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You want me to do what with my wee??

Gosh there is so much to learn about trying to cut down on our negative impact on the planet. I am reading a fascinating book but I will get to that in another blog post. Last night when researching grey water and what kind of detergents are grey water safe I came across liquid gold and it was too good not to share. So the grey water discoveries will also have to wait for a new blog post.

To start with there are a few things you need to know:

– Fertilizer has 3 basic ingredience (NPK) Nitrogen (N) for stem and leaf development, Phosphorus (P) which helps root development and flower and fruit production and Potassium (K) which is good for all round plant health and resistance to disease.

– Human Urine has these same 3 ingredients – you can see where I am going with this can’t you.

– On average a person pees 4-5 times a day. Each time the toilet is flushed it uses about 8 Liters per flush, that is 40 liters a day of fresh drinking water, per person per day!

– This water goes into the sewage system where the process to make water safe to drink again involves chemical treatment and separation.

– fresh human urine is sterile and free from bacteria. In fact it is so sterile that you can drink it when it is fresh but lets not got there okay. When urine gets older than 24 hours the urea turns to ammonia which causes the wee smell.

Yes you guessed it human urine is clean and makes great free fertilizer and it saves water in the process.

How to use it:

If you have external genitaila (a penis) you can pee outside in the garden. I am lead to believe that it is a ritual amongst boys and dare I say men to ‘water’ the garden. A girlfriends parent’s house is apparently a big bonus and is usually done when drunk, but maybe I just had odd friends when I was at Varsity.Back to the point, direct peeing can be done on well established trees, and the lawn or compost heap. Just make sure that you move your love around. Just like the grass can go brown if your dog pees in the same spot all the time, the same is true for human urine. This is due to the salt content.

If you don’t have dangly bits or prefer not to pee outside then a glass jar in the bathroom can serve to collect urine. After reading about this last night I pee’ed in a coffee jar over night and poured it out on the compost heap this morning.

Neat urine is a bit strong for plants and should not be put on the leaves, you want to dilute it about 8 to 1 or 10 to 1 and then water at the base of the pants or into a direct water bottle if you have one.

Everyone in our house now has to pee in the garden and strangely enough The Geek seems to be the most reluctant. Maybe I should get one of those female urine funnel (she wee) things so I can pee outside too because the squatting and peeing on my feet thing is just never going to happen.

The science:

2007 Washington Post, they followed a study in which human urine was used to fertilize cabbage (cabbage was chosen because it requires a lot of nitrogen for strong growth). The study found that the cabbages fertilized with human urine were larger at harvest, grew to their maximum size more quickly, and suffered less insect damage than cabbages grown with conventional fertilizers.

From The Washington Post, October 8, 2007:
“Urine is “a good natural nitrogen containing substance and probably could be easily utilized” as a fertilizer, said Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University Medical Center, New York City. “There’s nothing wrong with using it,” Tierno said. He added that there is little risk of contamination by urine-borne pathogens, because they would be in competition with microorganisms found in the soil and would “probably lose the battle. Urine is actually a relatively clean substance.” Tierno is the author of the book The Secret Life of Germs.

During a pee, a healthy adult will release 11g nitrogen/urea, 1g phosphorus/super-phosphate and 2.5g potassium. Patrick Makhosi, a soil scientist with Uganda’s Kawanda Agricultural Research Organisation, confirms the efficacy of human urine as a fertiliser. He says that applying urine to growing vegetables once every week for at least two months will more than double the yield.

In one year, the average human being produces enough urine to fertilize 6,300 tomato plants which would produce 2.41 tons of tomato fruits in just one season. – ABC News Technology & Science column, Sept 9, 2009

Some additional reading it you are keen:

Science Daily
Big Blog of Gardening
Liquid Gold Book

And finally over to you

what do you think?
Is it gross?
Would you do it?
Have you done it?
Are you going to try now you know how cool your humble wee is? seems a waste to flush it.