One of the things that we've been meaning to do here in the Green Tech Chicago blog is to bring interesting info to your attention that we've seen out on the web. Sometimes these will be “wow, that's amazing” sorts of things, and sometime it will be “Huh?” sorts of things, and today's feature is pretty clearly one of the latter!
This story comes from Northwest Edible Life, and offers up suggestions for ”How To Use Pee In Your Garden”. Seriously.
If you can get over the ewwww factor, pee-cycling your own urine into the garden makes good sense. Fresh urine is high in nitrogen, moderate in phosphorus and low in potassium and can act as an excellent high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer or as a compost accelerator.
I guess this shouldn't sound so weird, after all, there are composting toilets out there (some with cool solar arrays on their tanks to power lights and stuff – like the ones the park service has installed in various sites in the Southwest), but, being in the compost biz, it made me scratch my head and wonder if we were missing something!
To be fair, the article is both quite humorous and informative, giving a breakdown of what useful nutrients are in urine, and noting how remarkably wasteful our society's toilet habits are in terms of processing it (there are some fascinating quotes from other studies/articles in the piece, but I'll let you click through to get them in context).
You will never find a more easy-to-acquire, cheaper source of fast acting nitrogen.
The article also goes into quite a lot of detail on the “how” aspects of using urine in one's garden, with ideal dilution levels for different plants, growing zones, soil types, etc.
Perhaps most amusing is the part about adding it – fresh – to one's compost pile, mulch, or straw bales (all of which could use the “high-nitrogen fertilizer”). You can imagine, I'm sure ... and the author (Erica Strauss) isn't overly delicate with “going there” about, well, “going there”, and even offers suggestions for ways the distaff gardener can get in on the “fun”.
This might not be something that you're going to actually implement, but the article raises some very interesting issues, provides some great data points, and is a hoot, so do go give it a read!
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Filed under: Green Tech Articles