TCLynx wrote: LOL, well, if you use aged urine on the weeds, you might find that they grow unless you manage to use so much that you burn them. Vinegar is probably more effective as a herbicide.
As an insecticide, well I suppose if you were to carefully fertilize plants with appropriate amounts of diluted aged urine, you might find the plants are stronger and able to fight off pests better.
However, I don't see it being all that effective for either of those things directly. It is a fairly good fertilizer and compost activator though.
The reason we don't use urine directly on plants (even in the Oregon rainforest) is that the concentrated nitrogen and heat from breakdown get so intense, they burn the roots. On sunny days, we have to be extra careful, and dilute 1:10 with water. On rainy days, we can be more careless and go 1:5 or even pee right on the garden. But if the sun comes out unexpectedly, we have lost a few plants this way.
Africa has more sunny days than we do, so I would not be surprised if this works. I suspect even heat-hardy African weeds are susceptible to burned roots.
There is something attractive about a weed killer that, when diluted, also serves to fertilize other plants.
Never had an issue with burning plants with urea...It should never be days old, it tends to be too potent then. I sometimes dilute, but typically not. Urine around the base of the plants and water behind it via spray should suffice in just about any N. American environment?
I have a bucket to pee in and a bucket to poop (that I use sawdust with). The pee one gets emptied in different places all of the time (sometimes in one of the compost piles, sometimes just somewhere people won't notice, etc.) and the poop one always goes into the compost pile with other organic material found around the yard. Food scraps sometimes go in the poop pile as well.
I learned only recently about urine as a great source of N and P.
One thing I'm still not clear about is: months ago I asked how to boost the N in my rice field, because the locals wanted me to spend $30 on a sack of urea. I asked if I could spray a urine foliar, and someone told me that fresh urine doesn't contain the right kind of N, because the MOs haven't transformed the nitrates into nitrites or something.
Still, I did see videos of people using urine and swearing by it.
Also, what about the phosphorus? Last year we realized we had so much trouble getting any flowers/fruit because of a P deficiency, and two of us (it was prior to me discovering permaculture) went all over Costa Rica looking for rock phosphates, and everybody told them the fertilizer industry is hogging whatever remains on the planet.
Then, after reading about PC I realized that if I can keep a number of birds perching, feeding and flying over my garden, they'll poop over a year a quantity of P equal to 35Kg, which is a pretty good sack. Then I learned about urine being super rich in P. And very recently I learned about mycorrhizae and their function you all know about. It makes a lot of sense, too. Our soil is very clayy, especially after the backhoe removed the topsoil to make it livable here; so lots of alkaline minerals in the soil and the phosphorus is locked.
I guess mine is a double question: 1. Is the P in urine just pure P, meaning it doesn't need bacteria to process it, and that's why urine is so phenomenal, or what is the deal?
and 2. As far as the mycorrhizal fungi, is there a way to harvest them in nature and grow them like bokashi? I thought that with Hügelkultur and its core of rotten wood, I was all set for fungi, but it turns out that the fungi on wood and tree roots are useless for the roots of plants (ectosomething and endosomething). So where do I find them? Actually, I do have a little bag of mycorrhizae, can I just mix it with wet sawdust and keep it airtight so it propagates?
I hope I made myself clear.
Writing from Madhuvan, a yoga retreat/organic farm on the West Coast of Costa Rica.
the concentrated nitrogen and heat from breakdown get so intense, they burn the roots.
'Burning' of roots is high salt content (N) in surrounding soil drawing the water out of the plant's roots, and is not actual temperature-related burning. Though, you would see this exacerbated at higher temperatures due to the higher rate of transpiration.
1. As far as I know the phosphates in urine are readily available to plants. Because birds pee is mixed with their poop this is why the bird solution would be effective.
2. Mycorrhizal fungi are available for sale from fungi perfecti (fungi.com). Or you could just wait for the MR spores to find their way into your garden naturally.
I'm not sure if bad bacteria would accumulate with 'aging' urine, but I seem to remember an interesting factoid about dying leather white with aged urine and the ammonia it turns into. I don't think much bacteria could survive in ammonia?
I think that's from one of those clan of the cave bear books. Good books! Lots of little interesting tidbits to learn along with an interesting story!
I know that wool can be lightened with ammonia, though its high PH can be harsh on the fibers if exposed too long. Wool and leather are both protein so it could work. Wool used to be cleaned with fermented urine. Ammonia strips oil from the fibers.
Urine converts to ammonia through bacterial action. It is a good medium to fertilize soil because it feeds the biome in the soil, just dilute it 1:10 with water. I'm in favor of peeing into biochar. Any thoughts on that anyone? A caution though, antibiotics, birthcontrol estrogens and some other medicine residues can be excreted through urine and don't break down easily. I would sequester that urine.
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