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8 Reasons Why You Should Pee in Your Garden

8 Reasons Why You Should Pee in Your Garden

Yes, you read that correctly.

Far from being solely the behaviour of the woefully inebriated, introducing urine to one’s garden space is actually an age-old practice that’s used by gardeners and farmers around the world. It has a number of different uses, so depending on what your garden needs, you can use it a variety of ways.

1. Urine as Fertilizer

Did you know that human urine is chock full of nitrogen? Okay, maybe you did, but you might be wondering why that’s a good thing, and what it has to do with your garden. Well, plants generally need more nitrogen than any other element, as it’s used to synthesize amino acids, enzymes, proteins, and chlorophyll, and some plants suck up far more than others do. Corn, for example, requires much more nitrogen than most other plants, which is why they were generally paired with beans as part of the Native “3 sisters” combination: beans deposit nitrogen into the soil, and thus help corn to thrive.

We’re not talking about beans right now, though: we’re talking about wee, which is such a high-quality fertilizer that a single person’s urine would be enough to fertilize up to one tenth of an acre of vegetables for an entire year. If you plan to use pee as a fertilizer for actual plants in your garden, be sure to dilute it in a 20:1 ratio (20 parts water, 1 part pee) and sprinkle it around on the soil around the plants, not the plants themselves.

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2. Soil Enhancer

As urine isn’t merely rich in nitrogen, but also phosphorous and potassium, it replenishes soil that has had its minerals depleted by over-farming. Get a bunch of friends together and have everyone pee in your garden in late autumn, then put down some layers of vegetable peelings, leaves, and hay as mulch. By springtime, that soil will be loaded with nutrients that will plump up your parsnips and coddle your cabbages.

3. Compost Accelerator

The whole point of composting vegetable matter is to break it down so it can be used to fertilize the next generation of plants, but that decomposition takes time.

The uric acid present in urine accelerates compost decomposition, so taking a leak on your compost pile is actually fantastic for breaking it down. Of course, uric acid is most concentrated in your first pee of the day, so if you’re aiming to let loose on the compost, you’ll either have to trudge out there will a full, insistent bladder, or else keep a jar/watering can/bucket in the washroom to collect said liquid gold and then toss it on the compost when you’re a bit less bleary-eyed.

4. Weed Murderer

Have you noticed that when dogs urinate on specific patches of grass, that grass tends to die? First it goes yellow (from the acids in the urine), then it dries up as it dies. Guess what? It’s not just un-diluted dog pee that will kill plants: human urine will do the same.

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It’s been mentioned that you have to dilute urine like crazy-pants to ensure that it’s safe for the garden, because the acids contained therein will burn and kill your plants if you use it full-strength. You can, however, use that full-strength pee on weeds that you don’t want in your garden.

5. Fungus Fighter

Speaking of things you don’t want in your garden… sometimes plants can develop fungal diseases like leaf rot and downy mildew. Remember that uric acid we talked about? It’s also great for eliminating/discouraging those fungi on plants like berry bushes and low trees. You’ll have to dilute it by about 50%, and then use a spray bottle to spritz the watery wee on the affected areas.

*Note: in both World Wars, soldiers apparently urinated on their own feet to get rid of (or even prevent) athlete’s foot and other foot-fungi that thrived in the damp trench conditions. Whether this was effective or not, I have no idea, but it’s possible that it helped!

6. High-Carbon-Soil Balancer

Most people don’t give much thought to how soil is made, but just like most other substances on the planet, it has to be built. That rich, dark soil that’s so gorgeous for planting was created over time from broken-down plant matter, including sawdust, leaves, branches, and hay. These are dry “brown” materials, high in carbon, that break down very, very slowly, while those that are high in nitrogen are moist “green” materials, such as lawn clippings, vegetable peelings… and urine.

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Ideally, you’ll want to have equal portions of brown and green matter so that your compost is well balanced, but those who keep compost heaps generally have a great deal more in the way of lawn clippings and leaves than potato peels and carrot tops. To boost the nitrogen quotient, add un-diluted urine to the heap: it won’t just accelerate the breakdown (as listed in #3), but will help to balance out the nutrient ratios in your future soil.

7. Animal Deterrent

If you’ve ever spent any time with a dog, you’ll notice that they like to mark their territory with their urine so all the other neighbourhood dogs know who lives where, and not to disrespect boundaries.

Apparently, the scent of human urine (again, early morning pungent pee) can keep animals such as cats, foxes, and rabbits away from your garden. This hasn’t been tested by anyone I know and could just be hearsay, but it could be worth a try! Do note that this supposedly only works with adult male urine, as it’s full of potent hormones and manliness and such.

8. Deer Defense

This is really an extension of #7, but is special enough for its own little section.

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If you live in an area that’s frequented by deer, you’ll likely have had some issues with the lovely beasts nibbling greenery from your garden. To keep them out of your lettuce bed, you should apparently fill a spray bottle with your own early morning urine (if you’re a guy—ladies will have to coax a partner or friend to donate instead), and then hose down the nearby trees, a few feet from the ground. Like, the height at which a deer’s nose will smell it easily.

The idea behind this is that deer are frightened of humans, and the strong scent of human presence should be enough to spook them away. If it doesn’t work, call up your local zoo or wildlife centre and ask them for a bag of coyote or wolf poop: that should keep them from venturing too close.

If you do decide to put any of these into practice, do let us know how/if they work for you.

As a side note, if you happen to get caught urinating in your yard after a night of particularly fervent partying, you can use some of these benefits as an excuse for your behaviour.

Good luck!

More by this author

Catherine Winter

Catherine is a wordsmith covering lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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