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Soil Using Pee and poo in the garden
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  1. #1

    Using Pee and poo in the garden

    I'll start this off with chuck poop.

    I am finding that fresh Bantam poo is great for my garden. I get it out from where I keep them every day and spread it everywhere in the garden and pots. I find that I need to be doing this to keep many plants happy besides the worms.

    The poo that they make contains the urine as well not like what we do.

    I expect that down the track I will have to use my own manure and pee.

    When I was in China many public toilets had pots in them to pee in that were taken away by farmers for fertilizer.

  2. #2

    Urine: Closing the NPK Loop
    November 27, 2011 by Mark Feineigle & filed under Soil Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Conservation

    The Stockholm Environment Institute conducted experiments and collected data that shows the usefulness of a resource every one of us has access to — urine. When utilized as a fertilizer, urine can provide an alternative to chemical fertilizers. The impacts ripple far beyond the nutrient value of the urine; in developing regions, diverting a urine waste stream to fertilizer has a significant economic value. These benefits can easily be recognized at the individual level, and scale all the way up to industrial operations.

    Nutrient value

    95% of the 0.8-1.5L of urine each person produces per day is water, but the last 5% is comprised of both the macro-nutrients all gardeners are familiar with — Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K) — as well as some trace micro-nutrients. While the actual content will vary slightly depending on your diet, your urine is generally a well balanced nitrogen rich fertilizer straight out of your body. The average person produces enough urine per year to cover 300-400 m2 of land to a level of 50-100kg/ha of nitrogen.

    Some of the yearly values of the nutrients are:

    3.5kg of nitrogen
    0.5kg phosphorus
    1.0kg potassium
    0.5kg sulfur
    40g magnesium
    100g calcium

    A family of four can produce the equivalent of a 50kg bag of NPK fertilizer from urine alone every year. This urine has a 10:1:4 ratio of nutrients. This shows a higher nitrogen content than many mineral fertilizers and can be expressed in the lower P/N and K/N ratios of urine. Another positive effect of using urine is that the phosphorous is in a plant usable form, requiring no additional processing before it can be absorbed. The concentration of nutrients in the water can be diluted or concentrated with either drinking more fluid or sweating. This will not have any effect of the total nutrient content and can be diluted just prior to application with water. There is no good reason to concentrate urine destined for use as fertilizer.

    How to use

    Once collected, urine can either be stored or applied immediately. The application can be done in a variety of spreading methods. The most basic application would be to use a watering can. You can choose to dilute the urine anywhere from 1:1 to 1:15 with water, the most common being ~1:5, or apply it straight. Take care to apply the urine directly to the soil, avoiding foliar feeding the leaves and fruits. To aid in the absorption of the urine it is suggested to dig a small amount of soil up around the leaf perimeter and pour the urine there. Afterward push dirt back over to cover the urine.

    Application of diluted urine in early stages of cultivation
    Photo: Linus Dagerskog

    It is best to apply the urine directly to the soil. This acts as another safety barrier as well as prevents the plants from being burned. Urine applied by foliar feeding, direct application to the plant, will often burn your plants. It will not kill them or do any unrepairable damage, but it is still advised to apply the urine directly to the soil. Some plants are sensitive to the high nutrient content in urine and may burn even if you apply directly to the soil. In the case of tomato plants, which are sensitive to urine, it is best to apply the urine by digging a small trough around the drip line of the plant. The drip line is generally as far as the roots reach; applying the urine here will allow the plant to take what it needs from the peripheral area without burning. As always, if the urine seems too strong for your application, try diluting it just before applying. Dilute as close to application as possible; do not dilute prior to storage.

    Other ways to spread the urine are with an irrigation system or animal slurry distribution systems. If irrigation is used, it is advised to flush the lines with water after the urine is applied. This prevents any deposits from building up and clogging the irrigation line. No matter what method of application is chosen, urine should be applied just before it rains or at the end of the day if possible. This is more important in arid areas where evaporation could lead to salt buildup in the soil, but will be beneficial in all regions. If rain is frequent, applications can be increased.

    If urine is applied to the soil with little or no storage time, it will break down better and faster than if stored in tanks. This is the preferred use, but only for family farms. The soil, along with its diverse organisms, allows for faster aerobic breakdown of the pollutants picked up in the system. The UV light from the sun also helps hasten the breakdown process — up to 50,000 times more degradation! If an entire community is involved in the urine reclamation, it becomes safer to store the urine.


    For the single family using urine as fertilizer, the handling is very simple. A urine diverting toilet is a great way to make collection painless, but for the developing world some jerry cans are all that is needed. Urine diverting toilets built in Niger have shown to pay back the construction cost when valuing the urine collected as fertilizer, in just under 2 years. The single family does not need to worry about cross contamination as much as a community and therefore is not required to store the urine for as long to make it “safe”. As previously mentioned, urine can be applied directly, without storage — just fine at the family level. These rules are also true for urinals, which have very low cross contamination rates with faeces. It only becomes necessary to store it longer when dealing with large numbers of urine sources. To be extra safe, families can store their urine for 1-4 weeks.

    For large community collection several other measures are required. When first implementing any system like this, it is best to contact and involve the farmers that will be using the urine. By involving them you can meet their needs as well as potentially allow them to get involved in the collection process, creating a small income stream for the farmer.

    After collecting urine from multiple sources, storage to kill pathogens is required. Large meter cube storage containers are often utilized for their low cost and high availability. If these are not available, jerry cans can be used through the entire process. 20L jerry cans are extremely common. Each 20L container can cover between 4 and 20 square meters of land. These containers are often two colors to indicate their storage life. A yellow container denotes the urine is still in storage, while a green container denotes liquid fertilizer, or birg-koom. Storage time for urine collected from many sources is suggested between 1 and 6 months. The colder the temperature the longer it will take for the pathogens to die down. Ambient temperatures in warmer climates should look toward 1-2 months storage and as the climate gets colder, increase storage time. Make sure not to dilute the urine prior to storage, most commonly with gray water from the sink, or it will take longer for the pathogens to die. Stronger urine is a much harsher environment. Additives and even just a handful of compost are being studied to aid in the breakdown of pathogens as well as increase the nutrient content of the urine. These studies look promising, but have not been published as of yet.

    Yellow container for fresh urine,
    green container for stored urine to be sold to farmers.
    Photo: Linus Dagerskog

    One thing to watch out for with the long term storage of urine is the crystallization of phosphorous. The crystals form on the walls of the containers, but can be broken up easily by stirring the urine occasionally. These same crystals can also end up clogging pipes and irrigation lines if not taken care of. For pipes and lines, simply run fresh water through after each urine application.

    Storage of urine in one cubic metre tank
    Photo: Anna Richert


    While urine is not very dangerous, some precautions should be take to ensure safety. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed a barrier system to prevent the spread of any disease. The barrier system is quite basic and requires no special skills or tools.

    The multi-barrier approach

    The first barrier in the WHO process is source separation. This happens at the household level where urine and faeces are separated by a urine diverting toilet. After that, the urine is collected and stored. Everyone involved in handling the urine should wear rubber shoes and gloves. The third barrier is the application technique: applying the urine directly into the soil, preventing it from getting on the above ground parts of the plant. Fourth is selective application. For example, fast growing greens like lettuce are not the best targets for urine fertilizer because they grow and are consumed so fast.

    Risk levels in relation to crop and handling strategy

    Next is the withholding period barrier. No crops should have urine applied at least a month before harvest. This applies to all kinds of fertilizers, not urine specifically, but it is none-the-less another barrier. The fifth barrier is the gloves and boots, which should be used at all times during urine processing and application. Lastly, hands should be washed frequently when handling urine and all crops should also be washed prior to consumption.

    Another safety concern is how urine is stored. Use only sealed containers, otherwise you risk mosquitoes breeding. While urine is fairly sterile when it is fresh, there are some organisms that are alive in it. These will break down when applied to the soil usually, but the storage process is what makes sure these organisms are all dead. One such organism that can live in urine is Salmonella typhi/paratyphi, although it is short lived — requiring only 1 week of storage to reduce their numbers one thousand times.

    Cross contamination from faeces is probably the largest concern. While this is not the end of the world, the likelihood of harmful organisms surviving past the application point is higher. Diarrhea is an exception and should be watched for carefully as it is a source of bad contamination.

    Again these safety concerns all but disappear at the family level. Family members are more likely to transmit diseases directly to the other members of the family than through urine. The health risks at the family level are very low. Urine can be applied fresh, in its near sterile form as previously mentioned, to allow for aerobic and UV breakdown.

    When these safety concerns are compared to using pesticide and animal antibiotics, you are actually at a far less risk of transmitting diseases via urine than you are using “modern” substances and techniques. Urine fertilizer has shown lower heavy metals than waste or sludge water and even farmyard manure. The chemicals introduced through the consumption of pharmaceuticals are much worse, and not properly treated, even in most first world countries. When working with local urine, and even more-so when dealing with a family, your chemical loop will be closed. Only the chemicals you have taken will be present in your urine; no outside sources are used as input. Menstrual blood in the urine has no negative health impacts and can be used normally.

    Components of urine collection system Ouagadougou, Berkina Faso
    Photos: CREPA


    In developing nations where resources are scarce, being able to produce your own fertilizer can go a long way to economic sovereignty. In Burkina Faso the value of a 20L container of urine is about 25 US cents. The farmers in Burkina Faso can often only afford to purchase one bag of fertilizer per season at a cost of 6-7USD. By harvesting their urine and using it as a fertilizer the farmer can create the equivalent of two bags worth of fertilizer for little to no economic input. The cost of purchasing the chemical fertilizer is also retained, further reducing economic stress.

    The economic value can multiply quickly as you scale up to a village-sized collection system. This has side effects of producing jobs all through the cycle from collection, to tracking storage, to sales, and many others. As valuable as this is for the local village, reducing the need for external chemical fertilizers, it is not without its shortcomings. The collection cost of running a urine storage/distribution facility is currently greater than the industrial value of the urine when compared to other fertilizers.


    The true benefits of the system can be seen in the increased yields. In terms of sustenance farming, there is little else to be said. Larger crops mean more income for the farmer, and more food for the community. While the test crops were not measured with scientific rigor, it is clear that the urine treated crops out produced non treated crops.

    Field trials from Niger. Urine fertilised millet to the right.
    Photo: Linus Dagerskog

    Urine fertilised sorghum to the left
    Photo: Linus Dagerskog

    Spinach (Swiss Chard) fertilised with urine, left.
    Photo: Peter Morgan


    Urine is a valuable resource that should be harvested more widely. In the developing world, this built-in fertilizer stream is low hanging fruit on the road out of poverty. With even a minimal investment, a family or sustenance farmer can not only reduce their need for importing synthetic fertilizers, but can also reclaim a waste stream. The beneficial impacts stretch far beyond the urine diverting toilet.

  3. #3
    How To Use Pee In Your Garden

    March 19, 2013 by Erica | Affiliate disclosure

    If you can get over the ewwww factor, pee-cycling your own urine into the garden makes good sense. Fresh urine is high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium and can act as an excellent high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer or as a compost accelerator.

    How To Use Pee In Your Garden
    Components of Urine

    The exact breakdown of urine varies depending on the diet of the pee-maker. The more protein a person consumes, the more nitrogen will be excreted into the urine. Typical Western Diet pee has an NPK ratio of about 11-1-2. In comparison, blood meal is 12-2-1 and cottonseed meal is 7-2-2.

    Urine also contains salt – sometimes quite a lot of it if you are hopped up on a diet of canned soup and french fries. Because of both the salt and high nitrogen levels, urine should generally be diluted 10:1 before use on garden crops. Greater dilution – 20:1 or more – is appropriate for more tender plants, seedlings and potted plants which are more susceptible to salt build up.

    Keep in mind that areas with a lot of rain (Seattle!) tend to leach salts out of the soil, so salt build up is something gardeners in arid climates should be more concerned about.

    Fresh pee can have a pH anywhere from 5 to 9 depending on a person’s diet, but it tends to move toward neutral as it ages and breaks down when applied outside. I would not personally worry too much about the variable pH of urine for garden use.
    Safety Issues

    In a healthy person, urine is sterile. In someone with decent hygiene and wiping technique, it should more-or-less stay that way as it leaves the body. Cross contamination with fecal matter (health risk!) can be a concern, so perfect your front-to-back TP technique if you are going to pee-cycle.

    If you are on medication, don’t fertilize with your pee. If you have a UTI or other infection or – well, let’s just say anything funky going on in or around your pee-hole – your urine is not fit for garden use.
    Grossness Issues

    Assuming the safety issues are satisfactorily addressed, then the grossness issue is cultural programing and you should think about if it’s programming you want to keep in your brain. Most gardeners, after all, are pleased as punch to get ahold of a big load of cow poop for their garden, and that fertilizer has a far greater chance of spreading harmful pathogens than pee.

    Here’s a few other things to think about:

    “Urine accounts for only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, 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

    Basically, the environmental and financial cost to piss in a bunch of drinking-quality water and then process it back into drinking water is huge. Separating urine from solid waste – through direct pee-cycling or urine-separating toilets – could go a long way to offset this cost by reducing the burden on wastewater treatment programs.

    If the tree-hugger eco stuff doesn’t move you to action, consider the cost of a bag of blood meal. Now consider the cost of your pee. You will never find a more easy-to-acquire, cheaper source of fast acting nitrogen.

    Basic courtesy is to not apply urine to those parts of the plant that will be consumed (i.e., as a foliar feed for spinach). Even so, if pee-cycled fertilizer on food crops just grosses you out, consider using this resource on fruit trees, perennials, and ornamental plantings, including your nitrogen-lovin’ lawn, instead.
    5 Ways To Use Pee In The Garden

    Okay, I’ve convinced you! You are ready to drop trou’ and add your liquid gold deposit to your garden. But how do you pee in the garden in the most effective way (and without getting arrested for indecent exposure in the process!)?

    1. Compost Accelerator
    Is your compost pile cold? A little long on carbon and low on nitrogen? Pee, poured or – ahem – directly deposited – on the pile can start to speed things up and add moisture. If you are nervous about using urine directly on your plants, incorporating urine into a compost pile is the way to go.

    2. Dilution is The Solution
    Dilute fresh urine at a 4:1 ratio and apply to the root-zone of corn every two weeks or as needed. (Some people say corn, being a grass, can handle fertilization with straight urine. Proceed with caution.)
    Dilute fresh urine at a 10:1 ratio and apply to the root-zone of fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, or to leafy crops like cabbage, broccoli, spinach and lettuce every two weeks or as needed.
    Dilute fresh urine at a 20:1 ratio and water in to the root zone of seedlings and new transplants.

    3. The Straw Bale Sprinkle
    When Straw Bales are used for gardening, they must be “conditioned” or partially broken down / composted before use. This is accomplished with the addition of a very high nitrogen fertilizer. Guess which free, Bud Lite-hued high-nitrogen fertilizer I’d recommend?

    4. Deep Mulch Direct Application
    If you thickly mulch your woody perennials, cane fruit and fruit trees with a high-carbon material like leaves or woodchips, you can apply your urine straight onto the mulch, which will absorb and moderate the straight shot of nitrogen in your pee.

    5. That Asparagus Smell!
    If asparagus makes your pee smell funny, take revenge and pee on your asparagus! Nutrient hungry, deep rooted, perennial and salt-tolerant, asparagus might be the ideal crop to fertilize with pee. If you grow your asparagus under a thick layer of carbonaceous mulch, like straw or wood chips, use the Direct Mulch Direct Application technique, otherwise dilute 2:1 if your asparagus is in the sandy soil it prefers, or 4:1 in heavier soil. Apply throughout the growing season, along with a good source of potassium, like bone meal, in the early spring.
    Pee-cycling Sexism

    So Adam and Eve are standing in the Garden of Eden right after the Creation and God is handing out the last of the talents, qualities and features he has for each of them. He reaches into his bag and pulls out a slip of paper.

    “Ability to Pee Standing Up,” booms God. “Okay, who wants this one?”

    “Oh, pick me!” yells Adam, “Pick me! Peeing while standing up sounds like such a very male thing to do, God. I really think that one has to go to me. Sorry Eve, but I really think I need this one.”

    God looks at Eve, who just shrugs. “Sure, if it’s that important to him, give Adam the peeing thing. I don’t really care.”

    God hands Adam the slip of paper and says, “Forevermore, Adam, by your choice shall men be endowed with the ability to pee whilst standing.”

    Adam grins and God reaches to the very bottom of his bag. “Just one more, and I guess since Adam got Peeing While Standing Up, this last one goes to you, eh, Eve? Let’s see…”

    God unfolds his final slip of paper. “Okay, here you go Eve: Multiple Orgasms is all yours.”


    It is a fact of life that men are better equipped to pee all over things. If you are a male gardener, combine your skills and start marking your veg territory with pride. The Deep Mulch Direct Application method will be simplest if you want to water directly from the hose, so to speak.

    Ladies, I highly recommend you use Adam’s gift to all men to your advantage, too. Got a husband? Boyfriend? Better yet, a son or two? Give them carte blanche permission to pee on the compost pile. Direct that natural ability (and, dare I say, inclination) for outdoor pee marksmanship towards something good for your garden.

    But don’t let the guys have all the fun. You’ll notice that most of the techniques for applying urine as a fertilizer call for dilution anyway, which means a watering can or container is going to be involved. Most women with regular access to lady-specific medical care have had plenty of practice peeing in cups – put that experience to use, for the good of your garden.

    Do you already pee on the compost, or does the very idea of pee-cycling leave you pissed!?

  4. #4


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