People-based Fertilizer – easy – free – and not synthetic!

At this time of year, our plants are starting to get hungry; all of the watering we do (even when it’s not a lot) can actually leach some of the nutrients from the soil, so the nutrients do require some topping-up from time to time.

For the crops that will be ready in a month or so, we have a free and readily available alternative to buying expensive fertilizers, some of which aren’t very good for the soil life anyway. And all it takes to access this fertilizing ‘solution’ is an open mind, a watering can, and a big glass of water.

Do you get where I’m going with this? It’s the beauty of pee my friends… Isn’t it great when we can turn a waste product into a free resource?!

It really is the ticket to nice, green plants; 5% of your pee consists of micro-nutrients and the familiar nutrients N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) which all plants need to grow.
There is plenty of Nitrogen in the world- it constitutes 78% of our atmosphere and even enters the soil through rain and lightening…but it’s rarely in a form that plants can use right away. Transforming Nitrogen from a gas and into usable ions is a complex process where various micro-organisms in the soil or on root nodules convert the Nitrogen into nitrates or nitrites that plants can use (you can read more about it here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitrogen_cycle).
nutrient breakdown of urine
What is wonderful about pee is that our bodies speed up this process by doing nearly half the work, and therefore make it possible for us to introduce nitrogen into the soil via ammonia. Our bodies absorb nitrogen through amino acids and other means, and when we excrete it, our digestive systems have already stripped the nitrogen down into the basic mineral form required by plants.
So let’s make our bladders gladder, answer the call of nature, and start taking advantage of this very effective and free resource. And remember, drinking enough water makes for clear wee, which looks much more discrete than bright yellow pee when applying the fertilizer in the middle of the day (wink!).

What to know when using urine as a fertilizer: 

  • Men find this activity much easier than us ladies so feel free to recommend it to your partner : )
  • Do not use pee on crops that you will be harvesting within a month because the soil microbes need roughly a month’s time to break down any pathogens found in the (mostly sterile) pee. At this time of year, only use it to fertilize late-producing fruit trees (eg apples or late plums), vegetables such as squash or fall greens that may take another month to mature, or on ornamental plants.
  • Pee must be applied directly to the soil and not to the plant foliage; some plants (such as tomatoes) are more sensitive to strong fertilizers. If there is any risk that it will either run off of the soil, or not be absorbed sufficiently, then dig a shallow trench just outside of the root zone at the drip line of the plant, and apply the fertilizer, then push the dirt back over top to cover.
  • Please refrain from using pee as a fertilizer if you are consuming any pharmaceuticals (prescription drugs, birth control, etc). Remember that traces of any medications or hormones (eg from the pill) will transfer from yourselves into the soil and, although there isn’t much concern that they will enter the plant, they will enter the food chain and be absorbed by soil life and insects, which will be eaten by chickens and birds, then larger birds, and so on; aquatic life is particularly sensitive.
  • Pee does not have to be diluted, however you can dilute it 1:1 or even 1:10 if you’re particularly worried about burning young plants. Tomatoes can be more sensitive, so in this case, with soil. If the soil is well mulched already then it will easily absorb the pee and there won’t be any run-off or need to cover it with soil.

For more myth-busting information take a peek at the articles below:

http://www.theecologist.org/green_green_living/gardening/605742/urine_the_ultimate_organic_fertiliser.html

http://permaculturenews.org/2011/11/27/urine-closing-the-npk-loop/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/human-urine-is-an-effective-fertilizer/

People-based Fertilizer – easy – free – and not synthetic!
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