30. July 2018

Using diluted urine as fertilizer

It might sound crazy, but diluted urine is actually the perfect fertilizer. I've been using it for quite some time, and it seems like there are many advantages to this method. Why not get a potty and try it out yourself?

A nearly white cabbage.

Wonderful savoy cabbage 'San Michele'. Cabbage loves some extra nutrition - like pee-water.

 

 

Watering the plants in the kitchen garden with pee may seem somewhat strange – but just wait for the results before you count it out completely. You're in for a pleasant surprise! This is actually a simple, cheap and eco friendly method.

So, what is this fertilizing method called? Well, some might call it the ultimate organic fertilizer. Me, I just call it "pee-water" or diluted urine. I might as well be honest about what it is!

 

Great for Precultivation

I try to use the contents of the kids' potty (or my own) as a fertilizer for potted plants as much as I can during the indoor season. It works great for both potted flowers and smaller plants on the windowsill. I use it in diluted form, in low doses but often. And no it doesn't smell!

I use this fertilizer in summer, usually in my greenhouse and on crops that require a lot of nutrients. Cabbage, asparagus and leek usually need an extra boost. I use both diluted urine and nettle water. It’s like adding a turbo-injection of energy to my plants in the growing season. The results are amazing! Above is the savoy cabbage San Michele.

 

Don't use it too close to harvest

When I water my plants with diluted urine, I make sure not to use it too close to harvest. It is commonly said that you should let four weeks pass between fertilizing and harvesting so that any contagions in the pee will have time to disappear. I sometimes slip up though. I find it very hard to keep track of the precise dates and I end up just guessing instead. To be sure, I never water on the plants themselves, only on the soil between them. The rows between the plants are covered with mulch during the growing season. The mulch absorbs the nutrients, which are then transported down into the soil by worms and insects. Make sure to dilute the urine properly, 1 part pee and 10 parts of water.

 

The Practicalities

You will need some sort of potty. It's best if it has a lid so that you can accumulate enough at the bottom to water it down and use either in the morning or in the evening (without spilling). Personally, I consider the smaller 5 liter buckets a good choice for beginners. They are not too high or too wide and thus they can carry the weight of a reasonably sized female butt. They are also easy to clean. Another choice is a very nice Swedish watering can that was also designed to be a potty. Mine sits in the greenhouse tunnel. It's called Towa, the golden can and it is available online. My toilet paper gets composted in my bokashi compost. I have a small can hanging close to the toilet where the kids and I put our toilet paper after doing number one.

Getting the practical side of things to work is an art if you have small kids. A tip is to use the potty in the evening after the kids are in bed, plus in the morning, then use it for watering and put the potty away during the day when the kids use the toilet.

 

A Potty in the Greenhouse

We keep the potty in the greenhouse in the summer so that we can use it whenever we need. It's quite cozy. The kids are very enthusiastic and can water the plants with diluted urine as instructed. I keep the pot filled with water to about 2/3 to keep it more stable and the smell to a minimum.

Had anyone told the 20-year-old me how I was going to go about peeing fifteen years later, I might have fainted!

Last year, my sister, who lives and gardens in Ireland, made a nice remark about the pee-fertilized vegetables: "Little do the nice ladies know, that the remarkable vegetables they were swooning over, were fertilized with my pee!" Right, Hanna?

So, get your potty ready!

One thing, I must warn you about: Do not try to save the pee for later. The nutritional value remains, but it is absolutely horrifying to deal with. It smells awful! The few times I tried, I had to hide indoors for days so I didn’t have to explain the smell to my neighbors. Just, don’t do it!

Fertilizing crops and plants using pee is not in any way my invention. You can read more online about how it works and how the soil degrades any trace of medicines and other substances.
/Sara Bäckmo

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