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Urine as fertilizer

 
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
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The link about urine storage for the purpose of sterilization seems credible to me, although I've never done it myself so I can't vouch for it. Ammonia is certainly toxic, so it makes sense to me that the decomposition of urea to ammonia could eventually sterilize the solution. It's important to note that storage changes the solution chemically to something that does not resemble urine, but rather a very high pH ammonia solution. So I would think it would need to be diluted so that it doesn't burn the plants. When fresh urine is diluted and used in an aerated soil, the potential for pathogen problems is very low. That's because the urine itself starts out sterile, and when applied to a healthy microherd, it will be oxidized and biologically and chemically consumed before pathogens get a chance to get established. So, I personally don't see the need to put a sterile solution into a container which is contaminated with pathogens, which then must be stored to kill those same pathogens.
 
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Nick Garbarino wrote:The link about urine storage for the purpose of sterilization seems credible to me, although I've never done it myself so I can't vouch for it. Ammonia is certainly toxic, so it makes sense to me that the decomposition of urea to ammonia could eventually sterilize the solution. It's important to note that storage changes the solution chemically to something that does not resemble urine, but rather a very high pH ammonia solution. So I would think it would need to be diluted so that it doesn't burn the plants. When fresh urine is diluted and used in an aerated soil, the potential for pathogen problems is very low. That's because the urine itself starts out sterile, and when applied to a healthy microherd, it will be oxidized and biologically and chemically consumed before pathogens get a chance to get established. So, I personally don't see the need to put a sterile solution into a container which is contaminated with pathogens, which then must be stored to kill those same pathogens.

I agree...and find the idea behind the sterilization somewhat similar to the raw milk issues being debated everywhere.
 
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Location: Kansas City Area
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Nick, thanks for your input. I'll take that into consideration. Perhaps I'll try both ways and see which one seems to be the best for me and my situation. I guess I still need to know about the temperature of the urine in storage, that is, if over 20 degrees Centigrade will harm it, help it or have no effect.
 
Posts: 102
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
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Dustin,

Here a some links to urine research papers:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/100022488?secret_password=3blmil8nhxsv7qzysel

http://www.scribd.com/doc/100022482?secret_password=11k7sdx40jfbz5k8knyz


I read a lot about this topic 3 years ago (and downloaded any papers I could find on the web) before I started using urine in my own vegetable garden.

The stuff works great.

My own conclusion from reading the literature was that it is sterile and all the recommendations about storage and heat only are to kill off bad stuff from fecal contamination.
So if you aren't using a separation toilet, i.e. you pee directly into a separate container, then it shouldn't be a worry.
Also, yes urine, can be feeding source for bad stuff once it is in the environment, but that is true of any fertilizer.
Also other organic fertilizers based on animal manures or animal parts are probably much more risky than source separated urine.
So by using urine instead of store bought organic fertilizer, I'm probably greatly reducing the risk of any harmful contamination in my vegetable garden.


 
Dustin Diedel
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City Area
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Good to have more information Eric. The second document has been helpful. It appears that the hotter it is, the less likely it will be harmful. Since everyone in my household is healthy,

This is my plan of action...

1. Store urine for 1 month over 20 degrees Centigrade. (as storage and temperature does not present a problem for me)

2. Apply urine with a watering can and diluted 10 parts water to 1 part urine. , not aerosol style. Not sprayed in the air.

3. Not applied to root vegetables. (for now)

4. Stop application 1 month prior to harvesting any crops. (I'll use normal food waste compost during this time period)

Thanks for your help everyone.
 
Posts: 52
Location: Yonkers, NY/ Berkshires, MA USA
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Today my (Chinese) acupuncturist gave me very specific instructions for using urine as a fertilizer the traditional Chinese way:

Collect urine from your family into a container with a lid.

Once full, set sealed container in direct sunlight (presumably during a warm season) for four weeks. Traditionally a roadside is the best place for this because the subtle vibrations in the earth from horse traffic gently agitates the urine.

After four months this liquid's properties have changed quite a bit. Apply directly and undiluted to the base of your plants. Your vegetables (he grows mostly tomatoes and cucumbers) will have incomparable flavor and everyone will be really jealous of you.

That's it!

After reading this thread and many of the links posted therein I saw fermentation only mentioned... maybe I missed something? Anyway he swears the quality is better this way than using fresh/diluted urine. His wife (also an acupuncturist) agrees. He emphasized that it is a SECRET traditional farming method and I was like, "ok, whatever, James," but then was surprised not to find a comparable method described in this forum (that I could find). Any thoughts?

 
Dustin Diedel
Posts: 7
Location: Kansas City Area
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As I'm currently living in Taiwan, I can attest that the old fashioned Chinese farmers do indeed use their urine to grow crops. My neighbor has been using this method, I will have to ask him if he uses it right away or lets it sit. Though I suspect he's letting it sit outside in a 55 gallon drum along with his food scraps and fermenting it before use. Sometimes I've smelt it... However he seems to add water through the use of rain.
I have a few gallons of bottled urine that is getting close to 10 months old, I hope to extract some potassium nitrate, or saltpeter through a filtering and drying process used to make gun powder.
 
pollinator
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Hmm, so which is better -fresh or old? And how much and how often? I use only pink salt, not chemical salt (except when I eat some ready stuff, but I get unsalted version, when I can and add my salt), so hopefully that is better for the garden. Do I save all of our urine or just once a week or so?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1133
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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"Some just have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."  Brilliant!

Nite Tiger wrote:I've used urine before, years ago, in response to a forum thread, and have never stopped. I've found that 1 cup urine per gallon of water is a good start, unlikely to overload even the lightest feeders, and provides a ready boost for heavier feeders, without risking salt buildup. I've found "morning water" to be most beneficial. I usually capture that in a 2 liter coke bottle, and use it within an hour. I have found no way to store liquid urine over time without it developing an objectionable smell, so I prefer immediate use.

I also get fewer objections from the wife this way There were uncomfortable times in the past following the question "Hey dear, what's in this jug under the sink?"

I currently use it on my outside hugel bed by collecting my "morning water", carrying it out to the garden, applying it evenly to the base of the plants, then giving a watering sufficient to dilute it properly in the soil. Just once a week or so, and my garden LOVES it. I highly recommend it, for any garden - the plants just LOVE it, ALL of them

 
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