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Human urine as garden fertilizer

As a gardener and prepper who strives to be ready to become self sufficient if necessary, fertilization after the SHTF is a concern of mine. I address this in several ways, such as large compost piles and having farm animals, as their aged manure makes fine fertilizer. I also plan to grow companion plants, such as the 3 sisters to help address the issues of fertilization & water retention in the soil. Wonder how many folks have prepared to collect their urine during a crisis? Urine is full of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, which are the nutrients plants need to thrive–and the main ingredients in common mineral fertilizers. It is in liquid form which also helps the plants with hydration. Unlike feces (human or animal), which can carry bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, urine from healthy folks poses no health risks as it is practically sterile when it is eliminated from the body. When dying of thirst, one can actually drink their own urine to survive.

We all pee around 150 gallons per year… beer drinkers more.   If say you are in a survival group of 10 people, that is 1500 gallons of premium fertilizer that could help y’all survive. Just wanted to pass this info on for you survival gardeners that might have never considered this source of fertilizer.  Most of us store foods in 5-6 gallon plastic pails.  Once empty, you can attach a toilet seat with lid for females to contribute.  I keep two in stock.

toilet lid

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  • Comments (16)

    • 5

      Yes, I use urine as a fertilizer. It’s not nearly as gross as you might think. People happily buy Miracle-Gro to spray on their garden, and it’s crystalized horse urine. Just make sure you dilute it because pure urine will burn your plants (it’s great for breaking down compost, though).

      I actually keep a tub of rainwater, urine, decomposing weeds, and other stuff that I use as a foliar feeder. I’m hoping to write about it soon.

      We recently wrote about a 12-bed experiment to see which fertilizers work best. The urine performed pretty poorly, but likely due to not enough used and heavy rains. You really need some organic matter in the soil to get the most out of it.

      https://theprepared.com/blog/david-the-good-and-steve-solomons-test-to-see-which-fertilizer-works-best/

      • 3

        You know, I’ve heard that straight urine will burn plants many times but my experience, and living out in the country I have lots of experience of peeing outside, tells me that is not true.  I’ve tested this many times and never once have I harmed a garden plant or killed the grass.  Granted, I would never do this to a tender young plant, but I’ve never harmed a mature one.  Some folks like to point out the dead grass in a dog’s yard, but once again with 9 dogs, I have lots of experience here too.  I’ve never had a single patch of dead or hurt grass in my backyard.  My experience is, you only get that when the dogs repeatedly go on the same spot… where they are covering another dog’s scent.  My dogs do that some and yet, no dead spots.  For that to happen, IMO, would require lots of repeat visits.

      • 2

        Have yall ever seen a legit experiment around this? Kind of like the recent fertilizer faceoff https://theprepared.com/blog/david-the-good-and-steve-solomons-test-to-see-which-fertilizer-works-best/

      • 3

        I haven’t but I know urine makes a good fertilizer.  But keep in mind, it is not a soil additive, such as compost.  In poor soil, any liquid fertilizer will do poorly, as it is limited in the compounds it delivers.  However in good soil, where the plants need a boost of N, P & K, then it does fine.  IMO, most folks that use it are too cautious & fail to provide enough or dilute too much.  Next time you are in your garden, give one plant a good 100% dose & see if it harms the plant.

      • 3

        “give one plant a good 100% dose”

        If I’m ever arrested for peeing in public, this will be my defense! “But officer… I’m doing science!”

      • 3

        Ha.  Now keep in mind, I do live way out in the country.  I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that test in a subdivision.  🙂

    • 4

      Redneck, can you amplify on someone drinking one’s own urine to survive due lack of water ?

      Does not the urine dehydrate more ?

    • 4

      Redneck – Could you tell me more about your compost piles? Do you just have large piles in the corner of your farm? 

      I’ve seen people compost in 5 gallon buckets, big rotating 55 gallon drums, and then just the large piles. I’d think that you’d need the large piles to do anything worth doing as the others probably just don’t produce enough.

      What do you add to your compost piles? How long does it take to turn into compost? What’s the science/ratios behind your compost?

      I think adding urine to compost is a great idea, but I agree with you that staying clear of feces is probably best to not get sick.

      • 5

        I have a large, fenced in bin in my backyard, adjacent to the garden and my drive down to the lower pastures.  I can throw stuff in directly from the garden or can toss stuff in as I drive down to the horses.  I use the simple, but slow cold method of composting, where I just throw the material in there and let it decompose naturally.  We get plenty of rain to keep it moist.  I’m just too lazy to turn it & spray it to speed things up.  It is mainly fed by material from the garden & household scraps.  I sometimes add the chicken poop, especially if I’ve added say shavings from the horse stalls.  Everything from the garden goes in there… even all the corn stalks.  Every fall, when the garden is cleaned out, I then top off the pile using bags of leaves that others rake & put their bags on the curb.  I can get those in Memphis, when I visit, but mostly my son & his wife bring their leaves from their house in town.  Me… I don’t rake a single leaf.  🙂

        Feces, such as chicken & horse poop are fine to use however you have to let them decompose fully.  You can’t get in a hurry.  I don’t use any of my compost as I don’t need it now.  So I just let the pile get deeper & deeper to be used during a crisis.  At such a time, I would ramp up the amount added greatly.  Most stuff is broken down within 6 months or so.

      • 3

        Thanks for your response. Seems like you’ll have some good fertilizer if you ever needed to use it.

    • 5

      When I lived in a house with a large garden, I would have a bale of straw by the gate and encourage my son and his friends to pee on it. After a few weeks of sprinkling I would dump it on the compost heap and turn it in. It made fantastic compost accelerator.

    • 2

      what is in a german honey wagon?

      • 1

        Hi Phil, what do you mean by german honey wagon? I’m not familiar with that term.

    • 2

      I recently read that human urine can deter pests from a garden also.