Clandestine tomato plant fertilizing device: the Bed Pan Guitar. Image credit: Photobucket, by turquoisemoleeater
Now that my tomatoes are done producing for 2009, like all the other gardeners I know, I am planning to do better in 2010. Priority #1 for next year is to order the tomato plants from a small company that does not spread tomato blight to its customers. (Reminder to self: do not buy plants from home and garden stores.) Priority #2 is balance out the added cost for plants with reduced expenditures on other inputs - for example, to eliminate synthetic nitrogen fertilizer entirely and replace with pee. There are data to support the utility and healthfulness of that practice.The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has published the results of successful field trials, where, in one of the test plots, the only inputs were nitrogen from urine, supplemented with wood ash to meet the mineral requirements.
In addition to added compost, I've been supplementing with wood-ash for three years now, and have just noticed some signs of nitrogen deficiency; so, "pee" trials may be undertaken in 2010. Choice of application technology remains a challenge, however. Guitar practice in the garden (as pictured) may get few barrs.
For a high-level summary of the science, have a look at Tomatoes thrive on urine diet, from SciDev.net.
Surendra Pradhan, an environmental biology researcher at the University of Kuopio, Finland, and colleagues gave potted tomato plants one of three treatments: mineral fertiliser, urine and wood ash, urine only, and no fertiliser. Urine is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.I know my family won't go for the jerry can, which is why the clandestine bed pan guitar had some appeal.
Yields for plants fertilised with urine quadrupled and matched those of mineral-fertilised plants. The urine-fertilised tomatoes also contained more protein and were safe for human consumption.
"This is a very simple technology. Urine can be collected in a urine-diverting toilet or it can be collected in a separate jerry can [from] an ordinary, pre-existing toilet.I'm still searching; so pass on those application ideas, please.
Not for everyone.
As a general precaution, it would not be a good idea for persons taking prescription or illicit drugs to pee on the tomato plants - even indirectly. That rules out...OK, interesting thought, but I'm not going there.
Harvest the full research paper here.
More tomato fertilizer posts here.
Free Nitrogen Fertilizer for Tropical Agriculture?
Commercial Herbicide Ruining UK Vegetable Gardens..
Organic vs Local at Whole Foods