what you can grow when you gotta go…

here’s a nice article from Scientific American posted on July 23, 2010 about the wonders of pee.  when it comes to your garden, you don’t need to just rely on store-bought fertilizers, because you’re in charge! (urine charge!)


Gee Whiz: Human Urine Is Shown to Be an Effective Agricultural Fertilizer

Researchers say our liquid waste not only promotes plant growth as well as industrial mineral fertilizers, but also would save energy used on sewage treatment

By Mara Grunbaum


USEFUL URINE: Human urine, which contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, can be used to fertilize plants, scientists say.
FLICKR/John.E.Robertson

The beets Surendra Pradhan and Helvi Heinonen-Tanski grew were perfectly lovely: round and hefty; with their skin a rich burgundy; their flavor sweet and faintly earthy, like the dirt from which they came. Unless someone told you, you’d never know the beets were fertilized with human urine.

Pradhan and Heinonen-Tanski, environmental scientists at the University of Kuopio in Finland, grew the beets as an experiment in sustainable fertilization. They nourished the root vegetables with a combination of urine and wood ash, which they found worked as well as traditional mineral fertilizer.

“It is totally possible to use human urine as a fertilizer instead of industrial fertilizer,” says Heinonen-Tanski, whose research group has also used urine to cultivate cucumbers, cabbage and tomatoes. Recycling urine as fertilizer could not only make agriculture and wastewater treatment more sustainable in industrialized countries, the researchers say, but also bolster food production and improve sanitation in developing countries.

Click here to see the full article.

2 thoughts on “what you can grow when you gotta go…

  1. come on! people in the philippines have been doing this for a long time. My grandmother had this pot that she used when she had to go at night. In the morning she’d use its contents to water her bougaenvillas. she never used it on her vegetables though. and sometimes her plants died from too much urine. i guess she should have diluted it.

  2. Hey Yuki,

    Urine is great as a fertilizer, but sadly not here in LA–it doesn’t rain enough to counteract the salts or at least that’s what Art Ludwig says.

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