Spraying The Crops, Ctd

Jan 21 2014 @ 4:01pm

A reader discusses his own experience using human pee as fertilizer:

I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, and urine fertilizer was a popular practice for environment/agricultural volunteers such as myself to pass on to our communities. Normally, we would get these ubiquitous 20-liter yellow plastic water drums affectionately referred to as Jibitans (in Bambara, ji means water and bitan means container) and, well, fill ’em up. You had to cap them so as not to let the nitrates leak out or evaporate.

At first, it raised an eyebrow when I introduced it to the communities I worked with, but not much more than that. Then again, most of them already thought I and every other American was batshit crazy, so maybe that’s why they weren’t all that surprised.

To get to the point, though: It worked! Quite well, as a matter of fact. It saved communities, families, and individuals money and it spared a little chemical fertilizer use. Until reading your post, I never really even stopped to think about its application in the West or sanitary issues or “ick factors.” I guess when you spend two years using your left hand as toilet paper, you won’t even think twice about pissing in a container and putting it on your garden.

Another notes that commercial fertilizer carries its own “ick factor”:

One of the chemicals that’s long been used in chemical fertilizers for agriculture is named ‘urea.’ I’ll leave it to you to figure out why chemists first named it that.