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Using Human Urine as Fertilizer: All You Need to Know

Many will find it interesting to learn that urine in this case human Urine can be useful for soil fertilization. At the 2017 African Clean Up Conference held in Cape Coast Ghana, organised by the African Clean-Up Initiative, Dr Bryant a lecturer at the Univeristy of Cape Coast said “Urine is very safe, hygienic, easy to handle and collect and easily available. We can use human urine to cultivate crops such as maize, okro, tomato, pepper, garden eggs and some other vegetables”. We decided to do a quick dive and see in more details the ways human urine can be used, methods of application and the caution that needs to be taken.

But before these, it will be nice to know what human urine contain as nutrient. Our urine contains significant levels of nitrogen, as well as phosphorous and potassium (typically an N-P-K ratio around 11 – 1 – 2.5, similar to commercial fertilizers). Studies conducted in Sweden (Sundberg, 1995; Drangert, 1997) show that an adult’s urine contains enough nutrients to fertilize 50-100% of the crops needed to feed one adult. So, there you have it human urine has some good and useful nutrient.

THE HOW

The first step is to decide you want to use urine and collect it for that purpose. If one intends to use for a garden it is advised to use one-part urine and dilute with 8 to 10 part water. For example, if you have 1 litre of urine, dilute with 8 to 10 litres of water.

Human urine even when fresh is sterile,it is best to apply it to the soil around the plant. However, in plant like sweet potatoes, carrots this might not be possible thus It will beneficial to rinse urine off the leaves of the plant with water to keep the urine from burning the plant.

Store in air tight containers instead of applying daily. When urine is stored for few days or weeks it gives microbes time to break it down a little to balance ration of NP &K

There is a danger of applying too much, and the excess nitrogen can lead to bushy, leafy plants that attract aphids and bear little fruit. Signs of excess nitrogen include curled leaves.

Urine can be applied directly to the compost pile. As it’s very high in nitrogen, it should be added to plenty of carbon-rich materials, like dry leaves, sawdust, straw, and cardboard. Urine can act as a starter for compost, encouraging the decomposition process.

WORD OF CAUTION

  1. It is good to ensure that there is no fecal contamination as feces contains dangerous pathogens. Thus, it must be 100% pure urine
  2. Do not use urine from an individual with urinary tract infection or is using medications.
  3. If using urine from different individuals store for 6 months in a sealed container before using it.

Clearly, in home gardens it should be alright to use urine especially in the right quantity. Regulations vary from country to country as to if it can be used on commercial farms. But by and large it has been found to be safe, as it is sterile and can be stored for month to reduce pathogen risk. You can read more on the risks and guideline for usage in this World Bank Report.

REFERENCES

  1. Human Urine better than Chemical Fertiliser-https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/agriculture/agriculture-human-urine-better-than-chemical-fertiliser–expert/204596.html
  2. Biological Ferilizer- Human Urine-https://permaculturenews.org/2016/06/14/biological-fertiliser-human-urine/
  3. Urine as Fertilizer Application Guidelines, Caution-http://www.healthy-vegetable-gardening.com/urineasfertilizer.html
  4. Fertilizing with Human Urine –http://www.goveganic.net/article217.html

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