Having read that fertilizer teas should be steeped for at least a couple of weeks, and that pee if sealed and left to sit a couple weeks becomes strongly alkaline, I thought to combine the two. My current recipe, which has been great fertilizer, is pee+comfrey leaves+wood ash (which is rich in calcium and magnesium), left to sit a couple weeks in watercooler 5 gallon handlejugs. I then pour it just away from the stems of the plants, undiluted, after watering. Often over a layer of alder chip mulch. The ingredients are free and the process easy.
I have long meant to share this, but an accident last night made it especially pressing. While handling a full jug, I bumped it against the ground gently and it cracked open. The pressure forced the contents out in a terrible spray that soaked my boots, pants and the environs. While this was very comic (in the forest, no one can hear you swear), it made me realize that the plastic had degraded, becoming brittle. It wasn't UV; the jugs are aged out of the sun. So <5> PP is proooooooooobably not the best polymer for this app. I hope I'm not eating phthalates agogo :O
I had similar incendent recently... A 5 gal plastic pail on my front porch, just outside the kitchen, used to contain an anerobic brew of pee, tea, coffee an grounds, rinse water from my goat milking routine, onion, garlic peels, and any other thing the chickens or goats don't care for, and of course some water is added each time I dip some stinky brew out to water things. Well, it needed moved. The hurricane path prediction brought the eye close... It needed set on the ground at least. So in a hurry, I was about to head to work, I grabbed both sides and heaved it up and it cracked and spilled... All over me and down the porch... It was a fairly new pail, maybe a year old, only in use as the pee tea coffee brew pail since feb... And it did get 1-2 hours of sun on it... But I'm thinking the ingredients sped up the deterioration... 15" inches of rain cleaned the evidence of the spill completely away though...
The story gets better. My boots, bestanked with peetea, could not be worn even among permaculture people (they'd like the joke, but then not want to be in the same room). I buried them in a pile of cedar sawdust hoping it would mitigate the stench, then forgot them there for a couple weeks, and they got moldy! But the smell is gone, so. I know how to clean mold.
And Annie, you just scared me out of using the abundant free plastic 5 gallon pails! Or using them with great care. They are, after all, free.
Thanks Bryant, I have such abundance of all those materials, I can use them unstintingly all over the place. It's been amazing for the garden, better than anything else I've done, even what I paid for!
And thanks for the rec on plastic type. I am so nonplussed by all polymer issues, I just use 5, 1 or 2. These water cooler jugs are labeled 5/polypropolene, which is part of why I started using them for pee...I thought I read somewhere that 5 could leach...something. More than 1 or 2 anyway.
Is LPP a better value given lifespan? Or is it just about risks of icky accidents?
Here in western WA, we often want alkalinity. I'm applying this to soil mulched with alder chips that's been covercropped and limed. It gets better every year! Eventually there will be enough mulch and biochar to help bank the nutrients against our rainforest precipitation that weathers the soil.
Always! Wait. Never. Shut up. Look at this tiny ad.