Sunday, April 14, 2013

Utilizing Urine

Most peoples' first response to the idea of using urine is "yuck"! Even my own husband considers urine to be some sort of toxic waste to be flushed out of sight as quickly as possible. But a normal person's urine is sterile and in fact is a good ingredient for fertilizer.

Here on my homestead I collect urine to use in compost. And since I check the compost piles every day, urine never its around for long before it ends up in compost. So storage is not a problem.

Urine is collected in a bucket of biochar. I use a five gallon plastic bucket that is easy to sit a toilet seat on. Guys don't need it, but it sure makes it more comfortable for gals! Biochar fills the bucket 1/4 to 1/2 full. Then we simply use the bucket for #1 (that is, to urinate). Each day when I go past the compost piles and check their temperatures, I'll empty the bucket, mixing the biochar & urine into the center of one of the piles. The temperature of the piles runs between 165 to 180 degrees, depending upon the stage of composting and the components.

One of the nice things about using the biochar is that there is no odor, no fly problem. Zero.

Now I'm sure there is some government office somewhere that doesn't approve of using natural fertilizer, but I don't believe this method poses any public danger. There is no odor, no flies, nothing sitting around for days, and the urine gets processed in a hot, biologically active compost pile. It's more sanitary than the thousands of animals peeing in the fields very day around here.

My husband and I are not taking any medications that would be eliminated via the urine. But that is something to keep in mind. Personally, I wouldn't want to be adding medical chemicals to my compost piles.

While composting works just fine without using urine, this method is just one more little step of utilizing what is available in my quest to be self-reliant. Why waste something that is so readily available?

My neighbors have other uses for urine. The common use is as a pig deterrent. Feral pigs are attracted to your pineapples, bananas, macnuts and taro. And of course they will raid your garden if they can. Most gardens and orchards are fenced, but banana trees are often scattered about unprotected. If pigs are suddenly a temporary problem, my neighbors will splash urine on the base of the trees. And they will take their dogs, if they have them, to urinate there too. This tactic has saved many a banana patch until a pig hunter has a chance to come set up a trap.


  1. Here's another posting about peeing:
    More commonplace than folks might admit, but your observations are correct. I only wish we could grow banana so easy - I have heard of a few folks who dug up the plant for winter storage, then planted it out in the springtime, maybe got fruit, but that's not practical. To make up for it, we can grow tons of apples, pears, blueberries....and here, the millions of blackberries are invasive monsters, treated like weeds. Like the guava there, no?

  2. Oh how I miss New Jersey peaches! I use to be able to go out into the woods and pick pears, apples, blueberries, huckleberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and concord grapes. But of course, now I can pick mangos, bananas, guavas, loquats, etc. Just different, but still good.

    I haven't had a good peach or Melrose apple in over 10 years. And you can't buy real apple cider here. And the store bought blueberries are tasteless compared to what we use to pick. But am I ready to go back to the mainland? Naw.

    I can remember that raspberries and blackberries were weeds that nobody wanted. Elderberries were allowed to rot. Here they are treasured, if you can get them at all. Blueberries are super expensive here. In NJ I use to buy them for 5 pints for a dollar, can you believe that!

    Oh well. Barry, I can't imagine the bananas grown so laboriously there are any better than store bought. As you know, bananas here have real flavor. Bananas are so common here that they are hard to give away.