Posted on 20 September 2009 by

A Tomato Fertilizer to Ponder

tomato-heirloomBy Vanessa Richins

Many people are looking for natural ways that they can boost the production and nutrition of their plants.

In Finland, scientists have been studying the effects of using human urine on tomato plants.

Before you worry too much right off the bat about the possibility of diseases, I learned years ago in my microbiology studies that urine itself is naturally sterile, and no microorganisms are usually growing there unless fecal matter has been introduced.

Another benefit is that urine comes complete with the ingredients that are the basis of your standard fertilizers – N (Nitrogen), P (Phosphorus) and K (Potassium).

When they tested three different groups – a control with no fertilizer, one with standard fertilizer, and one with a mixture of urine and wood ash – they found that both methods of fertilizing made the plants produce 4.2 times as well as the tomatoes grown with no fertilizer.

As Popular Science explains, scientists in Finland “collected human urine during the winter of 2007-2008 from several eco-toilets in private homes. The urine was stored for about six months at 45 degrees F and tested for microbes and bacteria. The team mixed it with wood ash collected from a household furnace, and found the mixture was just as good as — or better than — conventional chemical fertilizer.

In taste tests, the urine-fertilized tomatoes tasted different from those fertilized with urine and ash, but tasters didn’t have a preference — “all tomato samples were evaluated as being equally good by the tasters,” the study says.”

It’s an intriguing idea, at least. Have you ever fertilized your tomatoes this way?

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