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Winter urine usage in zone 3  RSS feed

 
Posts: 57
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba (zone 3)
2
food preservation hugelkultur urban
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First of all, I should state that I live alone in a house in a city located in zone 3.  I've come to understand that our modern toilets are a terrible use of resources, especially with regards to water usage, and also because human urine is a valuable resource.  This summer, I started collecting my urine and either mixing it in with water to water the garden, or to pour it straight into the compost.  I could manage that pretty well.  But now, the weather has cooled down and it's going to get colder.  I've continued to collect my urine and pour it into the compost, which is now frozen, at least on the surface.  So here re my questions:

1- Because the urine will be freezing soon after it is poured into the compost, will the compost still benefit from the nitrogen, or does that somehow get lost?

2- Is it possible to put too much urine into a compost pile?

3- Is there anything else I haven't considered with regards to this issue?  (There usually is.)
 
gardener
Posts: 2166
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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If you really like living alone, you could collect it in a drum in the living room

My guess is that the Nitrogen would stay in the frozen pee until it thaws.  It may run off the pile when it thaws if the pile is still frozen below it.  So if you make a depression in the pile before it freezes you could fill it up over the winter.

You can add too much N to a compost pile so I'd assume that you can add too much urine as well.

How about making pee cubes (a yellower version of ice cubes) and distributing them around your property to fertilize shrubs and plants as they melt?
 
Jean Soarin
Posts: 57
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba (zone 3)
2
food preservation hugelkultur urban
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If you really like living alone, you could collect it in a drum in the living room.

 
Thanks for the laugh.  Actually, I'll be looking for a roommate in short order, so I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably have to put and end to my urine collection once that person moves in, at least during the winter. 

My guess is that the Nitrogen would stay in the frozen pee until it thaws.  It may run off the pile when it thaws if the pile is still frozen below it.  So if you make a depression in the pile before it freezes you could fill it up over the winter.

You can add too much N to a compost pile so I'd assume that you can add too much urine as well.



Actually your comment brings to mind the video  I was watching his morning at http://humanurehandbook.com, called the Lovable Loo.  They built a compost pile that was made up the products of a dry toilet, as well as sawdust, straw, and a bit of kitchen scraps.  So there must have been tons of urine in that compost pile, and they've been using this compost to amend their garden for a number of years now, and the garden was doing great.  So maybe a compost pile can have a lot of urine?
 
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Hi Jean
Being a former MB,I can understand your dilemma.
I have in the past used a strawbale to pour my urine on. I've tried it spring and summer but maybe it would work in winter?? and provide a wonderful spring addition to your compost pile or just leave it to compost on its own.
 
Posts: 56
Location: Saskatchewan zone 2/3
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Jean Soarin wrote:]

My guess is that the Nitrogen would stay in the frozen pee until it thaws.  It may run off the pile when it thaws if the pile is still frozen below it.  So if you make a depression in the pile before it freezes you could fill it up over the winter.

You can add too much N to a compost pile so I'd assume that you can add too much urine as well.



Actually your comment brings to mind the video  I was watching his morning at http://humanurehandbook.com, called the Lovable Loo.  They built a compost pile that was made up the products of a dry toilet, as well as sawdust, straw, and a bit of kitchen scraps.  So there must have been tons of urine in that compost pile, and they've been using this compost to amend their garden for a number of years now, and the garden was doing great.  So maybe a compost pile can have a lot of urine?



From my understanding, woody stuff (wood chips, sawdust, etc) take up a lot of nitrogen as they decompose, so a compost pile made of a lot of woody material plus the nitrogen from urine sounds like a great match.  I don't know if it would work as well in regular compost with less or no woody material, though.  Having said that, I have no experience with adding large amounts of urine to a compost pile, so take my advice for what it's worth :)
 
Posts: 40
Location: Eau Claire, WI
5
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Was I the only gardener who picked up on Mike Jay's excellent suggestion?

How about making pee cubes (a yellower version of ice cubes) and distributing them around your property to fertilize shrubs and plants as they melt?

I love it. Just need to be careful about adding too much N.
 
gardener
Posts: 3558
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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Jean Soarin wrote:I've come to understand that our modern toilets are a terrible use of resources, especially with regards to water usage, and also because human urine is a valuable resource.



Yup urine is a tremendously valuable resource.  My favorite teacher told me one time "Don't throw away your wealth".
 
Jean Soarin
Posts: 57
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba (zone 3)
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Hi Jean
Being a former MB,I can understand your dilemma.
I have in the past used a strawbale to pour my urine on. I've tried it spring and summer but maybe it would work in winter?? and provide a wonderful spring addition to your compost pile or just leave it to compost on its own.



Hi!  I think you're the first Manitoban I've met on here.  I'd never heard of using a straw bale to store urine.  Can you tell us more?
 
Jean Soarin
Posts: 57
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba (zone 3)
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food preservation hugelkultur urban
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I did a bit of research, and read on Earth911.com «too much winter water will force air out of pore spaces in your compost pile, suffocating our dear aerobic bacteria friends.» If water can do this, obviously urine can do this too.  So I'm assuming that too much urine is too much of a good thing.

So I'm considering the pee ice cubes.  Not exactly simple or pleasant to do, but a good way to use a valuable resource.  I hardly have any trees or bushes in the yard, but I'm thinking that I could still deposit some around the garden-- or I can just go out and pour the urine around, which would actually be simpler than portioning it into separate containers, removing them from the molds, and then spreading them around.  Visitors will simply think that a dog was staking out his territory. 
 
Posts: 69
Location: Manila
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hi. here in the tropics, i typically store my urine in large soda bottles and keep in a box outside. used milk or juice bottle/cartons will work too.

also, a funnel is very handy.
 
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