January 31, 2015

To Pee or Not To Pee? Seriously it is a question!

We're getting our garden ready for planting and while doing some research I came across an interesting article which proposed the idea of using human urine in your garden.
So I ask: To Pee or Not To Pee ~ would you use urine in your garden?This isn't a new idea in at all. For centuries farmers have been "watering" also known as Pee-cycling their gardens.  Here's a few experts on the subject:

“Urine accounts for only 1% of the total volume of waste water, but it contains up to 80% of all the nutrients." -Science Daily

A typical toilet flusher wastes “up to 22 liters of drinkable water every day, one three- to six-liter flush at a time. What follows…is the long and costly process of sanitizing the water that was clean before you answered nature’s call. Using so much water per flush unnecessarily increases the volume of our waste and the cost of its transportation and treatment, ecologists say….The process also leaves a huge carbon footprint.” -Time Magazine

At this point you're either:  Grossed out completely to which I say ~ thanks for stopping by see you tomorrow when I review Mortdecai
Intrigued and want to learn more ~ so here we go

Urine contains all of the nutrients that our bodies cannot absorb. In terms of fertilizer urine contains high amounts of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous in levels similar to commercially produced products.  One of the studies out of Sweden (this country is quite the leader on urine/fertilizer research) states that one adult's urine is enough nutrients to fertilize most of the crops needed to feed that person. 
If you decide this is something you are interested in doing you need a bit more information before you sprinkle on the tomatoes..  Anyone who has a dog can relate to the brown spots that occur when they repeatedly urinate in one area ~ that's how strong urine is.  Using urine in the garden can be just as damaging.  Here's the guideline I've discovered: unless you are adding the urine to your compost pile or using it do break down hay/straw bales it must be diluted.  You should never pour urine straight o a plant it should always be onto the soil.  I am not going to list the dilutions as there are many according to your planned use.
Let's get down to real nitty gritty ~ collecting your urine. Men have a bit of an advantage when it comes to "watering" the garden when the need hits them but even the most dedicated of pee-cyclers probably won't run to the compost every time he needs to relieve himself.  Again men do have it a bit easier depositing their daily donations even inside the home.  Well ladies the Swedish company Guldkannon came up with a solution by creating a modern day chamber pot/watering can. Ava Lövberg designed Towa to be "Something to sit on in the bathroom, that it had to be comfortable too! I did not want to have to do anything more but mix it with water and fertilize my plants. The lid had to be airtight with no detectable odor. It had to be practical and easy to carry as well. And it had to be attractive and of very high quality.” At the current exchange rates before shipping this unique item can be yours for $108. There are toilets that separate urine and solid waste, and they're not cheap.There are many different solutions for collecting your urine.  Spending all kinds of money to save a free resource seems counter-intuitive which would seem why most people who are collecting liquid gold are opting for using what they have lying around the house ~ jars, bottles and buckets.  

Truly interested in the subject Mother Earth News has a book on the subject: Liquid Gold

 At Rich Earth Institute in Vermont you can become a urine donor and assist in their ongoing study of using urine as fertilizer.

So tell me would you save your urine to fertilize your plants?

Remember to Always Wear Your Invisible Crown
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