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Re: urine as a source of nitrogen
I have been using urine for about 20 years. No problem yet.
Joe's Humanure Book is very well researched. So well that any litte detail
that could be relevant is included. It is possible to pass diseases from
urine but in most cases highly unlikely. If your urinary tract, and or that
of your friends and family, is riddled with disease, by all means use the
urine in a hot compost pile that needs the moisture. (Do not add it to a
composting toilet.) Or piss in the woods.
Because it is so well researched, we distribute Joe's book. However he is a
bit of a priss when it comes to urine. How anyone who handles shit from
himself, friends and family day after day could be put off by a little piss
is anyone's guess. Well, diversity is the name of the game. (I'm going to
blind CC this note to him--presumably he will take it in the spirit of the
The Chinese have been adding urine to gardens for years. Their numbers have
not exactly been reduced to a straggling few by the consequent plague.
Urine is not merely a source of N but also K and trace minerals. Strangely,
it contains little P. Once an element gets into your system (as opposed to
just taking the convoluted tunnel that you are wrapped around), urine is its
primary mode of egress. A secondary mode is sweat, if you do that a lot,
mensus in breeding-age females, and very minor modes of sloughing off skin,
hair, nails and I suppose the random dismemberment. However the liver-to
kidneys-to bladder system is the only mechanism for principally disposing of
used and undesirable materials.
An aside here--maybe someone with training in physiology can help me here.
What happens to the phosphorous. Is it consumed in the continuing
conversion of cartiledge to bone and in the stiffening of bones themselves?
In that case, can reduction of P in diet help limit osteopoisis? As I said,
this is aside the point but an interesting avenue of questioning, I think.
Regarding rates of dilution, that is real arbitrary. 10:1 is nominal. I
use much greater rates in transplanting seedlings and even in potting up
fairly developed young trees. I've spoken to people who use urine straight
up, as it were, on onions as I have with celery. My observation, though, is
that in dry weather, additional irrigation is required when using urine,
presumably because its salinity creates osmotic pressure in the wrong
direction. On the other hand, I find it quite practical to walk between rows
with inverted urine jugs during a rain storm. Rate of dilution? --depends
on how much it happens to rain.
Generally, urine fertilization works best in highly organic soils and very
best in deep mulch which has had its capacity to bind to the fertility
factors in the urine developed by gradual increases in doses.
We have a special soils issue of our publicaton THE INTERNATIONAL
PERMACULTURE SOLUTIONS JOURNAL that covers all major gardening methods
suitable in permaculture. Email me for details. Other than that, I'm off
this topic for a while.
For Mother Earth, Dan Hemenway, Yankee Permaculture Publications (since
1982), Elfin Permaculture workshops, lectures, Permaculture Design Courses,
consulting and permaculture designs (since 1981), and now correspondence
courses via email. Internships available. Copyright, 1997, Dan & Cynthia
Hemenway, P.O. Box 2052, Ocala FL 34478 USA YankeePerm@aol.com
We don't have time to rush