Human Urine Fertilizer

I thought it would be fun to share my homebrew fertilizer storage for winter collection of pharmaceutical free aged urine. Basically I pee into a 1 gallon bottle with a funnel on top, fill up 10 or so then empty them into these IBC tanks and dilute 1 part urine to 2-3 parts water and run it to trees or garden. I consider running a small hose to run a line directly from the bathroom area to one of the tanks but have not got that far yet it is a ways away (130ft or so).


It’s a good idea. How long have you been using this? I’d think you’d get a lot of solids forming that makes it impossible to use a watering wand, but without the wand straight from the hose it’s probably okay.

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Yeah… depending on how long you keep that around, I would expect denitrifying bacteria (from your skin, urethra, and the environment) to be acting on the urea, converting it to ammonia, which would sublimate away… there goes your N… leaving you with all the salts…unless some of it is being coupled, in the ammonium ion form (NH4+), to cations like Potassium, Sodium, or forming salts with Calcium, Magnesium & Phosporus. Not sure how effective it is as a ‘fertilizer’…but I’m not an expert in that arena.

I just do ‘direct application’… but I’m in an isolated rural area.


I think 3 winters, There are salts forming into chunks, mainly along the side of the tank, I use it straight out of a hose from an IBC tank off the back of a tractor. Othertimes it has gone into a drip irrigation line and had no issues after one season of roughly 6 fertigations. I think as i said before the salts mostly sit on the bottom and if i don’t stir it up they don’t wash down into the next diluted mixture.

into vapors and float away you mean? I can test it out by off gasing the air and then letting it off gas again to see if there is more ammonia aroma. I don’t feel inclined to apply it in the winter as you can imagine, no growth going on and frozen ground, so this is what I figured would work. It is what farmers do with cow urine basically, and then spread onto fields.

I’ve always considered it likely most N remains in stored urine, if only because systems of saving animal urine for fertilizer are used at a commercial level. The urine is always stored for a good amount of time as it is collected in lined ponds and held until needed.

I haven’t searched it up for a long time and I don’t remember if I ever got a researched answer on the volatility of N in stored urine. I also store it over winter and start to use it around the first day of spring here, when J.plums just begin to show some green.

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Man, when I started using urine horticulturally about 50 years ago, I never would have guessed it would become a kind of rage in commercial agriculture.

Here is something very interesting. Apparently if you add lime or wood ashes to the urine it stops it from volatizing under any circumstances while in storage. We found a way to turn urine into solid fertiliser – it could make farming more sustainable

This article suggests that long term storage doesn’t reduce N content. Yes wee can: study gives green light to use urine as crop fertiliser | Drug resistance | The Guardian


As a basic premise, the urine must be mixed with carbon-rich materials in order for the nitrogen to become accessible to the plants. Carbon-rich materials can include leaves, straw, or just good quality earthy soil. The nitrogen in urine is in the form of urea, creatine, and ammonia; when mixed with carbon-rich materials, the aerobic bacteria convert it into nitrates, which the plants can then uptake.

I pour mine on woodchip and manure piles and let nature do its thing. Then spread it in the spring.

I used to save it in a drum but i think that there is alot of loss of N to the conversion of Ammonia gas. So i store it in carbon now.

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I spent some time trying to see numbers about how much wood ash or lime is needed, but most of the information is for large scale lab like environment not farmer Joe scale and simplicity.

So my current thought is to try just adding about 1 gallon of ash a week until there is no ammonium smell off gasing in the IBC tank, continue to add urine normally and when there is more ammonia smell I add more ash. If i run out of ash i will use lime.

additionally I have powdered charcoal but i like using that for the dry toilet. But that could be an additional option to apply in the IBC tanks. I just use a open ended hose with a valve to deliver the fertilizer so as long as the particle fit through the hose end valve it should all work fine.

I would like numbers but I can understand more now that is not possible as someone eating lentils and meat for a month will have much higher Nitrogen/ ammonia than someone eating a low calorie, with high water intake diet.

So the nose knows in the end of the KISS strategy. I will start adding wood ash today.

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I love Jazz even more than classical music- improvisation is creative, precisely calculated measurements determined by careful research, not so much. Winemakers used to use their eyes and noses, but now rely more on instruments that do the calculations for them, and more accurately and efficiently. But where’s the joy in that

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In the article, the urinease was a problem in the sewer lines, nothing was said about conversion in storage. Maybe someone else can search that out.