Legend speaks of a fertilizer that surpasses all others. A fast release, 10-1-4 substance that costs nothing and includes all of the micronutrient minerals one requires in their diet and garden veggies. The mythical fertilizer goes by many names, the least vulgar of which is: urine.

If you are trying to garden sustainably, there is no other realistic choice in fertilizer. Flushed down the toilet and out to sea, it is a dangerous pollutant. In the garden, it is an invaluable input. Any other imported fertilizers are, a waste of money and/or effort if you haven’t already ran out of urine.

I don’t want to get too much into Gardening 101 here but I’m going to dispel a common gardening fallacy before the replies start rollin’ in: compost is NOT fertilizer. While compost has nutrients in it, it does not contain enough macro nutrients to support annual vegetables on its own. If you are having good results with nothing but compost, you will have far BETTER results by implementing some fertilizer as well. Fertilizer= short-term growth. Compost= long-term fertility. Both= the best of both worlds.

I once read somewhere that you piss out enough nitrogen to grow all the food you consume. I also read that the majority of excreted nutrient leave via “the front door” rather than the back so I’m willing to belive this even though I havent read or performed any experiments. You can also rest assured that most if not all of your body’s mineral requirements are going into the soil where your veggies can snatch them up since the only reason you need to replenish those minerals in your body is because you pissed them out in the first place.

You can determine how much urine to use with first grade level arithmetic. Urine does have a variable NPK rating depending on your diet but it is generally within reasonable range of 10-1-4. Because nitrogen is the most important macronutrient and also the one most likely to “burn” your plants if over applied, you should be mostly concerned with the first number. A quick Google search will reveal how much nitrogen or 10-10-10 should be applied and how often. Urine, having the same N rating as 10-10-10 should be applied at the same rate. Assuming urine weighs approximately the same as water, a litter is 2.2 lbs and a gallon is 8. As a general rule: heavy feeders like corn or Brassicas generally benefit from 3 applications per foot of row. Plants that are especially susceptible to nitrogen burn such as tomatoes or beets are happy with half of that. Light feeders like beans or carrots will be better off without supplemental nitrogen.

Collection is easy for you gentlemen. It’s easy for the likes of me too. Drain the sea lizard into recycled water bottles and hide them behind the toilet when you have guests over. Ladies are going to have to get creative. Unless your hedonistic ways have led to a “urinary tract infection”, urine leaves the body sterile. That means you can safely use it straight from the tap if you so choose. Beware of voyeurs.

It is a problematic waste turned invaluable garden input. It is both free to use in the garden and ecologically expensive to flush away. It is potent source of nitrogen and contains most if not all the micro nutrient minerals the human body needs to consume and so will make your vegetables more nutritious. It combines the responsibility of organic fertilizer with the convenience of chemical fertilizer. Now you tell me: Why NOT use it?

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