Yeah, you read that right. In this article, we’re going to delve into whether or not it’s worth peeing in your compost. Admittedly, on the surface, it may seem like an idea bordering on the hippy fringe but peeing in your compost hosts a surprising amount of convenient and practical benefits that are sure to make your compost—and your garden—flourish. But before you go about redirecting your sewer line to your compost bin, there are some important things to keep in mind.
Firstly, let’s take a quick look at the necessary ingredients to create a thriving compost pile:
- Carbon. Carbon is sometimes characterized as the “brown stuff” in your compost—leaves, sticks, and whatnot—and it provides vital energy to your compost’s microorganisms.
- Oxygen. This one is rather explanatory. The microorganisms in your compost need that good old air to survive. (Tip: be sure to mix your compost around with a pitchfork or aerator, in order to allow oxygen to reach all material in the pile.
- Water. Just the right amount—just enough to dampen your compost. Too much and your microorganisms will die. Too little and they’ll dehydrate.
- Nitrogen. This necessary compost ingredient typically comes from things like kitchen scraps and lawn clippings. But you know what else has amazing levels of nitrogen for your compost?
Pee. In fact, the nitrogen levels of pee are far more concentrated than things like lawn clippings, and this boost of nitrogen will ultimately increase the decomposition speed of your compost pile. Think of pee like a decomposition accelerant.
In addition to nitrogen, however, there are also other valuable minerals that will benefit both your compost pile and later, your garden. Most notably, potassium and phosphorus. In fact, if you’ve ever bought fertilizer for your plants, there’s a good chance it was of the NPK variety—which stands for nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus—quite literally the makeup of urine.
A couple of helpful compost peeing things to keep in mind:
- Peeing in your compost saves water. One trip to the compost bin is one less flush!
- Don’t overdo it. Saturating your compost with pee can actually have an adverse effect. A good rule of thumb is your compost should be able to absorb and incorporate the liquids.
- Consider peeing on some form of carbon—cardboard, leaves, straw etc.—in order to supercharge your compost.
- This article will not go into how to get your urine into the compost pile: we’ll leave that up to you. But keep in mind:
- Best to keep it fresh. Storing pee for longer than a day or so will allow it to develop bacteria harmful to your compost.
- If you take multiple medications, it may be best to skip peeing in your compost, as trace elements of these medications can also harm your pile.
We know, it’s a little strange. But with the benefits to your compost and plants, it’s worth giving it a whirl! Or a whiz.