The Power of Pee (or Urine!)

Natural Fertilizers

In most western cultures when you mention using human urine as a natural fertiliser the most common reaction is shock. This is a shame, as we can make great use of the power of Pee.

We can learn a lot about just how effective urine can be for gardens from growing and gardening practices in under developed countries where the gardeners know how to get the most from this precious resource.

Even NASA Use This Method

N.A.S.A have used urine as an effective fertiliser and have carried out extensive experiments – and have successfully grown tomatoes and dwarf French beans hydroponically (using water but not soil) in a solution urine and water. Obviously NASA’s interest is in providing vital fresh vegetables on long duration space flights or on the space station – and pee is in plentiful supply from the astronauts and would otherwise just be ejected into space.

Why Is Urine A Good Fertilizer?

Chemical analysis shows that urine produced by a healthy adult has a high amounts of nitrogen (N) and valuable amounts of potassium (P) and phosphate (K) and also many trace elements including ones that can help prevent Blossom end rot in tomato’s so urine duplicates the chemical composition found the liquid fertiliser that can you buy at your local garden centre.

Not only is urine environmentally friendly, but research shows that the average European adult produces enough urine-based fertiliser to grow at least half of the fresh vegetables or fruit that they eat in a year – so there is a compelling argument for using urine from the perspective of recycling and caring for the environmental.

How Can You Save Urine To Use In your Garden?

Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as having a ‘fertilizer bucket’ to hand somewhere convenient that you can keeping topping up as required. If you are going to use urine as a liquid fertilized, the best method of storing it involves keeping that urine in a sealed container to help prevent nutrient loss in the form of ammonia due to evaporation. Obviously this is easier for male gardeners!

How To Use Urine In Your Garden

There are two ways to use urine as a fertilized.

Firstly you can dilute it with water – three parts water to one part urine – and use to fertilize the soil around soft fruits and all leafy crops that you will cook in some way (e.g. by steaming or boiling). Do not use to fertilize salad crops that you will eat raw

Comfrey (Bocking 14) works especially well with this 3 parts water/one part urine liquid fertilizer, and so does grean manures. If you’ve already planted crops, using this liquid fertilizer will maximise the effect you can have on the soil fertility, especially with comfrey. Urine and water acts as a bio accumulator and the extra nutrients make it very effective.

The second way to use urine in your garden is to use urine as an organic compost activator. You just sprinkle clean and undiluted urine onto your compost or into your compost bin – and the available nitrogen allows the bacteria and soil organisms to work more effectively. The compost will also heat up more quickly which helps produce better compost.

A Tip On Composting

The thing to remember with any composting is the green /brown ratio, or the nitrogen/ carbon ratio but when we add urine we get quicker breakdown of carbon based materials like shredded paper cardboard and especially sawdust – so urine works really well at turning these materials into compost. It will also help leaves to a lesser extent.

This Is A Great Potential Resource For Gardeners

The use of urine in gardening is not new – some of the most productive nursery areas on the outskirts of our major cities were fertilised using night soil collected by Gong farmers from peoples ‘Guzunder’s’ in Victorian times, and before indoor toilets. This fertilized created an amazingly productive soil.

Even if you don’t fancy the task of collecting and bottling your urine, you can always simply tap into it by peeing on your compost heap. Of course, always make sure there are no neighbours in the vicinity when you do.

Eco-Gardening

As I just mentioned this is not anything new. And there are moves now to actually incorporate composting toilets not only in eco-homes, but also on allotment sites and I ‘ve also seen composting toilets used in Ski resorts throughout the Alps

Summary

Urine makes a great fertilizer for various sections of your garden due to being rich in nitrogen, potassium and phosphate. These are the chemicals present in the commercially available liquid fertilizers.

If you are going to use urine you need to collect and store it in sealed containers

Urine can be used – when mixed with water – for soft fruits and leafy crops that will be cooked. DO NOT USE it for salad crops. Urine is also a great addition to your compost mix.
Remember:

  • It’s free,
  • it’s easily transportable
  • it’s great for the environment
  • NASA use it

When you are playing activities in your garden remember the power of pee and see if you can incorporate this wonderful natural fertilizer into your gardening.

Making plant food for free

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