when i first started my food forest i was collecting and inoculating fresh woodchips with my urine. i had a huge pile and for 6 months i collected my urine and poured it on there. the following spring i used it around all my plants and trees. the growth was phenominal that summer! after that i had composted chicken manure so i used that but urine works good if composted. if used direct id dilute quite a bit as it usually has alot of salt. maybe 5 to 1? permies .com has alot of info on using urine/ human waste as fertilizer.
I use urine year round on my compost piles and spring/summer on my plants. It works so well I have developed a PISS ON IT! attitude. I tell my neighbors about what and why I use and I don’t get any thefts
This has always been one of the best kept secrets… One human can generate enough urine/plant nutrients to feed between 50% to 100% of the crops needed to support said human.
You have to put some thoughts on both the collection and distribution aspect. If you delay using your collected urine to where you can smell the ammonia, it means that the urea (the nitrogen portion) is beginning to break down and thus loosing an important nutritional component.
How you use it depends. Easiest, dump it on the compost pile. I do that plus my trees get huge amount of green mulch, it can receive direct donations without risking it hitting the roots directly. For other plants I would mix it one part to four parts of water, at which point it can be applied directly to the soil with the roots.
Out of basic human decency I avoid any sort of foliar application or direct use with root vegetables. It should be perfectly fine but it just feels right.
taught most of us how to use urine in the garden. Thanks buddy! I have a problem with my dogs as they are both male and pee on everything, Sometimes too much. They recently killed a pluot seedling and I was bummed. I learned through this I have to hide these things from them. If I could just teach them to spread it around better!
Id like to know more about collection/storage/safety.
What concerns should I have about pissin into a jar and storing it, Ive read that it is sterile when it leaves my body but would it be more beneficial to refrigerate it?
Anyone obtaining it from their septic tanks? Whats your experience, how do you retrieve and keep it somewhat sanitary?
I store my urine when I’m not in need of using it, such as from mid-fall to spring, in old 2.5 gallon jugs that used to contain hort oil. You could use 5gal pails with lids either scavanged or purchased from Home Depot. I wouldn’t worry about the safety of using urine- it is only the smell that is a problem. If you wait until during or right before a rain or water it in with a hose you can avoid this problem.
Even if it was feces there wouldn’t be much danger once it was incorporated in the soil and digested by microbes, and urine is rapidly digested upon being watered in. Just wash your hands when you are done.
I store mine in a 5 gallon bucket in the basement powder room closet. I just have to figure out a better “pee-trap” so I don’t have to keep pulling the lid off and holding my breath on every use
Edit: The container I’m using is a used Diesel Exhaust Fluid bucket from TSC (urea and water is all DEF is ironically) so it has a spout hole built in the lid and a handle built into the bottom of the bucket. I think once I rig something up it will actually work very well.
Background: I’m a microbiologist, veterinarian, and diagnostic pathologist by education and training; taught parasitology for 25 yrs.
I use urine…mostly by ‘direct application’, but have collected and stored it short-term.
It is not ‘sterile’ when it leaves your body…we all have ‘resident’ bacteria in our urethra, and some of these come along for the ride when we urinate. Recent examinations of the microbiome in organ systems show that there are bacterial populations normally present in places we previously thought were ‘sterile’, like the pregnant uterus…but they’re not.
Biggest issue with human urine, as someone already pointed out is the salt content - mostly sodium.
Edit: Space inserted here to signify my shift from discussing urine to feces, as it initially created some confusion:
Human fecal material… I’m not a fan of its use on/for food crops… sure, my own might be OK, but when you start collecting from the general public… too many potential pathogens for me to consider it safe, even if ‘composted’… viruses like rota, polio are of fecal origin, Salmonella and enteropathogenic E.coli should always be a consideration, and folks coming from less-developed countries with sketchy sewage/water treatment may be carrying intestinal parasites, like Taenia solium (the human/pork tapeworm, which can cause ocular & neurocysticercosis.
Just watch a few episodes of ‘Monsters Inside Me’ - lol.
If you want to advocate for widespread use of ‘Humanure’ in food crop production, be aware that you also need to be cognizant of the potential for increasing infant mortality rates.
Huh! It’s not like it’s a new thing and we aren’t even discussing using it in commercial agriculture, although you’ve given me the idea of circulating my neighborhood for people willing to donate their urine to me .
Training in microbiology is no guarantee that one will not spread unfounded fears- Please show some factual basis to support the risk that using human urine as fertilizer endangers our children.
“Urine contains most of the excreta’s nutrients and is normally bacteria less. If microorganisms are found in urine, they usually die rather quickly and do not pose any threat to further utilisation of urine as soil fertilizer. Usually the problem is not urine itself but solid excrement that has accidentally mixed with urine (Malkki, 1995; Schönning & Stenström, 2004; Vinnerås et al., 2008; Chandran et al., 2009)”
That is from: https://agronomy.emu.ee/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Vol15nr2_Nagy.pdf