This is our pee post. Thank Eric. Showing off his new aquarium aquaponics build on Skype this morning, he reminded me that human urine is touted to be a great garden fertilizer.

Fallacy or fact?

Manure, the grandfather of ‘modern’ fertilizer, is a waste product from mammals. Now if you’ve ever been to a farm that has beef or dairy cattle, you might have noticed that they pee in the same spot they poop. Horses aren’t any different, nor are sheep. So it stands to reason that there’s a good measure of urine mixed in with the manure used as organic garden fertilizer already. Spreading uncomposted poo around isn’t advisable, and who would want to deal with the smell? But urine is liquid. It seeps into the soil and there is no smell at all after a few minutes.

No doubt there are those reading who find the whole idea of applying what goes in the toilet around their food plants disgusting – even horrifying. Get a grip. What do you think keeps nature fertile? It requires far more than fallen leaves and twigs. Don’t forget about the bazillions of birds, bunnies, coyotes, deer, raccoon, mice, and whatnot all running about at will out there, and leaving their business wherever it falls. It’s food for the plants, people. What comes from the soil is returned to replenish the soil, and nature and the soil has this web of organisms who alter the bad parts into good stuff. You ever heard of a river or lake polluted by fish excrement or deer pee? Nope, but it’s a daily thing on the news connecting to pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, and industrial chemicals.

Urine is natural fertilizer, unless you dump 100 gallons in one spot, then it becomes a toxicity issue. Moderation is key, but impossible in a city if everyone was just tossing out the contents of the chamber pot like they did back in historical London, New York City, and other  thickly populated places in the past. That’s filth that would breed disease. This is totally different.

Measured application is a method of control. And if you’re concerned about pathogens, you can always pasteurize it using the sun. Fill up a jar or a jug and let it site in full sun for a couple of weeks. I read on one site that they’re pasteurizing a full 30 days in Maine. Seems a bit long knowing that you can make perfectly safe home canned pickles using nothing but sun to process quart jars in just 4-5 days… and they have more solids to liquid. Obviously, the larger the container of pee you need to cure, the longer it would need to be heated. But unless you have poor hygiene or an illness caused by a pathogen, your urine is sterile.

So, how does it stack up against mammal pee in terms of fertilization strength? Surprisingly, human urine is a better fertilizer than pig or cow alternatives and more balanced too. Check out the actual measurements from a study done in Stockholm in the late 1990s in this chart:

Pee Fertilizer Nutrient Contents

 

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1 Adult’s Annual Urine Collection…

provides enough balanced, natural fertilizer to grow 50-100% of their own food for a year.

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And you’re flushing it down the toilet? Grossed out beyond measure? This is part of why people are starving on this planet, you know. They’ve grown closed minds, and no doubt while tossing out 22-liters of drinkable water  every day flushing their pee away, they’re ranting about how much water is wasted watering lawns and crops. So, you’re not just throwing away plant nutrition, but you’re wasting 8030 liters of fresh water annually – and if you’re in the city there is also the added cost of using that water piped in from municipal services. Do you live in the USA? You’re flushing 5.81 gallons of water a day and over 2121 gallons of water down the drain because you had to take a leak. PER PERSON… This is not efficient or sustainable.

The more open minded you become, the greater your available options are. Something most have been trained not to have since a very young age. They call it education, but a closed mind is a profitable entity for industry. So they are molded by the millions, because the best makers and market for your products is one fortified with tunnel vision and ready and willing to snatch said products off the shelf before it gathers any dust. A closed mind perched over pockets that haven’t much in them is a rather empty place that breeds total dependency, because it acts according to directions rather than venturing out on discovery.

So jump start your brain cells and check out the info on the links below. Urine is free and there’s a never-ending supply of it everywhere. It’s all natural, fast-acting, nitrogen-rich… and they say it grows some mean tomatoes. Or… you could continue to kill the food web in your garden soil and pay handsomely per pound of synthetic fertilizer to do it with. The miracle in Miracle Gro is really black, not green. It’s built an incredible amount of monetary infusion for a couple companies over the past 60 some years.

And if all this awesomeness isn’t quite what it takes to make you rethink wasting your pee… NASA is using urine to create energy in space. Renewable energy resources that everyone has plenty of access too. Check this out.

Tammy Clayton

Tammy Clayton

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine
Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home.
Tammy Clayton