Urine, Nature's Free Plant Fertilizer

Sellers of pre-packaged fertilizer would rather you didn’t know but human urine has been used since ancient times as a plant fertilizer. It contains loads of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which is good for plants. Best of all, it’s free. Make sure to dilute it with at least 10 parts water to 1 part urine, or risk burning the roots of some plants. A report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that using human urine as fertilizer didn’t change the nutritional content or the flavor of cabbages on which it was used.

Human Urine As A Safe, Inexpensive Fertilizer For Food Crops [Science Daily]
Urine [Wikipedia]
(Photo: rhys400D)

Comments

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  1. nrfx01 says:

    That sounds pretty Eew, but then they say urine is sterile… right?

  2. ThomFabian says:

    I’m guessing you got the diluting part backwards. 10 parts h20 to 1 part pee, not vice versa.

  3. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    Soooo…..

    If you eat asparagus, and then go outside and pee on the asparagus in the garden…

    What will the next batch of asparagus do?

  4. topgun says:

    I think it would be best to use it on peanuts & peas.

  5. warf0x0r says:

    Wow… slow news day.

  6. TVarmy says:

    @ThomFabian: I agree, that’s hardly diluted if it that’s what it is supposed to be. I’d imagine drinking a bottle of water would probably be enough to shift it that little.

    So, I guess the dead spots on the lawn where dogs have peed would not be there if the urine was diluted? Is this universal for most plants?

  7. ChrisC1234 says:

    Yeah, I already knew that. One summer, my family lived at my grandparents’ house (ours had flooded and was being repaired). My siblings and I noticed some bright green patches in the back yard next to the carport. Somehow, we found out that my dad was lazy and when he was outside smoking, would just pee from the carport into the grass, fertilizing small patches of grass.

  8. Anonymous says:

    hmm. chong was right

  9. Anonymous says:

    i should start diluting and bottling my urine before someone else beats me to it and makes a million.

  10. ShadeWalker says:

    is that why plants flourish on the sides of buildings?

  11. redstarr says:

    I grew up in the country where septic tanks were common,and if you per chance didn’t know where the tank was in your yard, you could just look for where the grass was the most green and lush. I think it was Erma Bombeck that said “The grass is always greenest over the septic tank.”

  12. mandarin says:

    You need an article just to say that pee is a fertilizer? 5 year old kids know this already!

  13. jwarner132 says:

    I know canine urine isn’t good for grass. There’s a spot in my parents’ yard where the dogs always pee and the grass is either yellow or completely dead there.

  14. thewriteguy says:

    Cabbage already smells like urine.

  15. Anonymous says:

    i wonder if it makes a difference if you on meds?

  16. MercuryPDX says:

    @TVarmy: So, I guess the dead spots on the lawn where dogs have peed would not be there if the urine was diluted?

    I don’t think a one-time pee on one spot will kill the grass. My dog uses the same two spots all the time, so the nitrogen buildup in that area is what kills the grass.

  17. BelBivDevolkswagen says:

    Pee is good for plants and yet public urination is still illegal…

  18. Anonymous says:

    So, going by what I’ve learned from movies, morning talk shows, and random blog entries: I can drink my pee, use it as a facial wash, treat jellyfish stings with it, and now fertilize my lawn with it. Thank god I’ve been storing it in jars for all this time. I knew it pay off eventually.

  19. RhymePhile says:

    @ BelBivDevolkswagen: Pee is good for plants and yet public urination is still illegal…

    You try walking around a New York City street in the middle of August and wonder about that…

  20. scoopy says:

    In other news, a recent study conculeded that taking a dump on a plant is even better for it than peeing on it. Findings show that this benefit is doubled if it is a houseplant.

  21. Womblebug says:

    @Kanti: Plus, from Mythbusters, you can clean bloodstains from your clothes with it, too! Hurray for pee!

    This is the same science as using fistank water to water your plants. The waste products and ooky bits are wonderful for plants. As for the dog spots, if you wanted to be vigilant, you could follow your dog around and water the spots where he did his business to dilute the urine, and the lawn would love it. Of course, living in Georgia, the drought means I have no grass, and the dog pee matters not.

  22. Holly says:

    @Kanti: Let’s not forget using it as a way to get sea urchin spines out of your hand if you accidentally impale yourself on it.

  23. wring says:

    my dearly departed grandma used to do this. Her orchid garden smelled of urine. At least the flowers were pretty :P

  24. Anonymous says:

    Let me get this straight. I have to wash my hands after urinating in public bathrooms but I can pee on my garden cabbage and serve it to guests?

  25. lincolnparadox says:

    While the nitrogen content of urine is probably more than adequate at a 1:10 dilution, some plants might need a bit more phosphorous and potassium than we tend to pee out.

    I guess what I’m saying is for plants that aren’t picky (like your lawn) this would work great. I wouldn’t necessarily rely on it for fruit plants.

    And remember, urine comes out of your body sterile. The bacteria it picks up along the way are what make it “not sterile.” To solve this, freeze your pee for long-term storage. I suggest two (double-bagged) ziploc freezer bags.

  26. @TVarmy: “So, I guess the dead spots on the lawn where dogs have peed would not be there if the urine was diluted? Is this universal for most plants?”

    Depends on what’s in the urine and how sensitive the plant is. To go to poop for a second, chicken poop is chock-full of nitrogen and a fantastic fertilizer, but if you let the chickens wander around the same part of your yard for a couple months, they’ll kill all the grass … from nitrogen burn.

    Urine works the same way. Different species with different diets and digestive systems have different urine chemical makeup. And then it depends on concentration, repetition, etc.

  27. ptkdude says:

    And I shall never eat cabbage again.

  28. Morton Fox says:

    My parents did that back in the old country. I don’t think the dilution factor was 10:1 — more like 3:1 or 4:1 — but everything grew really well out in the yard.

  29. alhypo says:

    Hmmm…. how can I pipe my sewage into the sprinkler system?

  30. MrEvil says:

    My family that lives out in the country has cesspools on their property. The grass and trees are the healthiest plants on the place. In fact, a couple times the trees have torn up sewer mains to the cesspool trying to get at the waste.

    But yes, Urine has no microbes in it when it comes out of your body. It’s excess electrolytes and water. There’s other chemicals in there too like Urea and Ammonia.

    Which brings a good point, Farmers still use Anyhydrous ammonia to fertilize their fields prior to planting.

  31. BugMeNot2 says:

    I just knew there was something righteous about peeing my neighbor’s garden.

  32. myuu says:

    We were really poor growing up and my grandma would babysit my brother and I along with our cousins all at once. She always forced us to pee in her garden, the areas I pissed in always grew better. Anyways, good times, good times!

  33. somecop says:

    “Make sure to dilute it with at least 10 parts water to 1 part urine”

    I’m 8 beers in. I’ve already got it pre-mixed and ready to go. No need for water.

  34. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    This keeps deer away too!

    I hate that I know that.

  35. SexCpotatoes says:

    You could make MILLIONS if you could round up all the “trucker bombs” out there, and sell them as concentrated fertilizer mix.