No, this is not a futuristic story about Soylent Green (great movie by the way) or how to bump off your enemies, bury them in the back yard and plant a tree over the grave. It is a post about a wonderful and natural fertilizer and soil improver that all mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians excrete on a daily basis. It is better known as wee, or pee, or urine, depending on what you want to call it.
It contains lots of nitrogen in the form of ammonia, and water, which by the way, plants need to grow. I first remember being told by my Nana Webber many years ago, to go and water the lemon tree down the back of their place. I used to think that it was fabulous that she wanted me to go and wee in the open air and not in the toilet. Small things amuse small minds, and I was only about 6 at the time.
As I grew older I forgot this habit and didn’t give it much thought as to why Nana wanted me to water the lemon tree in the first place. What I do remember was a wonderful big tree with loads of healthy fruit every year.
This brings me to about a year ago when I read a Jackie French gardening book that was about organic gardening (can’t remember the title) that I borrowed from our local library. In her humorous and no-nonsense approach, she reminded and explained the wonderful uses of wee.
It was also brought home to me when I read “The Revenge of Gaia” by James Lovelock, in which he mentioned that it was too much of a coincidence that mammals, who are the dominant large species on the plant, all urinate, and that plants need soluble nitrogen to survive. The book is a good read, and made me think even harder about how the Earth is fighting back. Anyway, Jackie mentioned that only a few plants can manage to cope with full strength wee, with citrus being the main type around our homes.
However that does not stop you from using it in other ways. If you dilute it in a watering can at a ratio of 10 parts water to 1 part urine, it makes a great fertilizer for the garden. I use it at least fortnightly on my vegetable garden, but I also add either a capful of Seasol, or about a litre of worm wee from the worm farm. This gives the vegetables a great boost twice monthly and helps the plants to develop strong roots and conditions the soil structure.
But that’s not all folks. If you couldn’t be bothered with either method, there is always the “Please Pee Freely” method to keep the compost bins moist, and add valuable nitrogen and other trace elements to the decomposing matter. Composting actually needs a bit of moisture to help it along, however to ensure that I don’t make the compost too acidic, I sprinkle a half a handful of dolomite lime and a handful of dynamic lifter about once a month to keep it all smelling sweet and to stop the kitchen scraps from going all yucky. I also add shredded newspaper, office paper, old bills, or ripped up egg cartons to add a bit more carbon to the mix to help the process along. With all of those simple ingredients (including my wee), I end up with a fantastic organic matter that I dig into our garden beds twice a year
Now for the funny part! I mentioned to Kim and Amy that I left a comment on a fellow green gardeners blog site WILDBLUESbysus, as she had written a post about a home-made product called an APottoPeein. I thought it was very practical and funny and it is used by the ladies of the house so that they can contribute to the gardening effort. Kim said that there was not way she would use it, but to my surprise Amy said that if I get her a chamber pot that she would contribute. I think that Kim would come around eventually, but I will admit that it is a very personal issue and I fully understand where she is coming from. Even Jackie French admitted that your own wee usually smells less than anyone elses, because you are used to smelling it!
Well all this potty talk has made me want to go myself. I better not waste my precious fertilizer for today!