Once you have decided to use human urine as fertilizer, what next? Here are some easy to follow instructions.
For use on lawns, trees and bushes, and for the compost pile, urine only needs to be diluted one part to five parts water. I commonly only dilute it 1 to 1, and haven't seen any problems with this, as long as I spread it out.
For gardens, one part to eight parts water is minimum, and diluting it one part to fifteen parts is better, especially if it is to be applied over bare ground as opposed to mulch. I always add in trace minerals, because they are so needed by the garden, and by our bodies!
Human urine is almost perfectly sterile, unless the person it came from has a urinary tract infection. Even though fresh urine is sterile, I don’t apply it on crops that will be harvested in a couple of weeks. When using urine as fertilizer, apply it to the soil around the plant. It is best not to apply it to the plant leaves.
But what about those plants like radishes, carrots or sweet potatoes that are impossible to fertilize without getting urine on the plant? No problem. First, I dilute my urine solution down a little further. Then as soon as I have finished applying the urine, I use water to rinse it off the leaves. This keeps the urine from burning the plant. Of course, I always wash my produce before eating it.
I live in Georgia where the ground doesn’t usually freeze, so applying urine in the winter isn’t a problem. If the ground where you live is frozen or there is snow on the ground, then it is really up to your situation, and whether urine applications will be noticeable, and thus, a potential for embarrassment. Or you may choose to store it.
It is certainly more convenient to store your urine in an air tight container instead of having to apply it every day. Storing urine for a few weeks or longer gives microbes time to break it down a little. They use up most of the nitrogen in the process, leaving an N-P-K ratio of about 1-1-1. This is actually a great ratio for a fertilizer.
Apply urine within 24 hours of collection. After 24 hours, urine begins to break down, and the amount of ammonia increases. This can be too strong for plants, plus the ammonia is what causes urine to STINK. Fresh urine doesn’t have much of an odor.
Not only is urine high in nitrogen, it is also high in salts. Too much salt kills the microbes in the soil. The way I overcome this is to apply humic acid to my garden at the beginning and end of the gardening season. Not only does this break down salts so that they don’t build up in the soil, but humic acids help to increase microbial life in the soil, which in turn builds valuable humus.
Good news! Urine contaminated with a virus (like Hepatitis, HIV, or the Flu) isn’t a problem in the garden. A virus needs a host to survive, and it can’t live more than a couple of days without one.
Although urine has a good amount of nitrogen, applying urine as fertilizer is not enough, as it is lacking in both macro and trace minerals. To supplement your "liquid nitrogen", you need a good source of potassium. Green sand, kelp meal, granite meal and wood ash are all good sources of potassium.
They say that the average acre of soil has 4,000 pounds of unavailable phosphorus. I apply humic acid in the spring and fall. This releases the phosphorus I need. It also provides a wonderful environment for earthworms.
To fill in this gaps in trace minerals, I turn to the ocean. Kelp and ocean fish are both excellent. However the most complete and least expensive trace mineral package I know of is concentrated ocean water. An 8 ounce bottle is enough for the average sized back yard garden for a full year. Happy gardening
(Return from Urine as Fertilizer to Organic Vegetable Garden)
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