Did You Know? Free Fertilizer

Today’s post may seem a bit obscene to some people but I think it’s a great way to use a waste product and it’s free fertilizer. This free fertilizer is urine. Yep, good ole pee. (I’m glad my 6 year old son doesn’t read these posts or he’d be repeating that incessantly for the next week) Urine is composed primarily of water with the second component being urea. Urea is one of the main ingredients of fertilizers and provides the plant with nitrogen that is needed for foliar growth. With that being said, why not use what God has provided us already?

Let me throw out a few disclaimers here:

  1. Don’t use your urine if you are suffering from any illness. The last thing you want is for your soil and plants to be exposed to pathogens.
  2. Don’t use your urine as fertilizer on plants that you’ll be eating the greens from. Skip the lettuce, cabbage, spinach, etc. and instead focus on veggies like tomatoes and peppers.
  3. If you are growing your veggies in containers, dilute the urine before watering your plants. I can tell you from personal experience that you can quickly burn the roots of your plants if you don’t.



free fertilizer
If your pepper plants look like this, consider giving them some free fertilizer

Speaking of burning your plants, it seems that men’s urine is much more potent than females. If your plants are in the ground and being watered on a regular basis, you shouldn’t need to dilute it first. If you live in an area with little precipitation, consider diluting it as the urine will act like a regular fertilizer and the salts can build up quickly in the soil. Also, don’t “fertilize” your plants every day; fertilize a couple of times and observe them for a few days. The urea is quickly absorbed by the plants and you should see results within a few days. If your plants still haven’t greened up after 3 days or so, give them another shot of fertilizer (pun intended) and wait for results.

I can’t think of a better way to get your son to help you in the garden. What boy doesn’t like to do his business outside? I know that mine does. An added benefit of using urine as free fertilizer is that it can help deter deer…for a while anyway. So, have you used free fertilizer in your garden? What kind of results have you had? Leave me a comment below or e-mail me your results. If you enjoy being part of the Mid-Atlantic Gardening community, join our e-mail list (upper right hand corner of this page), become a fan on Facebook and follow me at Twitter. Happy gardening!

June 18, 2012Permalink 3 Comments

3 thoughts on “Did You Know? Free Fertilizer

  1. LOL

    It’s also a great way to heat up a cold compost pile..but oh the looks you get when you actually say that in a conversation.

    It gets better.

    Guest: “Where’s your bathroom”
    Me: “Through the kitchen, on the right.”
    Guest (moments later): “What’s with the wooden box?”
    Me: “Um. Well. Our septic tank doesn’t work well so we try not to use it. Our guests are certainly free to choose but we use the box.”
    Guest: “…the…box?”
    Me: “Yeah. It’s a humanure toilet. A lovable loo. Do whatever, put whatever in the bucket and cover with sawdust. No big deal.”
    Guest: “Then what do you do with it?”
    Me: “We compost it for 1-2 years at high temperature along with a big pile of chicken guts then we spread it on the alfalfa field. What do you do with yours?”
    Guest: “Um. We…flush it. It just goes away.”
    Me: “No, it doesn’t just go away.”

  2. Do you all really use a composting toilet? I’ve heard lots about them…mostly with good results. You say in your blog that you want to increase the amount of people that visit the farm. Are you sure about that? lol

    • In fact, we were thinking about setting up an outhouse on skids for warm weather visitors. We would catch rainwater for washing hands, use a bio-safe soap (like Dr. Bronners) and let the sink drain to the ground outside. We’ll keep a bucket inside with plenty of fresh sawdust.

      We were very skeptical to begin with but we’ve been using it long enough that we’re sold on it. We started by just putting it in the barn so we had an option while we were working out there. You just have to keep the raccoons from running away with the tp.

      You won’t regret buying a few tons of fresh sawdust. You’ll use it somewhere. Build a box, put a bucket in it, a seat on it and give it a try. Everything goes in…but you may want to switch to more compost-friendly feminine hygene products or you’ll find plastic bits in a couple of years. I’m finished with that conversation.

      We use a bucket per person per week.

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