The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Using urine to water house plants

Dwarf Meyer lemon tree

Meyer lemon flowerThe first place I wanted to use urine was to fertilize my nitrogen-hungry dwarf potted citrus trees.  Our movie star neighbor has the most amazing dwarf Meyer lemon tree anyone has ever seen, and he attributes part of his success to regular doses of miracle grow.  I'm leery of chemical fertilizers and wondered if urine would work as well.

For my first attempt, I ignored instructions and poured straight urine around the roots of my citrus trees, washing the pee in with plenty of water.  I thought the mix-in-the-pot technique should work, but the plants complained, so my next trial consisted of mixing urine and water in a bucket at a proportion of roughly one part urine for six parts water, then using that mixture on the plants.  This time, the plants were pleased.

In fact, our dwarf Meyer lemon was so pleased it popped out in literally hundreds of blooms!  Now, from my vague understanding of the bloom-decision-process in fruit trees, I think the number of Young lemon fruitsflowers must have been decided before I started pouring urine around her roots (although I'm not positive about that.)  The real test will be how many of those flowers she sets into fruit since my experience has been that our Meyer lemon drops a large percentage of the young fruits soon after blooming.  I have high hopes that giving her plenty of nitrogen during that critical fruit-setting period might help us keep a higher percentage of fruits this year and get a bumper crop of lemons next winter.  As the old saying goes, "If you've got urine, make lemonaide."

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This post is part of our Urine in the Garden lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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After your articles I thought about this as a way to boost my ficus. But I don't want my living-room to smell like someone forgot to flush the toilet!
Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Feb 8 12:35:42 2011
That's a really good question! I've fertilized the plants several times, and only once did Mark notice a smell. That was when I used some urine that had been sitting in a jug for a few days. So my advice would be to use fresh pee and you won't smell anything!
Comment by anna Tue Feb 8 13:34:22 2011

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