What do coffee grounds and human urine have in common? Both are useful and abundant natural forms of fertilizer which don’t have to be bought. Natural fertilizers of course are materials that contain plant nutrients obtained from the remains of an organism, while synthetic chemical fertilizers are nutrients produced from inorganic materials. This article does not address the issue of what are the positive and negative aspects of chemical versus natural fertilizers. It is explained here as to how two household ingredients viz., coffee grounds and urine, can be used as a replacement for commercial fertilizers.
Urine: The three major plant nutrients of urine is an excellent source of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. For use in fertilizer, it is also available in the ideal chemical form liquid. Before using urine as a fertilizer, one should dilute it (except in select situations) in order to reduce its acidity. Using gray water or rainwater to dilute urine is an excellent option. The used, dirty water that is flushed down the drains of sinks, showers, and washing machines is known as “gray water”. It is a perfectly safe source of irrigation water. Gray water often contains traces of detergent phosphates, a valuable fertilizer for plants, yet when it flows into rivers and lakes these traces cause pollution. Nitrate-rich urine combined with phosphate-rich gray water produce a balanced liquid fertilizer for all kinds of plants.
The proportions for diluting urine and water vary according to how it will be used:
* Ten to 15 parts water to one part urine if it is to be applied on plants in the growth stage.
* A solution of thirty-fifty parts water to one part urine is a good fertilizer for potted plants. Potted plants will respond quicker to fertilizers.
*You may use one part urine to three parts water, in case to use urine as soil fertilizer.
* Urea in urine makes it an effective fungicide for trees. In this situation, you would use three parts water to one part urine. Without damaging your tree leaves or the trees themselves, this product will rid the fungus from the your trees.
Urine from humans is bacteria-free and sterile. The urine of persons suffering from urinary tract infections should NOT be used to fertilize plants, nor should that of people with Bilharzia or Typhoid Fever. The initial one, Bilharzia, is extremely rare beyond tropical wet climates. The Typhoid Fever causing bacteria is deactivated very shortly after excretion.
The best urine to use as fertilizer is fresh having been created within the past 24 hours. If not used right away, the urea in urine will turn into ammonia, which can burn plants. In addition, you shouldn’t apply urine as fertilizer for plants that will be eaten at least two weeks prior to harvest, and remember to use it beneath fruit trees instead of on the fruit and leaves.
Urine that is not fresh can be used, undiluted, on your compost heap, as it is an excellent activator, it is rich in nitrogen and will help to rot the carbon-rich materials in a compost heap.
China, Zimbabwe, and Mexico for example are several countries have and are installing urine fertilization projects. However this solution will not work only for third world countries. In Sweden and Finland researchers concluded that human urine can be a very high-quality plant fertilizer.
Some advantages of using urine as a natural liquid fertilizer are:
* Reducing sewage pollution by reducing gray water in sewer or septic systems
* Using human urine would help reduce water consumption like toilet flushing
* Some professionals believe that human urine is a more effective fertilizer than sewage compost since sewage sludge contains organic and inorganic chemical contaminants and pathogenic microorganisms.
* Human urine is absolutely free
Coffee Grounds; Used coffee grounds can be used both as a plant fertilizer and as a cat and pest repellent, though their use is usually limited to private gardens and houseplants. When using coffee grounds to amend the soil, they should be mixed around the plant prior to watering. Already used coffee grounds release their nitrogen content at a slow rate. For use as a liquid fertilizer at about 1/2 pound of used grounds to five gallons of water, the used coffee grounds may also be diluted in water, preferably gray water.
Use coffee grounds about once a month to fertilize vegetable beds, houseplants and flowers. In this case, the dried used grounds may be directly mixed into the soil.
As pest repellent, used coffee grounds can be mixed with orange peels or eggshells and scattered around vegetable or flowerbeds edges. Another well known gardeners tip is that snails and slugs don’t like caffeine. You can use this to fight the slugs and snails in your garden. An easy inexpensive way to kill almost all slugs and a large proportion of snails is a spray solution that contains 2% caffeine. Cats avoid the odor of oranges and coffee.
Adding used coffee grounds to compost heaps will increase their nitrogen content and hasten the breaking-down or ripening process just like urine.
Of course, as should be apparent, the use of human urine and used coffee grounds as natural plant fertilizers is not a modern-day scientific breakthrough. This is just an example of how modern man has improved many natural methods.