain to reach.

I find it beneficial to pee on small fruit trees repeatedly. Over time the trees do not seem to be affected but the annoying crab grass that tends to get around the base of the trunk gets killed right off.

As I am a man, there is a great added benefit which is the freedom to pee without having to aim for a relatively small area to avoid splashing! Hands-free, too!


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Man, this is a long long running article. I saw the article in MEN mag recently and have been using it on new corn plants with a 20-1 ratio.

I can vouch that the greenest grass in my yard of St Augustine grass is where I regularly take a wiz on the way to the paper box. It is usually wet with dew, but it grows the fastest and greenest of anyplace else.

TCLynx forgot to tell me that the great looking raised bed might be fertilized naturally LOL.

No one has mentioned that some off the wall far east religious types drink their urine for health benefits. Now Al that is "yuk". I would have no problem eating veggies , but may wait a while before putting any on root veggies.


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in china urine is commonly used as fertilizer on vegetables.so when in china,never eat salad only cooked food


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How often do you water your plants with the diluted urine? What vegetable plants are best benefited?


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Wouldn't it be great if un or mis informed people were banned from posting?

Sheila, all food plants need Nitrogen. Urine makes a strong salt fertilizer for N, and also has quite a bit of Phosphorous. The latter element tends to persist much more than N, so chronic use of urine and urine-soaked materials (like barn stall litter) can lead to high levels of P in the garden. Nitrogen gets used very rapidly during the growing season, so one can drench the soil with the diluted urine during the season especially around the heavy feeders like potatoes, tomatoes, squash, corn pretty often - once week or more.


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it's about applying it to the root zone not over the foliage, in china i believe it would not so much be the urine factor but the faeces pollution in their irrigation water that would be a health issue.

len

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


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Okay,
So I spread my mums ashes in my veggie garden, how soon can I use the urine on my tomato plants? Will that screw up the PH.. By the way my garden looks fab.. Thanks mom


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Garden Veil,
You should mix the urine with your mum's ashes to regulate the PH. The ashes alone are likely too basic for your tomatoes.


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RE: Use of human urine?

  • Posted by jolj 7b/8a--S.C.,USA (My Page) on
    Mon, May 23, 11 at 22:06

Smelly at the least.


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RE: Use of human urine?

I just read the report commissioned by Mother Earth news, the PhD who conducted the study said not to let the various teas steep (though pee doesn't need to steep, just dilute it 20:1) for more than 3 days otherwise they ferment. I assume that means to use no more than 3-day old urine too? In fact, is it better fresh? Not sure what the chelation is about - won't it convert to ammonia at some point?


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I read about a scandinavian study that clearly showed aged urine was more effective than fresh. A googling of the various terms will turn it up.

Yes, if not stored in a sealed container the N will escape as ammonia gas.


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Thanks - I'll have to look for that with "aged" in search terms but I haven't had much luck in finding good internet sources for info on this.

"p"nbrown - how do you age/use this (I assume I use it from your comments about it being a "fine fertilizer")? Thanks


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I urinate into 2 liter plastic soda bottles, and store it that way. For males that is an expedient method, for females perhaps a bucket and then pour into bottles with a funnel?


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I was more interested in how long/if to age, and how much to apply (20:1 dilution?) how often, not in the collection ;-)

I've got some clover tea steeping (though maybe using the scrapings from the bottom of the lawn mower is better since they're wet and chopped) - may use that directly on seedlings to give them a N boost w/o burning them, but was wondering if urine would be better applied to the soil before planting, since our soil is "Medium" in P and K, "Low" in Ca (but that was before lime application - some bone meal or eggshells in planting holes may help tomatoes?), and "High" in Mg but "Very Low" in N. We just didn't have enough time to build the soil last fall. Thinking of using Square Foot Gardening trench method and filling trenches with a mix of topsoil (test results above), well-composted bark mulch from the highway dept, perhaps some composted cow or horse manure, maybe vermiculite if it seems too heavy? We usually just grow in the topsoil/wood mulch mixture with any compost we have added to hole, but no fertilizing during the season, but we've greatly expanded this year without proper prep, I know.

Oh, and I also just got a great deal on free coffee grounds (5 gal bucket per day if I want to pick them up!) from local coffee shop. I've only ever composted coffee grounds, don't know if they would be good to mix right into the soil pre- or at planting, possible top dressing during the season? I know they won't release N into the soil right away - moisten them with (diluted?) urine first?


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Toilet seat on a five gallon bucket works well for convenience.

There are toilets manufactured in other countries that separate wastes, etc. See "Liquid Gold"--Carol Steinfeld.

Since there is no supply problem, I rarely store, however, a lidded jar works well.


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The storing is to achieve aging, as per above discussion. And as already mentioned numerous times in this thread, urine aged or unaged should be diluted when applied to plants. I use about 1-2 liters in a nearly full five-gallon bucket of water.


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RE: Use of human urine?

How long to age before diluting (I'm going with 20:1) and how much to apply per plant or per ft of row, and how often? Why aging? Report mentioned using all the "teas" within 3 days of mixing, so I don't understand the benefits of aging? I would appreciate more info since I haven't been able to find any discussion of aging or chelating in online literature. I have found sources that say 1-2x monthly, seems like you don't want to use this every time you water. Any comments on using coffee "tea" or putting coffee grounds down thickly in the trench? I'm a bit afraid of using even composted manure this close to planting. Thanks


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RE: Use of human urine?

This thread is about urine. Urine is a good source of N and P, to a lesser extent. Urine, aged or unaged, isn't "tea". So far as I know aged urine is not fermented. I could be wrong, of course. I'm not a chemist or botanist, I don't know precisely why aged is better for the plants than fresh, but it accords with my anecdotal observation. Could be that I simply presume that something that smells stronger and more unpleasant has more oomph, and that colors my perception.

I don't use urine every time I irrigate.

I don't have any experience with brewing coffee for plants. I like it hot with sugar and cream, for myself. The grounds go in the compost pile.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Thanks - I am looking for a way to add N (and maybe Ca) to my soil, very small amounts of P and K since it is already "Medium" in those. So coffee grounds mixed directly into soil for slow-release N, and urine (I won't have enough fresh to do the whole garden) for short-term effect? Do you think it would help to wet coffee grounds and/or wood chips/shredded leaves (or landfill still has some they've been turning, I don't know how "composted" they are with no greens added) and dig that in?

I am a caffeine junkie too, but 1 pot a day doesn't generate many grounds and even though we compost almost everything that can be composted (though we tend to leave out paper towels and newspaper since we put in so many leaves), the pile doesn't do much. As I said, I have a commercial source for UCG so was wondering about that, but I'll start another thread. Just wondering the best way to use both of these copious free sources of N. Thanks

(BTW, the urine was considered a "tea" in the study since it was compared with other liquids that had had solid N sources steeped in water, and I was just calling water that had been sitting in a bucket with UCG a "tea" too, I wasn't planning on brewing a fresh pot for the plants LOL!)


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RE: Use of human urine?

Interesting, I just have one question, how often do you use diluted urine water? Thanks :)


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RE: Use of human urine?

Shari
IMHO, you can dilute and use it pretty much every time you water your plants. For most folks that is probably a couple times a week. For the days in which you don't water your plants with the diluted urine, you can add it undiluted to your compost pile.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Thanks for the great thread. I live in a city recently badly damaged by earthquake and the sewer system is not functioning. I will happily now add urine to the compost heap, and may continue when things are put to rights. The chemical toilet will be lighter to carry and empty too.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Go to the Journey to Forever website article on Container Farming - Organic food production in the slums of Mexico City and you will find out all you need to know http://www.journeytoforever.org/garden_con-mexico.html

Basically, they used leaves, human urine, and finally worm castings (which added the missing minerals they needed).


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RE: Use of human urine?

I am a female tis hard to gather urine. So I figured out pee in toilet then scoop out the urine water and use on plants. It isn't a measured mix but it seems to work.My water bill is less when Idon't have to flush so much. Works for me...


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RE: Use of human urine?

If you are going to do that seems like it would be much simpler and nicer to pee in a bucket and carry it. It isn't too difficult to fit a seat onto a five-gallon plastic bucket.


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RE: Use of human urine?

It is possible for the fairer sex to pee standing up, or so I am told by some practitioners.

Practice makes perfect. Be hap-pee!


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RE: Use of human urine?

I keep a 2-gal kitchen bucket in the shower to collect water for watering potted plants. This is often recommended in arid climates. I find I can stand over the bucket in the shower and have pretty good aim. And if not, well, I always use my shower time to do a bit of cleaning with the tub-n-tile-with-bleach anyway.

The p-water is used on the potted plants OUTSIDE during the summer, and on the compost pile in the dry winter weather (most of the winter).

Catherine


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RE: difficult for women to collect?

I haven'tfound it difficult. I use a sturdy plastic cup, holds about 16 oz, top opening is about 3 1/2". Keep that and a 2 qt. container under the sink. Try it and report back please, ladies.


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RE: Use of human urine?

For females collecting urine, a cleaned out pickle jar works perfectly. Glass jar with a wide mouth, manageable size, and watertight lid make it a winner.


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RE: Use of human urine?

I just sit down on a five gallon plastic bucket - no seat. It's fine.


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RE: Use of human urine?

I have two pecan trees that I planted at the same time, 4 years ago. One is close to my shop so it gets peed on regularly, the other one is 50' away so it doesn't get peed on regularly.

The one that is close to my shop is much bigger than the other one! Neither one has any nuts yet, so time will tell I guess!

PS, I have been trying to remember to go on the other one this summer and it seems to be growing better.


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RE: Use of human urine?

So back to the OP, one thing I have wondered is whether the composting process will help lock in the n,p,k and other basic elements from the urine? I understand the principle of the nitrogen heating up the pile and breaking it down faster, but I wonder if somehow the microbes of the composting process will lock in these nutrients so they don't wash away but instead become later bioavailable to the plants - it would be great if they were maintained. Of course, we want to sodium to wash away!


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RE: Use of human urine?

bstruss, you pose a very interesting question. The answer MIGHT be among some results I've found when Googling URINE IN AGRICULTURE. If it was maintained we'd have the best of the best, right.

I'm storing gallons of urine now to use when the leaves fall here. Have written UREA on all of them.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Well rosiew, I do worm composting and I know that this process locks nutrients into the soil, so I assume that regular composting probably does to a lesser degree because of the microbial action(?) Of course, worms cannot handle the ammonia and salt, but it would be my guess that many of these nutrients and elements may get locked via regular compostings. It would interesting to do a side-by-side compost analysis several months later on hot bins with and without urine added.


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RE: Use of human urine?

bstruss, so, are you going to do a side by side? I sure would want to know the results. Guess I too could do one. I don't ever have large piles though - too hard for me to turn.

Anyone else want to add to our brilliant repartee? Jump on in.

Rosie


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RE: Use of human urine?

I am not really set up yet to do side by side testing, but may be soon. One thought that I have however, is that the real point of composting is to build humus and organic matter into the soil which then reduce nutrient requirements. Therefore, adding urine to the heap with the goal of adding nutrients might backfire just a bit, because high levels of nutrients (especially phosphorus) can be detrimental to the humus building goal. As such, it is probably safer to use diluted urine in the heap with the goal of maintaining a carbon-nitrogen balance, and nothing more. If I am mistaken about this, I am all ears.

BTW, I have posted a link to my blog page which has a reference to natural fertilizers - and which has a link at the bottom for the Woods End laboratory analysis of urine as a fertilizer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural Fertilizer and Plant Foods


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RE: Use of human urine?

It may be a little off-subject, but I'm wondering if human urine in the compost or around the garden edge wouldn't also help deter the deer that think my garden is their smorgasboard!


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RE: Use of human urine?

Adding 1 gallon urine daily to 12' dia x 4' h compost pile, mostly dry leaves, coffee grounds layered with last year's compost. Salt free diet.

I'm concerned about too much of a good thing. How do we figure out when we should quit?

We've saved untold amounts of flush water. Collecting all coffee grounds from local Coffee Culture. Really enjoying this forum, great threads.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Lovely!
In case anybody still has a doubt: females can collect urine very efficiently. Was better when my kids were young and would pee in a plastic container for me (3 boys).
Diluted (diluted!) urine poured on soil, not directly on plants, works visible wonders. Did controlled experiments.


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RE: Use of human urine?

There are people including posters who are preoccupied with--perhaps I should say obsessed with--the subject of human urine as fertilizer. It is brought up ever again; I have seen it for years. The amount of nutrients is trivial. One is forced to entertain more-amusing notions concerning the transfixation on this practice and topic.


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RE: Use of human urine?

i'm a banana bender from queensland australia,

no fixation with me it simply makes no sense whatsoever to flush it down the loo using good drinking water to do so.

len

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


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RE: Use of human urine?

Absolutely it makes good sense to make some use of it rather than flushing it down the drain with potable water. I think it's somewhat insane that we condition water to drinking water standards and then use to flush our toilets!

At least there are some waterless urinals out now.

I've also heard that down under in Australia, where water limitations are a lot more severe than in the U.S., men are encouraged to pee in the shower to save on flushes. I don't see why that should be just for men or just for Australians, so yes, I too pee in the shower. It's just efficient water use.

Heck, maybe I'll have to set up a female pee area outside this summer, too. As long as there's TP out there it'll sure beat trudging up from the lower gardens to relieve myself!


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RE: Use of human urine?

"The amount of nutrients is trivial. One is forced to entertain more-amusing notions concerning the transfixation on this practice and topic."

gonebananas...not sure if the "preoccupation" with urine as a synthetic fertilizer replacement is unwarranted. While I am sure there are those who enjoy the "gross factor" in Western culture, I think most see it for what it is, another toll for the garden. I linked to the most publicized study involving tomatoes. Its not that the urine/wood ash mix is the "best" or that its some wonder fertilizer, the importance is that it is readily available. After all...we all pee, some more than others but we do it, alot even!

I know its easy to get overly excited on these forums, I get worked up over new ideas here all the time, but in this case when a study is done that shows that a natural, readily available and free fertilizer source can be supplemented and produce equal results to "mineralized" fertilizers it should be worth taking note of. Sure, we may all not be comfortable peeing in the tomato patch, or mixing up a bucket of pee and ash in the back lot, but this is powerful information for third world nations, as well as gardeners on a budget. Gardeners like me really. While I can afford synthetic fertilizers, my love of gardening doesn't outweigh the cost benefit analysis done every year to determine how "profitable" the garden was this time around. The "green" side of the issue ( water conservation, organic fertilizer, etc. ) not withstanding, its a powerful tool for those on a budget or with no budget, just trying to survive.

Here is a link that might be useful: Urine/Wood Ash Study


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RE: Use of human urine?

Those folks squeamish at some of the older uses of urine -- Wiki says Romans used the product on their teeth.


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RE: Use of human urine?

I am very interested in the possible useful and practical applications of urine in the garden and yard. It doesn't make sense that we are using so much potable water which is a finite precious resource to flush away another potentially useful resource (although it's nice to see many more low-flow toilets).

I have used pee on the garden compost piles and plan to try using it more as a fertilizer and critter repellent this coming season. This past summer I started collecting pee as part of my "stump rotting" experiment. I covered about a dozen stumps (avg 6-12 inch/15-30 cm diameter) with a pile of dense organic matter such as partially rotted grass clippings, hay, or the moss raked out from the lawn. Then, I pour pee or water on the piles to keep them constantly moist if it doesn't rain. The objective is to accelerate the rotting process and use as an organic alternative to hiring a stump grinder. We'll see!

As a woman I collect pee in a big plastic cup and pour in a re-used ice melter container, which is about 1 gallon sized and has a handle and "pour spout". I envy men, it is much easier to collect and apply for them! :)


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RE: Use of human urine?

A woman after my own heart!

I conduct stump-rotting experiments on my property, too. The grandest one is on an enormous linden tree stump, at least three feet in diameter and four feet tall with a center that had rotted out. We didn't want to put a chainsaw to it because someone had filled the wound with dirt and debris, apparently thinking that would protect the tree.

I scored and hacked at the remaining wood to create grooves, divots and more surface area, and then layered it with blood meal (for the nitrogen), sprinkled water on it, and then encircled the whole thing with mesh fencing and surrounded and covered the stump with torn up newspaper, leaves, grass clippings and food waste, plus handfuls of compost to try to seed the pile with bacteria. I watered the whole thing down as it was being built. The resulting compost pile is six feet tall and over six feet in diameter.

In another year and a half I might do an exploratory dig in there, but as you said, we'll see!


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RE: Use of human urine?

As a commercial grower I feel it is likely in my best interest to remain silent about my own practices - suffice to say that I am in compliance with accepted organic standards - but here is a link that some of you may find useful:

Here is a link that might be useful: give pees a chance


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RE: Use of human urine?

I haven't read all of the above posts so excuse, please if this is repetition. when referring to "salts" in an agronomic sense, what is meant is not sodium chloride (table salt) exclusively but many different possible "salts" like potassium, sodium, chloride, etc.. A problem can occur when the concentration of one or more salts accumulate in a soil, one of those is that plants can't pull water out of the soil, another is direct toxicity to plants while another is plant nutrient disorders.

As far as pee goes, living in my relatively arid environment it makes no sense to use pee in my soil as the sodium in pee is bad news for the soil. Sodium causes some clays to disperse and that can lead to less pore space in the soil and poor drainage. Read up on Sodic, Saline and Saline-sodic soils for lots more info. on what I'm getting at.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Raeilla, we are going to have to bump this thread when we get results of our stump-rotting endeavors! :)

Gonebananas, no one is "forcing" you to entertain any notions about pee and gardening - just don't read the threads! The "ick" factor about urine is mostly psychological anyway. However, I do have some concerns about concentrations of salts or other waste products in the urine that could be detrimental.

The obvious benefit to being conservative about flushing and other uses of water is displayed in black and white on the water bill. Our bill shows how many gallons of water we use per day. During the most current 2 month period, our household used avg. 61 gallons per day. 61 gallons / 3 people equals about 20 gallons (approx. 75 liters) per person per day. During a hot dry summer, when I am watering the garden frequently, usage goes up to about 120-140 gallons per day.


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RE: Use of human urine?

There are some valid concerns about salts, but even greater ones about other waste products in urine.

Here is a link that might be useful: It's everywhere


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RE: Use of human urine?

I began collecting and fertilizing with urine this spring of 2012. I collect about 1 liter per day. I use about half of what I collect on my compost undiluted and it really does heat things up. The rest I've been diluting about 1:1. I have applied this to the root zone of many ornamentals, both in the ground and in containers outside. Everything is growing very well. The only possible negative result I have seen is on one Armeria maritima 'Rubrifolia'-the center of the plant died out in May but the resulting "ring" appears healthy now in August. This may or may not have resulted from urine fertilization.

I probably consume a lot more salt than I should, and this undoubtedly ends up in my urine, but I have not noticed any negative effects in any of my plants. I'm in the Seattle area, summers are always dry so I water my non-xerics frequently. Winters are wet, with nearly 40" of rain annually, which should be sufficient to leach away the salts. I haven't used any urine fertilizer on xerics such as Arctostaphylos, Ceanothus, Lavandula and the like. I don't feel that the extra nitrogen or water would be appreciated by those types.

Medications: I take Methylcobalamin (B12), L-Thyroxin and Cetirizine Hydochloride. I have no supporting data but I think (hope?) that these substances are substantially degraded through hot composting and cold composting for several months. I only use compost on my edibles, no direct application of urine fertilizer...so far.

Why do this? I feel we need to re-learn how to safely close the nutrient loop in our agriculture. We cant rely on fossils fuels for nitrogen and mining for phosphorus and other plant nutrients forever.


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RE: Use of human urine?

"I feel we need to re-learn how to safely close the nutrient loop in our agriculture. We cant rely on fossils fuels for nitrogen and mining for phosphorus and other plant nutrients forever."

I think that is stating the case even less urgently than necessary. Not only can we not rely on it forever, but I think we can't rely on it for many more decades.


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RE: Use of human urine?

The situation is indeed urgent. The "luxury" of burning ten calories of fossil energy to produce one calorie of food energy will not be possible for much longer.


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RE: Use of human urine?

so what do you want? for farmers to be in our neighbourhoods, using horse and plough or small enough market garden to use chip hoe and pick?

we all live so far away from farms that need machinery that we could find it hard to get a feed of fresh F&V.

don't know who deemed "the situation" as urgent, the science pushing this is pure speculation and theory with no hard evidence, maybe you can point to what we should look for?

i hear a lot of knee jerk calls, they want to shut down coal fired power, cars, trucks and oil production, but they don't want to shut down coal mining, and also what alternatives have they that are ready to go? none! of course.

just in case renewables can't supply power on demand and it is the most expensive. saw a news topic here, they were patting themselves on the back installed this whopper and expensive solar unit for a community, a bit of honesty came out they said in about 25 years it would have to be upgrade replaced, the obsolescence part never gets mentioned does it?

we recycle all that rots into our gardens, not much else we can do.

len


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RE: Use of human urine?

We are talking about the energy used in the Haber process to produce N, Len, as well as industrial-scale mining for K and P sources, and meanwhile billions of humans are flushing ample amounts of all three into the surface and ground waters where they do harm rather than good.

Please stay on topic or start a different thread, no need to hijack one that has been going for years.


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RE: Use of human urine?

My daughter goes through many diapers weekly.....they are most times quickly wrapped up and put in the garbage...can the urine soaked ones be in any way used in a way beneficial to my garden...I have read the above threads so I am wondering?


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RE: Use of human urine?

i am on topic!

there is no way you can even suggest how to close the nutrient loop, our farms are too far away, so what could be recycled comes from farm direct almost to sewerage and trash collection.

apart from a few stalwarts like me and mine who recycle all rottable even urine and composted poo waste the maximum majority of the rest of our communities could care less and are situations of high rise tenements etc.,. that there is no possibilities.

and if there was a way that the local gov' could do something it would push up the price of rates, and then how does it get back to the farm when it came from?

then with our plastic wealthy yuppy set there is this monstrous "YUK" factor. instead of composting toilets being the norm' they are the rarity.

sorry to say one of the worst things for the environment is those disposable nappies, bring back washable clothe ones.

len


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RE: Use of human urine?

No, Len, talking about cars and pv systems or whatever, not to mention intruding your religious beliefs viz-a-vix global warming is not on topic.

The topic is using human urine as replacement for synthesized fertilizer. Apparently you support that idea, since you use your urine as fertilizer, so why trot out the off-topic stuff?

We can have another thread about whether or not God is responsible for global warming or whether he wants us to have solar panels.


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RE: Use of human urine?

  • Posted by rdak z5MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 25, 12 at 5:42

I can't remember if I have already responded to this old thread but I have always used my urine to feed plants.

Good stuff IMHO.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Hi Sirplus,
sounds like your daughter is using disposable diapers, which normally contain gels and other synthetic ingredients which you probably don't want on your garden. Wait until your grand baby is old enough to pee directly in the garden, and then you'll be able to get the full benefits (and the fun!)

Elisa


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RE: Use of human urine?

This is a great thread and I'm so glad to see it continuing for so long.
My mother used her "secret ingredient" in the 50s & 60s in New South Wales, Australia. We had an outside toilet so she saved her potty contents (urine with water added) and watered with it each morning.
I have used the Secret Ingredient to season my new straw bales and in the compost to add more nitrogen.
Now I'm building a hugelkultur bed and pouring on the stuff neat to compensate for the lack of nitrogen in the decay process. Like others, I appreciate saving flush water in the arid West, not having to buy N, and using a natural product available year-round.
I pour from my small collection tub (3lb margarine) into a Tide detergent bottle with that nice drip collection insert in the top. It's labelled Organic High-nitrogen Fertilizer.
Haven't tried aging any yet.
Thanks for all the wonderful comments & information.


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RE: Use of human urine?

It's been quite a thread, hasn't it?


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RE: Use of human urine?

This is a great discussion. I'm glad I happened on to it. The entire thread was interesting! Thank you to the participants!

I knew I wasn't the only one who recycled their urine into the garden. But I do feel self conscious about it. So I'm glad to see the others here.

Mostly I've used urine for trees and ornamentals. After reading a number of articles about urine to fertilize food crops, I've started saving it in a container and pour it on garden soil during my rounds around the yard. I have a 15 year old ginkgo tree, seed grown, that's around 20 feet tall, in an area that my 2 dogs use daily. That tree's sibling about 50 feet away is only about 10 feet tall. The only difference I know is the dog urine. Probably higher nitrogen than mine. It kills patches of grass but the tree is very healthy.

I have 10 raised beds, going on 12. This time of year, more than half of the beds are fallow. Having been somewhat depleted of nutrients I want to regenerate them. So I am pouring some urine around on the surface of each raised bed. Maybe a quart or two per bed. The soil bacteria are slower in the cold, and some will leach by winter rains, but maybe it will give a boost to the Spring plants. Plus the beds have some straw mulch to break down. The urine might help that.

For next year's garden it will be easy to urinate into a watering can and fill with water, to sort of fertigate the plants. I have read various dilutions - 1:5 or 1:10 or 1:20. I will also add a dusting of wood ash this winter. I read wood ash will provide potassium and phosphorus to balance the mostly nitrogen contribution from the urine.

Thanks again to the participants in this discussion. Very Useful.


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RE: Use of human urine?

You don't need to obsess over the dilution. After a heavy rain during the growing season I will sometimes pour on urine undiluted around heavy feeders. They will handle it no problem.

During the cold season releasing urine is largely a waste, even in a compost pile. best to store in air-tight containers.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Pnbrown,

Thanks for the info!

Let's see.... a quart or so a day = 1 gallon in 4 days give or take. Maybe 100 days to Spring.... 25 gallons! I'm going to have to think about that!

I'm not going to obsess, like you say. Just good to see a discussion with some thought in it, and guidance as to how to do something that is still kind of unusual or not talked about, in a way that I hope is beneficial and not harmful.

A few of my new trees were pretty pale this year. I have 2 acres, and planted a lot of trees. I don't know the soil composition. Will send off a soil test. The soil test may not include nitrogen, the main contribution of the urine. Last year, I gave one of the trees a boost of fish emulsion, which did green it up a lot. Fish emulsion for every tree and shrub would be expensive. If I can do the same thing with urine, plus save water from fewer toilet flushes, maybe less pollution going into the ground water (septic system) or rivers (town system), then it's hard to think of a good reason NOT to recycle / make use of the urine.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Indeed, there is no reason at all, and every reason to use it.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Why is it a waste during the cold season?

I spread 4 to 8 inches of leaves over my garden in the fall. I toss the urine on top of the leaves every day. Wouldn't the nitrogen help break down the leaves?


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RE: Use of human urine?

I suspect that in dumping urine on leaves or whatever, during the cold season when plants are not metabolizing and microbes are not active enough to utilize the N and K, that the urea will off-gas long before it gets sequestered into the system, or the nutrients will get washed out by winter precipitation before it can get utilized.

In a pile large enough to be hot then it could be utilized by microbes, and later the dead microbes will be plant food. For example when one piles up urine-soaked straw it heats up, even in winter. Sadly nobody beds horses in straw anymore.


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RE: Use of human urine?

Very interesting thread. I had a soil test done and it shows that I have high amounts of P and K but it's low in nitrogen. A quick Google search for human urine NPK shows urine to have an average NPK of 11-1-2.5. That is close to exactly what I need! The salt content concerns me but I am on a low sodium diet anyway. I'll just dilute it down.


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