Saturday, June 07, 2014

Urine Fertilizer. Eco San. Progress Report. 6.7.14

Urine for Fertilizer.  6.7.14

Ginkgo biloba with rapid growth.  6.7.14
 Last winter I ran across several web reports and research studies involving use of urine as fertilizer. I summarized the information here.  I could find, concentrating mainly on research reports and objective information, and background.  This is the report of my experience so far.

First, there is nothing scientific about my observations.  I did not do any comparative experiments.  Therefore, observations are just that - my experiences.

1.  Collection process.  No brainer.  Once you get used to peeing into a bottle, urinating toilet feels abnormal, wasteful, and strange.  It's easy  to pee into the bottles.  I discovered I've been watching my urine, and when it looks darker, I make sure to drink more fluids.  I rinse the bottles with each use, so they are clean.

2.  Storage.  I don't store the urine.  Usually, only 1 or 2 or 3 bottles collect in a couple of days.  As soon as possible, it goes into the garden.  That way, odor doesn't develop and ammonia is not lost to the atmosphere.

3.  Dilution.  These are 2 quart bottles.  There are 4 quarts in a gallon.  Watering can for garden is 2 gallons.  I usually use 1/2 bottle, so 1 quart.  Pour half bottle into watering can.   Fill with water.  So the dilution is roughly  1:8.   Different authors give different dilutions.  This seems good enough and is fairly cautious.

4.  Esthetics.  I don't see any issues.  Maybe it's because I'm male, but I don't smell anything in the garden.  I think it's more, with the dilution and most goes into the garden  immediately, the solution soaks into the soil and doesn't leave anything to evaporate.

5.  Application.  During late winter, I applied around trees and shrubs that I thought could use an early boost.  I did not use winter application around trees I thought were risk for too early growth and risk for frost.  Trees that got urine solution - Ginkgo biloba, lindens, maples, young apples, Laburnum, young cherries, young paw paws, young persimmons, mulberry.  Shrubs that got urine solution - Viburnum, Lilac, hydrangea, buddleia, forsythia, rose of Sharon, weigela.

Plants that did not get urine solution during the winter:  plums, pears, figs.

For annuals and vegetables, in late winter and spring, I used small amounts, dilute, for Four O'clocks, peppers, garlic, onions, tomatoes, potatoes.

4.  Benefits.  The benefit varied by plant.  Again, I can't claim this is a research project.  Comparing this year with last year -

Last year the lindens, both American and European, had pale appearing growth, and not much of it.  The American linden had about 3 inches of growth.  This year, it's not done yet, but so far looks like 18 inches.  The leaves are larger and dark green.  I'm not sure if the European lindens have more stem extension, compared to last year.  I think so.  The European lindens have stopped making new growth.  The American linden continues to make new growth.

Last year, the Gingko biloba, I moved here from Vancouver, grown from seed 1 years ago, didn't make significant growth.  It leafed out, but stem extension was under an inch.  The leaves were yellowish pale green.  I think the soil here is low nitrogen.  This year the growth is vigorous.  The top has grown about 18 inches, and show no sign of stopping.   There is slight distortion of some of the leaves - splits and a little bit of curl.  I may have used too much urine solution.  I will not add more.  I want the growth to mature and harden before fall.

The Laburnum is a mixed bag.  The growth is more vigorous, compared to last year.  Some of the new growth has curly leaves.  I also noted that for a couple of other plants, so i think I used too much.  However, the Laburnum in general has much more vigorous growth, compared to last year.  It is more bushy and stout.

The persimmons and pawpaws grew much faster this year, and bigger leaves.  The bigger more tender leaves may have attracted deer, who liked eating those young leaves.  They decimated the cherries, which they didn't touch last year.  I'm in the process of making more tree cages.

Other plants that appear to have benefited, with very vigorous, strong looking growth - Viburnum, Buddleia, Rugosa rose

I used a small amount on bearded irises.  I wonder if that contributed to the epidemic of bacterial rot, by causing soft too-vigorous, too-early growth   I won't do that again.

So far, the tomatoes look amazing.  Last year they were slow growing, and several were pale to yellow.  This year, they are growing fast, with stout stems, dark green leaves.  Some are blooming and others look close.  I think they are earlier and show a lot of promise.

I'm not sure about the peppers.  They don't look vigorous, but are starting to produce.  I don't think they like the cool nights.

I did not use it for root crops like radishes and turnips.  I would expect the extra nitrogen to stimulate leaves but not good root crop.

The 4 O'clocks didn't all get urine solution.  Of those that did, some had curly leaves like the Laburnum.  I stopped, and used water without urine, then very dilute balanced Miracle Grow for tomatoes, and now the leaves are growing out normally.
Gingko biloba top growth.  6.7.14
Redmond Linden.  Second Season.  6.7.14

Redmond Linden Top Growth.  6.7.14

Laburnum with Curly Leaf Growth.  6.7.14
Interim Conclusions.

I don't see much negative from this method.  Almost none.  I need to avoid over doing it.  Some plants may be too sensitive to the high nitrogen, the salts, or some other aspect.  I won't use it again on irises, and will be cautious with Laburnum.

Odor - wise, it does not linger like fish emulsion.

I think it's best to use within a few days of collecting.  During the winter, I may store in a cold shed.

There is the 

 Some trees make a burst of growth in Spring, then spend the summer maturing and photosynthesizing to make next Spring's burst of growth.  Giving more nitrogen now seems counter productive, so I won't.  I'm a little concerned that some plants grew too vigorously and have 't stopped, so could be soft going into winter.  But we still have a long season ahead.  So I am hopeful.  The Buddleia grew so fast and vigorous, I wondered if it would bloom.  They are now producing many flower heads, so I think that's not a problem.

I gave the figs a one-time boost, but that's all.  I don't want them going into next Winter too soft and weak to survive.

I don't want to over-do it.  I think the tomatoes got all they are going to get.  The garlic is going into ripening time, so no more nitrogen.  This year the garlic is the biggest they have ever been.  It will be interesting to see if they went all to leave and stem, or have nice big bulbs.  The potatoes got a boost today, but that's all.  Again, too much nitrogen isn't good.  Other big-nitrogen users, from what I read - squash and zucchini.  So they got some today.

Laburnum with Vigorous, Healthy Appearing Growth.  6.7.14
It's interesting how much urine we make in a day.  I probably won't want to use any for trees, shrubs, vegetables in late summer and fall.  That would risk burst of growth that doesn't get to harden off for winter.  Then, rather than wasting it, I might sprinkle the grass.  The grass will take up the nitrogen.  When I cut the grass, the clippings are used for mulch, which benefits the plants many ways and gives a slow release of nutrients.

This is a concept that provokes some negative reactions.  A lot of people are misinformed, or uninformed, regarding almost every aspect.  Health, environment, resource wastage, sanitation, toxins, esthetics.  I hope as more information collects, gardeners can learn how to use this fully renewable, non wasting, beneficial method to benefit their gardens in a safe and effective manner.

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