Pee in the Compost

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If You Love Me, You’ll Pee in the Compost

My family puts up with some very odd requests from me, but this one takes the cake. I’ll be honest, my boys were happy to oblige. It’s not often they are granted permission to pee outdoors since we live in a fairly populated area. The husband and the daughter were a harder sell. I don’t think I’ve won them over yet. It’s okay though, because every drop helps.

Urine (aka: pee) contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are essential in plant health. If you include wood ash in your compost, you've replicated most commercial fertilizers.

Why do I want them to pee in the compost?

According to an article by National Geographic, scientists believe they can turn human urine into liquid gold for gardens. It’s rich in nitrogen and it’s, of course, free. As someone who is both thrifty and chemical-conscientious, peeing in the compost seems like a winner to me. As a pregnant woman, I am happy to make contributions to the garden 20+ times a day. What is amazing is that researchers calculate that each individual produces enough urine to fertilize enough vegetable plants for one person. How cool is that?!

The Effects of Pee on Compost & Gardens

In addition to the obvious nitrogen, human urine also contains phosphorus and potassium, which are essential in plant health. If you include wood ash in your compost, you’ve replicated most commercial fertilizers without the harmful chemicals. A study done with beets showed that beets fertilized with straight urine were 10% larger than unfertilized beets, and beets fertilized with urine and wood ash were 27% larger. A blind taste test was performed (after a good cleaning) and the beets described as very flavorful.

Urine (aka: pee) contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are essential in plant health. If you include wood ash in your compost, you've replicated most commercial fertilizers.

A side-by-side comparison of basil plants. The ones on the right were fertilized with diluted urine. Their color is richer and the plant has grown faster than the one on the left.

When added to the compost bin, undiluted human urine reduces the time it takes for carbons to break down and increases the nutrient values in the completed compost. To add pee right to your garden, instead of to your compost bin, be sure to dilute to a 10:1 ratio. Urine can be collected in mason jars, or if you are coordinated (or male) you can pee straight into the bin.

You may also enjoy  Seed Saving 101 - An Encyclopedia of Seed Saving

Know Your Pee

Although sterile, urine can pose some minor risks, so it’s important to know where your pee is coming from. Certain medications can be found in trace amounts in the urine. Most researchers agree that the amounts are so minimal as to be inconsequential, but I’d err on the side of caution and collect pee from those you know and love.

Some Bathroom Reading Material (I couldn’t help myself)

Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants by Carol Steinfeld
Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living by Rachel Kaplan and Ruby Blume
The Urban Food Revolution: Changing the Way We Feed Cities by Peter Ladner
Teaming with Nutrients: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to Optimizing Plant Nutrition by Jeff Lowenfels
The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach by Ben Falk

Join the peecycling revolution and add urine to your compost bin. Your vegetable gardens will thank you for it.

Urine (aka: pee) contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which are essential in plant health. If you include wood ash in your compost, you've replicated most commercial fertilizers.

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I am a non-traditional homesteader. What is a non-traditional homesteader? I'd like to think we are the people who don't fit the mold. I am a busy mom on a small bit of property with not a lot of financial resources, but I am figuring out how to live the life I want. A homesteader's life.

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About Jessica Lane

I am a non-traditional homesteader. What is a non-traditional homesteader? I'd like to think we are the people who don't fit the mold. I am a busy mom on a small bit of property with not a lot of financial resources, but I am figuring out how to live the life I want. A homesteader's life.

Comments

Pee in the Compost — 23 Comments

  1. I already pee in the back yard frequently. I just have to change the location. Also every time I do not have to flush a toilet. Yeehah saves on the water bill and the carbon footprint.

  2. I save the leaves from dozens of trees each fall and pile them into a bin. I save my urine in the garage all winter and add it to the pile in spring. Each day I add a bit to it. Come each fall again I have the best, richest compost you can imagine… all for free.

  3. Anytime I am in my greenhouse in which I use fish to provide fertilizer for my plants, I pee in the fish tank. Why do you think they call it aq-pee-ponics?

  4. Oh this is great and definitely something I’m going to have to remember. I’m thinking my urine would not be acceptable as I take several medications to deal with medical issues, but I might be able to convince my very healthy nephews…. it is after all for the good of the garden 😉
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. My son-in-law’s buddies tend to pee in the far corner of the backyard (at night) instead of coming into the house to use the toilet. It has always driven me crazy! I’m not sure whether I can convince them to pee in the compost pile on the other side of the garden or not, but I’ll think about it! Either way, this gave me a giggle! – Fawn

  6. Great article! I’ve read about urine collection and the breakdown of ammonia to nitrates for gardening & fertilizer, but have never made the connection to just pee in the compost. All this time I’ve been peeing in the yard, I now have a mission and purpose for my urine! I love it, thank you!

  7. You’re so blessed! My son refuses to pee outside unless he’s bursting and we’re in the middle of nowhere. He’s not much of an outdoor personality and value his modesty – type 2 energy/blue on the color code thing. Anyway, may you enjoy great success with them demonstrating their love for you and their garden! 🙂

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