Home All Things Gardening Can we use Urine as Fertilizer?

Can we use Urine as Fertilizer?

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This may sound yucky but is it really possible to use urine to fertilize our plants? Will it pose any danger to our health? Let’s find out!

Wikipedia defined urine as “a liquid by-product of metabolism in the bodies of many animals, including humans. It is expelled from the kidneys and flows through the ureters to the urinary bladder, from which it is soon excreted from the body through the urethra during urination.”

“plant biomass was highest in the combined sand, peat, and dolomite substrate and generally higher when P was supplied from the urine recovered nutrients.” – Göteborg University in Sweden

In a 2005 study conducted by Göteborg University in Sweden, they found out that the nitrogen level in urine is high as well as other nutrient elements.  They evaluated the recycling of nutrients excreted in urine from urban areas as a method of ecologically sustainable development. According to the study, straight urine has an NPK value of 18-2-5 while those flushed with water has 15-1-3. They also found out that it has macro and micro nutrient essentials for plant growth including copper, zinc, chromium, nickel, among others. The study further concluded that the “plant biomass was highest in the combined sand, peat, and dolomite substrate and generally higher when P was supplied from the urine recovered nutrients.”

Urine’s pH is from 4.6 to 8 and soil has sufficient buffering capacity to avoid a change in the pH.

Therefore, based on the above, urine has a value of fertilizer and is unlikely to change the pH of your soil. It is possible to use urine as fertilizer but the question is will it pose danger to our health? Urine may contain harmful bacteria? Let’s find out more!

In a study conducted by Evann E. Hilt, et al. in 2014 entitled “Urine is Hot Sterile: Use of Enhanced Urine Culture Techniques to Detect Residential Bacterial Flora in the Adult Female Bladder”, they found out that urine contains communities of living bacteria. But these varieties of bacteria do not cause illness and these are the same bacteria that live in our skins.

“Urine, when compared to other fluids in the body, is relatively sterile. There is no known risk of HIV transmission through contact with urine in or on your body. ” – Dr. Ryan M. Kull, CSW, Columbian University’s Health and Related Services

How about urine from people with HIV+? Based on various studies on HIV/AIDS, this disease is not spread through urine but through blood, semen or seminal fluid, vaginal and cervical secretion. According to Dr. Ryan M. Kull, CSW, of Columbian University’s Health and Related Services, “Urine, when compared to other fluids in the body, is relatively sterile. There is no known risk of HIV transmission through contact with urine in or on your body.”

Based on these studies, it was proven that urine can be used as fertilizer and there are no dangers to human health. But is there someone who tried to actually use urine as fertilizer? In an experiment conducted by Dr. Mercola with beets, they found out that “the beets fertilized with urine were 10% larger, and those fertilized with urine with ash were 27% larger than those grown in mineral fertilizer. As for the nutrient content, all the beets were similar, and in a blind taste test the beets were rated as equally flavorful.”

“the beets fertilized with urine were 10% larger, and those fertilized with urine with ash were 27% larger than those grown in mineral fertilizer. As for the nutrient content, all the beets were similar, and in a blind taste test the beets were rated as equally flavorful.” – Dr. Mercola

There you are! Researchers found out that urine has a very good potential source of fertilizer, cheap and readily available but take note that urine is high in salt and it needs to be properly diluted. Save that urine and happy planting!

BONUS: Urine Recipe for Fertilizer

  • Recipe 1: Watered-Down Urine

Dilute urine with 8 to 10 parts water and apply it to the soil.

  • Recipe 2:  Composted Urine

Being high in nitrogen, urine is considered as “green” so add plenty of carbon-rich materials, like leaves, sawdust, straw, and cardboard.

  • Recipe 3: Urine in Straw bale

Urinate directly on straw bale and use the straw bale in your compost bin.

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