How To Use Pee In Your Garden

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.

How To Use Pee In Your Garden

Components of Urine

The exact breakdown of urine varies depending on the diet of the pee-maker. The more protein a person consumes, the more nitrogen will be excreted into the urine. Typical Western Diet pee has an NPK ratio of about 11-1-2. In comparison, blood meal is 12-2-1 and cottonseed meal is 7-2-2.

Urine also contains salt – sometimes quite a lot of it if you are hopped up on a diet of canned soup and french fries. Because of both the salt and high nitrogen levels, urine should generally be diluted 10:1 before use on garden crops. Greater dilution – 20:1 or more – is appropriate for more tender plants, seedlings and potted plants which are more susceptible to salt build up.

Keep in mind that areas with a lot of rain (Seattle!) tend to leach salts out of the soil, so salt build up is something gardeners in arid climates should be more concerned about.

Fresh pee can have a pH anywhere from 5 to 9 depending on a person’s diet, but it tends to move toward neutral as it ages and breaks down when applied outside. I would not personally worry too much about the variable pH of urine for garden use.

Safety Issues

In a healthy person, urine is sterile. In someone with decent hygiene and wiping technique, it should more-or-less stay that way as it leaves the body. Cross contamination with fecal matter (health risk!) can be a concern, so perfect your front-to-back TP technique if you are going to pee-cycle.

If you are on medication, don’t fertilize with your pee. If you have a UTI or other infection or – well, let’s just say anything funky going on in or around your pee-hole – your urine is not fit for garden use.

Grossness Issues

Assuming the safety issues are satisfactorily addressed, then the grossness issue is cultural programing and you should think about if it’s programming you want to keep in your brain. Most gardeners, after all, are pleased as punch to get ahold of a big load of cow poop for their garden, and that fertilizer has a far greater chance of spreading harmful pathogens than pee.

Here’s a few other things to think about:

“Urine accounts for only 1% of the total volume of wastewater, but it contains up to 80% of all the nutrients.”
-Science Daily

A typical toilet flusher wastes “up to 22 liters of drinkable water every day, one three- to six-liter flush at a time. What follows…is the long and costly process of sanitizing the water that was clean before you answered nature’s call. Using so much water per flush unnecessarily increases the volume of our waste and the cost of its transportation and treatment, ecologists say….The process also leaves a huge carbon footprint.”
-Time Magazine

Basically, the environmental and financial cost to piss in a bunch of drinking-quality water and then process it back into drinking water is huge. Separating urine from solid waste – through direct pee-cycling or urine-separating toilets – could go a long way to offset this cost by reducing the burden on wastewater treatment programs.

If the tree-hugger eco stuff doesn’t move you to action, consider the cost of a bag of blood meal. Now consider the cost of your pee. You will never find a more easy-to-acquire, cheaper source of fast acting nitrogen.

Basic courtesy is to not apply urine to those parts of the plant that will be consumed (i.e., as a foliar feed for spinach). Even so, if pee-cycled fertilizer on food crops just grosses you out, consider using this resource on fruit trees, perennials, and ornamental plantings, including your nitrogen-lovin’ lawn, instead.

5 Ways To Use Pee In The Garden

Okay, I’ve convinced you! You are ready to drop trou’ and add your liquid gold deposit to your garden. But how do you pee in the garden in the most effective way (and without getting arrested for indecent exposure in the process!)?

1. Compost Accelerator
Is your compost pile cold? A little long on carbon and low on nitrogen? Pee, poured or – ahem – directly deposited – on the pile can start to speed things up and add moisture. If you are nervous about using urine directly on your plants, incorporating urine into a compost pile is the way to go.

2. Dilution is The Solution
Dilute fresh urine at a 4:1 ratio and apply to the root-zone of corn every two weeks or as needed. (Some people say corn, being a grass, can handle fertilization with straight urine. Proceed with caution.)
Dilute fresh urine at a 10:1 ratio and apply to the root-zone of fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, or to leafy crops like cabbage, broccoli, spinach and lettuce every two weeks or as needed.
Dilute fresh urine at a 20:1 ratio and water in to the root zone of seedlings and new transplants.

3. The Straw Bale Sprinkle
When Straw Bales are used for gardening, they must be “conditioned” or partially broken down / composted before use. This is accomplished with the addition of a very high nitrogen fertilizer. Guess which free, Bud Lite-hued high-nitrogen fertilizer I’d recommend?

4. Deep Mulch Direct Application
If you thickly mulch your woody perennials, cane fruit and fruit trees with a high-carbon material like leaves or woodchips, you can apply your urine straight onto the mulch, which will absorb and moderate the straight shot of nitrogen in your pee.

5. That Asparagus Smell!
If asparagus makes your pee smell funny, take revenge and pee on your asparagus! Nutrient hungry, deep rooted, perennial and salt-tolerant, asparagus might be the ideal crop to fertilize with pee. If you grow your asparagus under a thick layer of carbonaceous mulch, like straw or wood chips, use the Direct Mulch Direct Application technique, otherwise dilute 2:1 if your asparagus is in the sandy soil it prefers, or 4:1 in heavier soil. Apply throughout the growing season, along with a good source of potassium, like bone meal, in the early spring.

Pee-cycling Sexism

So Adam and Eve are standing in the Garden of Eden right after the Creation and God is handing out the last of the talents, qualities and features he has for each of them. He reaches into his bag and pulls out a slip of paper.

Ability to Pee Standing Up,” booms God. “Okay, who wants this one?”

“Oh, pick me!” yells Adam, “Pick me! Peeing while standing up sounds like such a very male thing to do, God. I really think that one has to go to me. Sorry Eve, but I really think I need this one.”

God looks at Eve, who just shrugs. “Sure, if it’s that important to him, give Adam the peeing thing. I don’t really care.”

God hands Adam the slip of paper and says, “Forevermore, Adam, by your choice shall men be endowed with the ability to pee whilst standing.”

Adam grins and God reaches to the very bottom of his bag. “Just one more, and I guess since Adam got Peeing While Standing Up, this last one goes to you, eh, Eve? Let’s see…”

God unfolds his final slip of paper. “Okay, here you go Eve: Multiple Orgasms is all yours.”

{ba-dum-bum}

It is a fact of life that men are better equipped to pee all over things. If you are a male gardener, combine your skills and start marking your veg territory with pride. The Deep Mulch Direct Application method will be simplest if you want to water directly from the hose, so to speak.

Ladies, I highly recommend you use Adam’s gift to all men to your advantage, too. Got a husband? Boyfriend? Better yet, a son or two? Give them carte blanche permission to pee on the compost pile. Direct that natural ability (and, dare I say, inclination) for outdoor pee marksmanship towards something good for your garden.

But don’t let the guys have all the fun. You’ll notice that most of the techniques for applying urine as a fertilizer call for dilution anyway, which means a watering can or container is going to be involved. Most women with regular access to lady-specific medical care have had plenty of practice peeing in cups – put that experience to use, for the good of your garden.

Do you already pee on the compost, or does the very idea of pee-cycling leave you pissed!?

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Giveaway: The Drunken Botanist (Because I Can't Buy All Of You A Drink)

Comments

  1. Wence Dusek says:

    Great post. Thank you. Nice picture too…

  2. Is it bonus points if you drink a bunch of coffee first?

  3. My dogs pee in the garden all the time. Does that help?

    • KL – I notice that when dogs pee, they often pee in the same spot and it kills the grass ( It is probably related to that dilution thing that Erica is talking about.) … I would make sure that they use different parts of the garden (or train it to pee in the compost pile).

      • Yep, I’ve got a burned “ring around the rhodie” because my dog loves to go in that same place all of the time.

        • Traci Caldwell says:

          Female dog urine ruins lawn while male dogs don’t. A grounds keeper told me that once when my male dog peed on the lawn/shrub. Truth to that I don’t know.

  4. JenniferB says:

    I first read about it in an edition of Earth Garden, the Australian alternative lifestyle magazine (started in 1972: http://www.earthgarden.com.au/index.html). Somewhere else I read that you can keep a square metre of vegetable garden fertilised all year with one person’s urine. In any case, I’ve been recycling my urine for a few years now and believe it really works. Also good for compensating for nitrogen depletion caused by using ‘fresh’ mulching plant materials such as chipped branches. Unfortunately it doesn’t do much to keep away 4-legged pests.
    And just this week I have reinstalled my 5 litre plastic bucket with lid (ex-baby nappy bucket) next to the toilet. The season has reopened!

  5. I never never peed in our compost but this is actually useful information. good to know. My 8 yr old will be glad to pee anywhere I tell him too! lol

  6. Max Morgan says:

    I pee in a 1/2 gallon milk jug that I keep in the garage. When it’s full, I add it to one of my compost bins. Easy.

  7. dr. Dave says:

    Piss on it ! Another great article. Are you going to do one on “night soil” ?

  8. I love this post! Thanks. I have only used urine around raised beds and fruit trees to discourage predators–it has worked fairly well, though not perfectly. I can’t wait to start fertilizing with urine, and I’m guessing my two young gardening sons will be thrilled about it, too.

    • Whoops! I meant to write we use our own predator pee so to speak to discourage critters from eating our precious veggies.

  9. I’m not usually one to plug products, but this one has been a game changer for me, and given the post today, I thought it was appropriate. For those of us without the hose for easy direct application, I would recommend this-
    http://www.thepstyle.com/
    Also great for camping, road trips, and nasty porta potties/public bathrooms. It takes a little getting used to at first, but you can practice in the shower first so you don’t end up peeing in your boots.

  10. Samantha M. says:

    My mother always got my father to pee on the lemon tree when it was looking a bit worse for wear. He used to pee along the drip line and the tree would perk right up.

  11. Great post. My lawn, or what passes for it, bears witness to the power of well-placed liquid fertilizer. You can see the tell-tale dark-green spots where Nature’s call has been answered. But I keep forgetting to save the indoors production for use in the garden. Thanks for the timely reminder.

    Here is one more reason: recycle the minerals from your garden/food/supplements.

  12. Okay, I was getting all excited to start peeing in the garden, and then I got to the part about medications. I’m on various types (birth control, allergy medicines, antidepressants). I promise not to pee directly on my plants…but just to confirm, I should avoid the compost pile, too?

    • Well it’s a judgement call. I would definitely avoid pee-cycling while on antibiotics because of the risk to the microbial soil life. The things you mention – allergy meds, BC, AD – I can’t specifically speak to what the risk would be. Honestly, its probably low, but if I were in your situation, I would research how completely the specific meds are metabolized and go from there. If you aren’t sure, it will always be safer to “feed” your pee to a compost pile and get that intermediate breakdown step, than to water plants directly with it.

      • Thanks! Just in case, I texted my fiance to let him know I need him to start peeing in the garden (he’s not on any meds). Not sure how thrilled he is with this new task as I haven’t yet gotten a reply. It’s strange because he’s usually quite prompt.

  13. I just asked Joel Karsten (straw bale gardening) about this yesterday! I asked about using urine for conditioning straw bales. His response:
    “Yes, it does work. Urine is actually quite sterile, and is full of protein. Protein decomposes into ammonia and nitrogen, so is a good source. As too how much, I think if you put on a couple quarts every other day it would take all of that nitrogen easily. You might want to even supplement with a little bit of additional nitrogen like feather meal in addition. The feather meal will break down more slowly and thus provide nutrients for a longer time as the season begins and you plant.”
    Great post. So happy to be able to close the loop!

    • Urine from a healthy individual should NOT have protein in it. Does contain nitrogenous waste products though.

  14. There’s a mason jar in our bathroom during the summer time. That’s all I’m saying.

  15. Thanks for this post – it is awesome!

  16. I can see it now: folks all across the PNW dropping trou in their gardens.

  17. Permission requested to briefly suspend Wheaton’s Law here – but now we can repurpose that dusty old hose end sprayer in the garden shed (you know, that Miracle-Grow thingie?) into a giant working example of the schoolboy rhyme: “Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow? I pee on it!” OK, Wheaton’s back on. Perfectly good fertilizer for ornamentals, especially roses, urine has been listed in several homemade fertilizer recipes, too.

  18. I love this post…

    When we visited the Bollock Homestead on Orcas Island last summer, the instructions were, “Outhouses are only for #2; for #1, find a nice tree or bush and sprinkle freely.”

    Unfortunately at our house, both adults are on BP meds. However, both grandsons love peeing on the compost pile.

  19. We collect our cat urine in a Smart Cat Box (designed in Oregon), dilute it and pour it on the compost pile. These are indoor, unvaccinated, unmedicated healthy cats. Much better than dealing with the usual litter box sand and a nitrogen source to boot. So far so good.

  20. Smallholders in the British Isles, pre-industrialization, saved their urine to scour sheep’s fleeces. It was saved all year in a large vat, and it was highly effective in removing lanolin from fleece, so the wool could be carded & spun. Urine was a highly prized commodity in a village’s life.

  21. I have insomnia and foster dogs and live on a farm-and a husband that sleeps lightly. My dogs bark when I go to the bathroom at 1am-so I pee outside alot. Now, I know where to pee productively-thank you!

  22. Having once upon a time many years ago lived in New York City, and therefore having rather vivid smell-memories of how rank certain areas of the subways and alleyways could get, I have to ask: is there a smell issue? Or do the outdoors/plenty of air and light/lots of other organic material factors make taht concern irrelevant?

    I LOVE the idea – just wondering about this one small (or not so small) question…

    • Fresh pee doesn’t really smell at all – pee in a bucket and leave it overnight and it will start to smell as it changes from nitrogen to ammonia. In the garden, especially diluted or spread round a bit, you don’t smell it.

  23. Miranda Jackson says:

    This is by far the most entertaining thing I have read in a long time. And yet- still educational. I’m so glad I discovered this blog. :-)

  24. I was wondering why the grass was greener in patches where my dog was peeing…

  25. My husband asks me at least once a day which garden bed he should pee in. I’ve been sending him to the wheat cover cropped bed, and it looks lovely- lush and green!

  26. Hubby and I did the pee thing one summer. We sometimes peed directly into the garden, but often in a gallon plastic jug (with a lid on it to contain smell) in the bathroom. I’d have to pee into a measuring cup, then transfer to the jar. It was a pain in the ass, plus I was always concerned with the dribbles. Our bathroom was carpeted. The smell when you opened the jar was intense (-ly bad). Our new home has vinyl flooring—yippee—so I imagine I’ll start the pee collecting again soon.

  27. i read about this a while ago, and my husband periodically fills a milk jug for my compost bin now. =)

  28. This is hilarious. My family and I were just talking about this very topic, as we build our own compost. My husband was particularly taken with the idea. The compost is quite visible from the street, however, so I might encourage him to do his ‘watering’ at night. :)
    Thanks for the great post. I really enjoy your blog!

  29. I know that it has its benefits. But I just can’t think of a better thing NOT to do! I find it really really apalling. I guess I would rather stick with what I am doing now. Fertilizing like I do now by buying my fertilizer. I don’t need to know the details of what is even in my organic fertilzer, I just have to pay the clerk! haha I want to make sure its understood here, I do believe in recycling, just not my pee. Personally. na ah. Couldn’t do it. Just…can’t…do…it. But thanks for the article. I know of many people that would do this, so I will be sure to pass it along. :)

    • Julia Bennett says:

      Never knew! Given all the specs and health issues, guess would be ok. Shame I am on lots of meds. Thanks for info.

    • Texistent says:

      Almost 50% of water used in the US is used for landscaping and the amount used to frack oil & gas is alarming…so it’s kinda sad that you’d rather use more water to flush, pay more on your water bill, spend money on something you don’t need instead of say, buying a meal for someone who can’t just because you don’t want to get a couple of drops on your fingers which you could step one foot away and splash rinse under the faucet…if you pee 2x’s per day, that’s 60+ gals/mo water saved. Jus sayin

  30. Chris and Joe Pasek says:

    I read this to my hubby….he wasn’t exactly happy about my request but being he doesn’t type and needs lots of things done on the computer for his many interests he will oblige so as not to have to do the typing or computer thing himself. I want to save money on getting some compost starter etc and I can’t think of a better way of doing this for free. He is the gardener but I am the one in charge of the compost so his gardens look healthy, beautiful and inviting with lots of things to eat. I take care of the roses though so I am looking forward to getting some things going with them too. We had a dog for many years and a yucca plant in the middle of our front yard….since the dog has gone over the rainbow bridge and isn’t peeing on my yucca anymore I am not getting as many tall stalks with flowers as before.

  31. ROFL – love some of the comments! Using urine in the garden is nothing new to me. Jerry Baker had a bunch of different uses for it in his TV show and booklets – which I still have these many years later. I had all but forgotten about this in the past few years though, and I guess it’s time to start again! Thanks for the reminder ;-)

  32. There is one difficulty here, our compost bins are visible from the Quinninup pub. This difficulty has been overcome by waving at people looking from the pub while peeing in the compost. More seriously, I have found that the breakdown process is two way, that the urine is broken down without odour when put in via the compost heap

  33. This made me laugh and made my day!! Thank you!

  34. Susan Arthen says:

    A conversation with a composting toilet advocate talked about pee separating toilets-and he said that milk weed flourishes with dilated urine and with flourishing milk weed you get lots and lots of butterflies. Can’t eat them but it would be so beautiful to have them around.

  35. My great-grandfather had a milk jug full of pee next to his toilet. I was quite puzzled as to why he was saving it … he was a frugal guy (virtually independent on one acre) but saving pee was beyond me.

    Now I save my babies’ pee. When they’re potty training and you’re emptying the little potty all day … why not just empty it into the watering can, fill up with water, and use it where you need it? Always perks yellowing plants up.

  36. I need to research and think about this one.

  37. Comfrey loves a direct application of urine. 2 years and ago when I was prepping the area for my orchard I had several compost piles going and my wife caught me peeing in one of the piles. My granddaughter who was 5 at the time and my assistant egg gatherer overheard the conversation, after that I started noticing little pieces of toilet paper on top of my compost piles. After several days of head scratching my son asked me why the hell Lexi will only pee in the garbage can. Turns out she would take the bathroom garbage can with the nights collection out with her every morning when she collected eggs and pour it on my compost pile.

  38. Okay, Erica – This time you’ve inspired me into my own little confession. In answer to this post, I’ve written one of my own entitled “Time to confess my little nitrogen secret.” It can be found at the following location:

    http://www.havenscourthomestead.com/2013/03/time-to-confess-my-little-nitrogen.html

    Three words: Wood Stove Pellets!

    • This is brilliant, Kitty! My husband just replaced all the toilet seats in the house- I’ll just plunk one of the old ones onto the ubiquitous 5-gallon bucket, put a few wood stove pellets in there, and there ya go! We’ve also got cats, so you’ve solved that problem, too.

  39. Well, I don’t normally discuss peeing on the Interwebs, but I also don’t normally see this type of discussion. Nicely done.

    Okay, for the record, I’ve been doing this for awhile. Usually, I just walk outside and let ‘er rip in one of the planting boxes where I’m soil building. Of course, I live on 3 acres with nobody around (Virginia farm country)…

    There, I said it.

  40. rachelanwen says:

    I keep two allotments, so free fertiliser is always welcome. My nieces and nephews will always come up the plot with me, and they often bring their friends too. I often wonder what their parents must think when the kids go home and tell them they’ve been having a competition to see who can pee the most times in a red bucket and pour it over a compost heap! And though they range between 6 and 12, there is just something wildly exciting to kids about peeing outdoors!

  41. Our shed and compost pile are adjacent, so my husband usually just steps inside the shed, fills a large cup with “recycled beer”, and walks it the few steps to the compost pile. Saves him a trip inside (up the back stairs, remove the boots, walk through the house, pee, then the same in reverse) and it helps the garden, too.

    I’m thinking of putting our old camping porta-john in the shed for myself, but I need to check my meds first to make sure my pee is safe.

  42. MEDS !!! OK here goes. I have a greenhouse facing the road (escitment for the drivers). I use aquaponics to grow vegtables and fish. The fish provide the fertilizer to grow the plants. Sometime the fish need a little help,(ammonia) so I give them the help. I am on BP and allergy meds and no dead fish yet. Some times it is a little hard to pee in a 3 foot tall fish tank..

  43. Here is another bit of info about pee in the garden. If you are having problems with squirrels digging up or destroying plants, get the first morning male pee (the strong smelling one) and pour it around the problem area. Seems to work like a dog marking territory…saved a bed of gerbera daisies that the critters had decided would be fun to rip up!

  44. Bruce Parshall says:

    Living in the desert it is often difficult to keep the old compost pile active and cooking. A daily dose of “race water” is all it takes to keep it in full breakdown mode. I save mine starting in the evening and in the morning I add enough water to fill the 5-gallon bucket I mix it in and pour that on the compost pile. These daily additions and turnings keep my pile steaming even during the hot summer months and it certainly speeds up the process time.

    If you do put it directly on the garden, make sure that you remember to wash everything before you eat it. Since I love to pop a fresh cherry tomato in my mouth or pull a tender carrot now and then as I’m working in my garden, I content my self with using this amendment in the composting process.

    My young grandsons have no problem with climbing up on the compost pile and making their contributions. I don’t discourage them either. It all helps to teach them that in nature there is no such thing as waste. One organisms byproducts are the staff of life for another. Pretty good object lesson, too.

  45. david bambic says:

    We use our harvested water for blending of the pee water if its toxin free watch the medication
    we like to think a little clean ?
    We are going to add a couple more barrels to harvest water this year as well building the frame now to put them on at least 24″ off the ground for better presure and flow and the bucket will fit under .

  46. It was such a pain having to stop playing int dirt, aka working in the garden, to run up the back stairs into the house to pee and I groused about it enough that my most wonderful husband built me an out house, which we refer to as the euphemism, in the middle of the garden. We had an adult potty chair courtesy of heel surgery I had a few years ago. It now has a five gallon bucket under it. The bail makes it very easy to take the fertilizer to the hose and then to whatever lucky plant asks for it the loudest that day. We have built two hugels and they will have their nitrogen needs supplied very nicely. We have plans to make all our garden hugel-y; here in central TX we need all the water trapping help we can get. Hmmmm–sounds like we’ll need to have a few parties with lots of beer this summer…

  47. Anjalie Srinivasan says:

    There’s a great book on this topic: Liquid Gold: The Lore & Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants. It’s the source, including of the term “pee-cycle.” Myself, I don’t bother diluting.

  48. Thanks, Erica, for spreading the word :) I tried a couple of hilarious ‘capture’ methods, and then a friend told me about Nesquick’s plastic, lidded, container for their chocolate drink powder (I made brownies to use it up). It is even yellow! and fits perfectly to catch the liquid gold, hands free if necessary :) Covered and filled again til approaching the top, it then goes into the prefilled (2/3 – 3/4) watering can…which is then ready for distribution. I started with the small size, but find the larger better.. and I have two so have one in ‘deodorize’ mode with baking soda water :)

    • Oh, I forgot…. someone mentioned ‘night soil’… check out the conversion to black soldier fly larvae … great chicken and fish food.

  49. My husband and son peed on our old lemon tree all the time. The poor tree was so riddled with gall wasps that when I pruned it I had to cut out 3/4 of the tree if not more. Even with all the gall wasps the tree was prolific and I attribute that entirely to pee. :)
    My son loves to “water” things and we have a new compost garden bed inside our greenhouse. He’s going to love peeing in there. Daughter too I’m sure (4.5 and 3 respectively).

  50. Wow! I’m going to use it on my tomato seedlings for a start and then the vegetable plot. thank you so much for sharing such valuable info. I love your blog and I think they should make you the Minster of Agriculture, you rock. :)

  51. All spring and summer, my husband pees into a milk bottle that I empty every day—either diluted onto plants or stright into the compost pile. It performs miracles if you have a nitrogen deficient plant. No problem in over 6 years of doing this.

    Now, one of the National Trust gardens in Britain has installed a “pee bale” and are asking male staffers to relieve themselves on straw bales that are then used to jump-start the compost heap. According to the lead gardener, the men only do this after visiting hours because “we don’t want to scare the public…there are obvious logistical benefits to limiting it to male members of the team, but also male pee is preferable to women’s, as the male stuff is apparently less acidic.” According to their calculations, “The 10 men from the 70-strong garden and estates team will make more 1,000 individual trips to the pee bale…it will have saved up to 30% of its daily water use by not having to flush the loo so many times.”

    • I have been following the comments with great interest, and this one, I admit, gave me a chuckle. The logistics of ladies adding to the straw bales might be a tad more complicated that it is for the men ;-)
      As for the acidity, they might want to reconsider that. This got me curious, and I did a quick search, and found an interesting study – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20502420 – that seems to indicate that relative acidity has more to do with age and diet than gender. Omnivores seem to produce a more acidic urine than veggies, for example. Just another tidbit to add to the discussion ;-)

  52. I apologize, but I’m not terribly good at figuring ratios. When you say the urine needs to be diluted 20:1, is that 20 parts urine to 1 part water? Or is the 20 parts water to 1 part urine? Or am I way off and it’s something else entirely?

  53. Question: What about urine made right after taking vitamin or mineral supplements? Or other medications? I’m picturing that bright yellow urine right after a high-dose of vitamin C and thinking, “Would this be better or worse for my veggie garden?”

    • beethegardener says:

      It works quite well for me! I take lots of vitamins . As they said make sure you water it down some

  54. Great idea. But what about horse pee? Can I pour the pee of my horses on the compost too??

  55. Benjamin Harris says:

    I just wanna say thanks for the good info on dilution factors and such. I have an empty milk jug waiting in the bathroom (been thinking about this for a while), and with the particulars discussed here, I’ll begin today! I’ll start with the compost pile since no veggies are in the ground, just seedlings under lights indoors. I wonder: If the raised beds were doused from now to planting time (last frost date), would they hold the nitrogen for future use? Rain is not an issue here, unfortunately, so leaching isn’t a factor.

    • If soil is high in organic material, it will hold onto much of the nitrogen. Thin soils won’t. If the soil gets really dry, nitrogen can evaporate as ammonia vapor. Maybe keep the beds covered with thick mulch, which could be pulled aside while adding pee, then put back in place afterwards.

  56. Great article – thanks for sharing this. My herb garden is desperately in need of some nutrients, so since reading this I’ve started saving pee at least once a day. Unfortunately my kids are old enough to think the idea is gross rather than cool, so they need a little more persuading to join in the endeavour!

  57. Great post and a timely reminder that our fertilizer supplies are going to run out, so we need to be finding, and getting used to using, alternatives.

    There’s a very good paper here:
    http://www.wrc.org.za/Knowledge%20Hub%20Documents/Water%20SA%20Journals/Manuscripts/1998/02/WaterSA_1998_02_apr98_p157.pdf
    with more information.

  58. I just that using urine in the garden is just a myth! A very good alternative to fertilizers.

  59. frugguy says:

    When you dillute the urine 20:1, you are using more water than your toilet.

    • Yes (or close, at least), but:
      –you can use rain barrel water or grey water instead of drinking water
      –you were going to add that much water to your plants anyway, by watering them

  60. Erica
    just found this site. what a blessing. I love the pee advice and the joke. i will be having my two boys (4&2) take aim. do you have any advice for homemade apple cider vinegar with mother and no pasteurization.

  61. It may sound gross to some, but we have and older toilet that uses almost 6 gallons of water per flush. I drink a lot of coffee and soda pop, and urinate about 20+ times a day. I started thinking “What a waste. Flushing 6 gallons of pure, fresh water just to get rid of a half cup of pee”. So I started peeing in 4 litre milk jugs (the hole is the perfect size for my “fit”). Every 3 days, I have 3 full milk jugs of urine which is then poured evenly over our veggie garden, then diluted with a garden hose. After 2 months of doing this, I noticed a huge improvement in our crops of peppers and tomatoes. I have also noticed since I started doing this that we have at least 10 times more earthworms in the soil. Some may call me cheap and disgusting for saving my pee, but I hate the idea of wasting toilet water, and hate the idea of throwing away “free” fertilizer. The author states that one should not use urine if you are on medication. Does aspirin count? That is all I take.

  62. Came clueless, left worried. Thanks for the post. – All sorts of computer errors are now turning up. Youd be surprised to know the number of doctors who claim they are treating pregnant men. Attributed to Isaac Asimov

  63. Rebekah says:

    This is great! We only have one bathroom for six people in this house, and after deciding to homeschool all my kids next year, I decided to invest in a toilet seat that would fit on a 5 gallon bucket for all the times we have more than one person needing the bathroom at the same time. Now I have a better idea – it will become the pee bucket!

  64. I just watered my plant starts with diluted urine! I’m hoping it will stop the leaf yellowing before I can get them out into the garden later this month. I was so excited that I finally did it that I wanted to share, but then realized no one would want to hear about that… except maybe you! Hahaha! :)

  65. rose bergeroni says:

    Guldkannan Towa is equal parts chamber pot and watering pot … Pee makes for excellent fertilizer. It’s got lots of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate — all important nutrients for growing healthy plants. One study showed that tomato vines fertilized with a urine mixture bore more than four times as much fruit as plants grown using traditional fertilizer. http://www.fastcodesign.com/1663056/almost-genius-a-watering-can-that-uses-your-pee

  66. Hello! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to say keep up the excellent work!

  67. cuke pickler says:

    Already doing it with great success.

  68. Definitely avoid doing this if you are on hormonal BC. Studies have shown that the hormones come through in urine (and there’s a lot of debate surrounding that, because nothing in water treatment gets that back out, which is *very* bad news for the environment).

  69. pstyle — girls can pee standing up too.

    I haven’t implemented yet, but this is definitely on my gardening radar!

  70. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this post, it has been amazing for my fruit trees and roses, also it has kept the carpenter ants out of the roots of my trees and berry bushes! Thanks so much, I cannot express my gratitude enough for this idea/information!

    Oh, and my fruit trees and roses are doing to well because of this, amazing!

  71. What’s the big deal. I’ve been peeing in the compost pile for over 30 years.

  72. Reza June says:
  73. Wow… I just visited the manufacturer’s website… $92 and change for one of these… cuz its from Sweden… can you imagine the duties that would probably have to be paid on top of that? WAY cheaper just to fashion something similar on your own and that’s custom sized for you…

  74. Brendan says:

    I have a conventional flush toilet, and I hate using it! Such a waste of water and nutrients.
    I don’t have any means of safely processing number 2s, so for the time being, they go into the sewer.

  75. Hi ! Very useful information. I just found out about pee-fertilizing and it sounds like the right way to go.
    I am a new member of an urban garden/orchard: we have occupied a piece of land that is empty awaiting construction that never happens. So, we are at a very rudimentary stage, we self-manage and have no resources (no water or electricity). Toilet facilities are an issue and this solves at least half of the problem while providing excellent source for the growth or our veggies and flowers.
    The only query I am left with is that I have read somewhere that the pee & water solution should also be mixed with wood ash. If this is so, do you know what proportion should we use ? I shall be grateful for your help.
    Marta.

  76. So i guess peeing on weeds was a bad idea…..

  77. beethegardener says:

    I have been using my pee for years on my veggie garden! provides the best crops ever!

  78. samnjoeysgrama says:

    You skipped the reason our great grandfathers marked the perimeters
    of their gardens. It keeps the rabbits away. Rabbits can tell if the area is marked by a preditor, i.e. a meat eater. Works pretty well.

  79. Your article says, “if you are on medication, don’t fertilize with your [urine]. I’m curious as to what the effect on the plants could be? I am growing cherry tomatoes and roses, and they appear to have responded well to being “fertilized” with my urine. I’m just pee-ing into a 2 1/2 gal. bucket (about 8 – 10 oz) each time and filling the bucket with water from the hose, then pouring half on the tomatoes growing in a pot and the rest on a rose bush. I then water further with the hose. My meds are Omeprazole (generic Prilosec) 20 mg. 1x/day, Omeprazole (generic Lopid) 600 mg. 2x/day, and Lisinopril, 40 mg. 1x/day. Plus a daily aspirin tablet (250 mg), a “senior” multivitamin, and the occasional Loratadine (10 mg) for my allergies. What could happen?

    • I listed “omeprazole” twice, second one should have been Gemfibrozil (generic Lopid). Omeprazole is for acid reflux, Gemfibrozole is for high blood lipids, and Lisinopril is for blood pressure.

  80. I now know where to direct my son when his sister is in the bathroom and he has to go really bad. The compost heap!

  81. Mary Saunders says:

    There is a hilarious thread on permies.com about this. I highly recommend it. You might want to save up until you need a laughter prescription.

  82. I would recommend for the Lady’s, Just get a five gallon bucket and a spare toilet lid and its just as easy as ever.

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  85. Hello, Erika.
    I have one additional datum to add on the topic of dilution.

    When you go out and piddle on a garden bed, you concentrate all the mineral goodness in that one space and the next time the same in another location, which means that the beneficial application is spread hap-hazardly throughout the yard, some plots receiving more, some less and some none.
    Dilution of the urine helps ensure even distribution of those beneficial minerals, etc throughout your garden or compost pile or bin.

    TIP:
    One way you can evenly distribute your urine is if you have drip irrigation, you can add it in at the filter or if you have an additive feeding ssystem, feed it in that way.

    And Ladies, remember the saying “Good fences make good neighbors.”
    The way I see it, if you have good fences, it seems like there’s no reason you need be shy about going out to add to the garden’s bounty.
    Unless of course you’re embarrassed knowing that when you lift your skirts to water the compost pile, that’ll make it eccited! ;-D

    OhPervyOne
    Matthew K.
    Los Angeles

  86. Mary Saunders says:

    There is a thread of comments on permies.com that I find to be absolutely hilarious reading on the topic of peeing, specifically on how women can do this. I highly recommend reading it.

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  88. elsie tejada-dialde says:

    don’t worry about being acidic as women’s pee contains abundant supply of pro-biotic bacteria. . i think that would help in any ways. .

  89. Bob Knows says:

    Prior to the 20th century all country women peed standing up. That was why women traditionally wore skirts. Only since indoor plumbing and general use of panties have “civilized” woman “had to” squat. Most standing women can actually pee more distance than most men because shorter plumbing makes higher stream velocity. As long as you don’t always pee on the same bush, plant, tree, or patch of lawn there is really no need for dilution. If would save billions of gallons of water if rural and suburban folks went out to the yard or garden instead of wasting water indoors.

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  97. I just read an article by Dr. Mercola suggesting using urine as a fertilizer. Seemed kind of crazy so I googled it and ended up here. Guess there are people actually doing this! I am a dedicated gardener and recycler, so I will try to get up the nerve to actually do this. Thanks for a great post and a great discussion.

  98. Bob Williamson says:

    Ive experimented on many trees and plants, one with urine & 1 without, the one with urine aleays grows more lusciously.

  99. Hi there. Thanks for the information. I have been using urine on my garden for only a short while so can’t say if it works or not just yet. I am a woman so I have found a small bucket which sits nicely inside my toilet bowl. I can catch all my urine each time. Then I just pour it into a special jug which I keep solely for this purpose. It has measurements on it, so this makes it easy to measure it into my watering can. I have also used my own urine to clear up an eye infection in 2 days! You need to catch it mid stream for this though, as it is the cleanest.
    Thanks again.

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