Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Urine Revisited

"P" wrote in......."I have a question. I think I’ve seen you mention "fermented urine” perhaps twice in the time I’ve been reading your blog (and I cannot find any mention of it in your index of topics. Is it 
fermented because you simply haven’t had time to use it? Mine sometimes sits in my pee jars 
for 5 days (I have 5 pee jars) but on the 5th day I clean them all (so I have a pot to pee in), so 
some have not “fermented” as long as others. I haven’t noticed any difference in effect, no 
particular burn, so I was wondering if there is some bio/chemical benefit in aging it."

Like you, I haven't noticed any particular benefit from aging (that is, stored urine) or fermenting the urine. Nor have I seen burning, maybe because I tend to apply dilute urine (diluted to stretch out my supply). People who report plant burning......perhaps they are on high salt diets or eat mostly commercial foods? I don't salt my food, nor do I eat a lot of commercially made food. 

I use urine for fertilizer. I have a limited supply (me), but I use every drop I collect. The only urine I don't save for using is when I'm taking drugs that are excreted via the kidneys. That usually means antibiotics, since I don't live on "old people" medications. 

How to collect urine? I use a funnel to direct urine into an old milk jug. Hubby won't do that, but he is willing to pee outdoors onto whichever garden spot I designate. The dogs are directed to "go out" in various garden beds. Like hubby, they're not keen on peeing into a bucket, although I could have trained them to it if I had really wanted to. But having them pee on a garden spot ready for tilling is fine enough. I no longer collect urine from the sheep because it's simply too much hassle. I get plenty of manure that's an easier fertilizer to collect, so I skip the urine. When I had the horse, she was trained to pee into a bucket. She was most cooperative. If fact, insanely cooperative. But the donkey will have no part in this scary silliness, so I don't push it. 

How to use urine :
I can use it fresh or stored (that is, stored for days or a couple weeks). I've seen absolutely no difference between the two so far. If there is a difference, it must be subtle. Perhaps because my soil has abundant microbial life, it makes no observable difference.

I no longer ferment urine because I didn't see a difference in the gardens. I used active sauerkraut juice to inoculate the urine for fermenting, then fermented for 2 weeks before using. The only difference I noted in the fermented urine was that it ended up with a lower pH, which is something I don't need since my soil is already naturally acidic. Fermented urine may have chemical differences compare to fresh, but the results in the garden weren't different. So in keeping things simple, I no longer bother to ferment. 

Do I dilute it? Yes. Do I have a set formula? No. I use about 1/2 cup per gallon of water, thereabouts. Could I use it undiluted? Yes. I could sprinkle it on a garden bed then till it in....much like having hubby and the dogs pee on the garden soil. But I don't pour undiluted urine onto a growing plant. 

How do I use the diluted urine? I use it to water the plants, or add it to compost bins while I making compost. My garden soils have a good amount of microbial life, so I don't get any odor from using the urine. The microbes take care of that very quickly. 

Would fermented urine work better in unimproved soils? Don't know. It would make a nice experiment. 

Talking about experiments.......I read an article in Modern Farmer magazine. Here's the link 
The article brought up some interesting information. Plus it tells how to sanitize urine before use. 

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