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Grow Hearty Tomatoes Using your Bladder and Fireplace

by Tony Isaacs

Gardeners who want to grow hearty tomatoes may be surprised to find that they can turn to an unusual and free source of fertilizer no further away than fireplaces and their own bladders. Scientists from the University of Kuopio in Finland recently found that wood ash and human urine perform equally as well as more expensive mineral fertilizers for tomatoes and some other crops, while being more environmentally friendly.

In a study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, a team of Finnish researchers raised a healthy crop of tomatoes in a carefully controlled series of laboratory experiments. The researchers found that sprinkling tomatoes with human urine mixed with wood ash produced bumper harvests when compared to untreated plants, in some instances producing crops up to four times larger.

Although scientists have previously tested urine on plants, this is the first one to mix it with wood ash. The combination of the two is rich in nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium and reduces the acidity of soil. According to report author Surenda Pradhen, the new findings could lead to a new source of cheap fertilizer without the need to use potentially dangerous chemicals.

Staed Pradhen, "the results suggest that urine with or without wood ash can be used as a substitute for mineral fertilizer to increase the yields of tomato without posing any microbial or chemical risks."

In the greenhouse test, tomatoes were grown with urine alone, the combination of urine and ash and with commercial mineral fertilizer. Urine alone actually produced more tomatoes than urine with ash did - and both treatments performed slightly below neither the researchers' mineral fertilizer. However, both urine-based fertilizers roughly quadrupled fruit production when compared to unfertilized control plants and the addition of ash resulted in larger plants and fruit and significantly higher magnesium and potassium content. A panel of 20 taste testers rated all growing methods as equally tasty.

The researchers estimate that a single individual's urine could fertilize 6,300 tomato plants a year, yielding more than two tons of fruit.

The idea of using urine and wood ash is not exactly new. Both have been used in helping plants grow, and their benefits appear to be complimentary. Urea, a commonly used nitrogenous fertilizer, is abundant in urine and wood ash such as was produced by the birch used by the Finnish group is rich in nutrients that urine lacks, such as potassium and calcium.

In 2004 Finnish researchers found that fertilizing with urine produced similar or slightly better results than commercial fertilizers when used on cucumbers. Later, in 2007, Finnish researchers found that urine fertilization produced slightly higher growth and biomass than conventional fertilizers for cabbages. In both of those previous studies the researchers found no recordable hygienic threat from microorganisms. Other research has shown that human urine is an effective substitute for synthetic fertilizers for several crops in addition to tomatoes including cucumbers, corn, cabbage, and wheat.

Some cautions: Plants are often highly averse to salt, thus the salinity of urine could be harmful at high enough doses. Plus, it would probably be a good idea to use only the urine of people who lived healthily and were not taking medications to insure that toxins and other drugs were not passed along - or else measure for such items. Though the study found that using urine does not carry any harmful microbes or risk of disease, the researchers did caution that care should be exercised to avoid direct contact between urine-based fertilizer and the plants themselves.

Sources included:

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf9018917
http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=p-is-for-plants-human-urine-plus-as-2009-09-04
http://www.permaculture.org.nz/node/315
http://financialnewsexpress.blogspot.com/2009/09/agricultural-economic-news-update_11.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1214346/Urinating-tomato-plants-fruit-times-larger.html
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/DyeHard/food-crop-fertilizer-features-gulp-human-urine/story?id=8517396

About the author

Tony Isaacs is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health including Cancer's Natural Enemy.  Mr. Isaacs articles are featured at Natural News, the Health Science Institute's Healthiertalk website, CureZone, the Crusador online, AlignLife, the Cancer Tutor, the American Chronicle and several other venues. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. In addition, he hosts the Yahoo Oleandersoup Health group of over 2000 members and the CureZone Ask Tony Isaacs - Featuring Luella May forum. Mr. Isaacs and his partner Luella May host The Best Years in Life Radio Show on the Wolf Spirit Radio Network.

 

    

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