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Let's talk about urine...

 
Matt Smith
Posts: 181
Location: Central Ohio, Zone 6A - High water table, heavy clay.
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as a fertilizer, of course! Searched for and read the threads that have come before on this topic, but still have some outstanding questions regarding specifics.

1) What makes the difference between fresh and stale urine? Is it simply a matter of 'time since expelled', or does oxygen exposure come into play?

2) It's well documented what the potential uses and benefits of fresh urine are, as well as their prescribed methods for use. How about stale urine? I know it's not good to dump it on actively growing plants, but how about overwintering garden beds or compost piles? I've heard it can be a worthwhile deer/animal deterrent.

Thoughts?
 
George Lee
Posts: 539
Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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plenty of nitrates in our diet, the extra is excreted in a readily soluble liquid that can be directly applied...

stale pee is ammonia and has a putrid smell that can ward off 'some' wildlife..put it in compost if you like. i poured some stale urine and a group of deer still ate some plants, but seemed to keep others off.. sometimes hit or miss,depending on how hungry the animals in the area are...

 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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stale urine doesn't become stale urine if you pickle it with lactobacillus and molasses, it doesn't go into an ammonia state and gas off or explode the jug your storing it in like urine can. I've be refining the ratios in the recipe all winter and have safely directly applied it as a foiliar spray, because soaking just the soil is impossible unless its through drip irrigation. Mind you the pickling does bring the ph down to about 4.5 so it's best to grind up some eggshell into the jug to buffer the acid and add calcium to the feed.
I'll never get enough fresh urine within the window of fresh to get anything done broadscale. But you could feed a greenhouse off fresh, but it still wreaks and nobody will want to work in the room, I didn't like using it at all when I started but the pickled urine just smells like moderately sweet and faintly like urine at a distance.

What say you? i've been through all the urine threads and theres allot of regurgitating of warnings based on other website which are regurgitating undocumented warnings. All the stuff I read about large scale community urine collection for use on farms, they aged their urine to starve pathogen's, never using fresh off gassing urine which requires soil bacteria to convert it into a form that can stabilize the nitrogen.

Outdoor's during the winter I spray my mulch with the same urine, whey, molasses, worm leachate mix to break down the hay over winter. I no longer use leachate in the greenhouse mix, I found it would break down any decaying organic matter like lightning. Any plant that was weak disappeared into white fuzz and into the soil in 2 weeks, and all the healthy plants grew on just fine right beside grey fuzz. I do like it as a test for resistance to diseases for seed saving, but I'm not a fan for how quickly it show'd me how weak 1/3rd of some species where.
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 489
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Saybian, I've never heard of fermenting urine. How do you do it?
 
Julie Helms
Posts: 110
Location: SC Pennsylvania, Zone 6b
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I've read that you have to be careful how much urine you put in any given area due to salt build up over time. Anybody know if that is true and needs to be a concern?
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9421
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I think you'd need to be talking about feed-lot quantities of urine, and a high-salt diet. I don't think an individual or family needs to worry about it if they are distributing the material and not concentrating it in one place. So my personal opinion is: Don't worry about it.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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some people who use flush toilets put their toilet paper with urine only on it in trash rather than down the septic....could that paper be used in the garden or would it be considered toxic or a biological problem for authorities??
 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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pickling urine is as easy as pickling anything. It's just the lacto fermentation recipe with no solids. 4 litre's of urine, mix with a quarter cup of whey, quarter cup molasses, and a cup of water. The urine provides the salt that id normally add to the pickle jar, and the sugar is to feed the lacto b. short term. In bokashi terms I'm still using way to much whey from an inoculate perspective but i always lean on the side of overkill. I stoped putting the worm lechate into it as I found it would fizz for 3 or so days and Id have to burp it like the normal lacto fermentation process. I leave the jug's near the heater for 3 days to a week so the bacteria's well in peak performance temperature's before storing them outside indefinitely. This all came out of using "liquid bokashi starter" to spray animal bedding to stop the ammonia and digest the bedding and manure, which worked so well I thought why not use it on urine, it can't be much different than the bacteria that work in aquaponic systems if it's arresting nitrites and turning them into nitrates.

There is salt, but by the time you dilute the stuff 10:1 with water for application it's nothing to stress, and must of the crystal particles collect at the bottom of the jug so just don't use the last bit in the spray mix.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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this has the nasa links, and some info from city sewage providers...

http://ask.metafilter.com/206262/What-happens-when-human-urine-ferments#2973150
 
David Good
gardener
Posts: 522
Location: Equatorial tropics
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books forest garden
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Brenda Groth wrote:some people who use flush toilets put their toilet paper with urine only on it in trash rather than down the septic....could that paper be used in the garden or would it be considered toxic or a biological problem for authorities??


I'd use it. No fear here.

And generally, ignoring the authorities is the best, provided you're not doing something that's going to get you into horrible trouble.

The "authorities" don't "get" permaculture most of the time. They're tied up in their fluoridated water, mowed lawns and donuts.

As for urine as fertilizer, I've not noticed a difference between fresh and stale. All works wonders in the garden and even at undiluted levels, I haven't managed to burn anything. That may be because of all the water and beer I drink...

 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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One thing I picked up from the article that I didnt know but recognized from last year when I was just learning and putting it on too strong. Curly leaf is a sign of too much nitrogen, it goes fully after 2 weeks but that's what taught me to age urine and back off the concentration if I can't avoid foliar feeding. The nasa doc was pretty cool but they went to far with the math when I was just begging for a list of content's by percentages and then by mg's. I'm going to re-read it when i can focus on the descriptive of the content's rather than just a list of elements. I like the aging bring things down to 1:1:1 in theory, id much rather digest sheet mulch into compost, and have that slow release to the soil than dump and run and have plants get upset.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Urine's nutrient content will vary by one's diet. Here are some base-line numbers:

Nutrients in urine:

Quantity per litre:
Nitrogen (N) 7 g
Phosphorous (P) 1 g
Potassium (K) 2 g
sulphur 1 g
magnesium 80 mg
Calcium 200 mg

Per (average) person/year:

Nitrogen (N) 3.5 kg
Phosphorous (P) 0.5 kg
Potassium (K) 1.0 kg
Sulphur 0.5 kg
Magnesium 40 g
Calcium 100 g

This has been computed as the equivalent to a 30 pound bag of 7-1-2 NPK+ fertilizer.
 
Saybian Morgan
gardener
Posts: 582
Location: Lower Mainland British Columbia Canada Zone 8a/ Manchester Jamaica
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I've seen those numbers before, but it's not clear as the difference between aged and fresh urine. The aging should make enough of a difference to where the fertilizer might be more of a balanced soil boost than a grow juice fertilizer.
The one thing I haven't figured out, and that's probably because of being mathematically deficient but how do I equate mg's to potency? I know the #-#-# represents ratio in regards to each other, but i'm trying to wrap my head around a liter of urine to 100 sq ft is = mild, medium, or large dose.
I've never been an npk guy so I don't really know what's strong or not, just what will or wont burn, I've never trusted those powder npk soil test so just because it says adequate it doesn't really say for corn vs dandelions. This might be something I can only find going through hydroponics literature, they seem to be pretty gung ho about steroids so there probably pretty precise with there measurements. I'm thinking of the time i read curly leaf equals too much nitrogen, then thing of 5 days prior when leaves where turning yellow so I sprayed. I assumed its diluted because it was an irritant not because it might be overloaded with nitrogen, but now I have to wonder if 2 liter's urine x 16 litres of water, is way to much for a 10x16 greenhouse. I don't really want to wait for things to turn yellow in order to feed, but I don't want my plants smoking crack either. I gotta search the net im sure somewhere it's going to say 1kg to the acre and i'll be able to do the math from there.
 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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