The Other (the real) Pee-Pee Dossier

children in field with cow
Do we really need to complicate simple systems that work ?


Panic over Fertilizer? Who, me?

Business Insider trumpets fertilizer shortage as being ‘at the heart of the pending food crisis’… ‘Surging fertilizer costs’, their writer tells us, ‘make it harder for farmers to earn a living, provide for their families, and feed the world…’

Even further out on a limb, ‘climate change’ has been used in Holland to justify new regulations banning nitrogen in fertilizer, to which Dutch farmers have responded with massive, sustained protests… Why? Nitrogen-rich fertilizer, they tell us, is essential to farming everywhere, and without it the industry will collapse…

Interestingly, restrictions on nitrogen in fertilizer have not been imposed in either of Holland’s neighbors, Belgium or Germany. Certain commentators (see an example at 14:00) assert that the crisis is, in fact, manufactured, springing from an ulterior motive (to facilitate an eventual land-grab by the Government when Dutch farmers become unproductive and cannot pay their taxes)…


<<4 Dec. 2022/BREAKING: Netherlands to shut down 3,000 farms>>


Whatever the truth may be, it is undeniable that (don’t blush!) with every flush of our toilets, we throw away valuable nutrients that came from our soils, transited our bodies (a process in which some of those nutrients transmuted to become flesh), with the balance, along with the rest of the body’s waste, being excreted in a logical cycle: Both the urine and the feces produced are precisely full of the nutrients so sorely needed to maintain the soil that gave us the food (fuel) in the first place. Having, for so long, failed to see and act on that logic, we are left, in our present system, with substantial, potentially dangerous, ‘pollution’ and dependent on chemical/industrial fertilizers… meaning, indirectly, fossil fuels (the ultimate ‘climate-change’ faux-pas).

And all this is happening whilst, at the same time, we observe in America (having seen no informed research from other continents) the apparent coincidence of an inordinate number of accidents and unexplained disruptive phenomena recently impacting food processing plants. Despite the emphasis on ‘inordinate’, mainstream media is not reporting this accumulation of ‘coincidences’ (which all contribute to putting strain on the supply of food to highly-urbanized populations).  Thus, we must turn to alternative news sources for facts, as, for example, here.   And, throwing still more oil on the fire of controversy, all this comes at a time when, due to ‘climate change concerns’ having curbed fossil fuel consumption and the war in the Ukraine limiting supply, the cost of transporting goods, particularly in the (dwindling) food distribution networks, is being forced into an upward spiral…

This is not a pretty picture. According to informed commentators, the situation is not predicted to improve much, if at all, whether we look at the short term (the Christmas and New Year’s 2022 retail season, so important to so many manufacturing companies and retail outlets), or at the long-term, with looming recession, due to so many badly-managed economic factors. And this is before even mentioning (which almost no one ever does) the steadily increasing effects of the Grand Solar Minimum on agriculture, which will not be back to ‘normal’ until around 2045…

Seen in this light, the first thing we want to know is, how will our indoor crops be impacted by the fertilizer shortage ? How are we, particularly, going to deal with the inevitable need for fertilizer to grow our indoor crops?

On this score, at least, we can rest assured that, thanks to Providence/Mother Nature/Our Benevolent Creator (take your pick), a solution already exists…  and was once exploited.  But since the Roman Empire (with the first WCs and sewer systems), it is a solution we are conditioned to find repugnant: plentiful, perfectly balanced, and cost-free or low-cost food for our soils… the logical link in a natural cycle that needs to regain a place in our mindsets, and to undergo a renaissance… just in the nick of time.


Turning valuable commodities into costly pollution



‘Liquid Gold’ and Humanure

In ancient times, people grew their vegetables with both these natural ingredients. Researchers estimate that a year’s supply of the urine and feces of a healthy person contain exactly the right nutrients in exactly the right proportions to feed the soil where the food will grow to feed that person for a year… How more adapted and providential can a solution be?

Our present sanitation system, based on flush toilets, sewage networks and treatment centers, consumes (and wastes) not only valuable resources in the matter treated, resulting in dependence on labor-intensive and polluting industrial fertilizers, but also utilizes vast quantities of water (needed for other applications), in a system that indisputably results in the risk of polluting land, groundwater, the oceans, and other waterways…



We could learn a thing or two about rational and sustainable sanitation from studying the system used for millennia in China (although eventually abandoned, with the advent of industrial fertilizers and the ‘Westernization’ of attitudes). Human urine and human dung were, in that system, valued resources and traded as commodities between China, Korea and Japan. Special boats and canal networks transported these ‘products’, regularly collected in clay jugs with air-tight lids (to avoid nasty odors and the risk of diseases, notably, cholera and typhoid fever). Outside Chinese cities, a thriving industry of waste management mixed these products with other organic waste and composted the result, to later be spread over the fields where crops were grown.

The Chinese system was highly organized and regulated to safely recycle human ‘waste’ while enriching agricultural soil. This system made feeding large populations possible without contaminating the water supply.

In fact, (from which all the following citations come) says, ‘…the grim sanitary conditions of the Middle Ages and the early Industrial Revolution were a purely western phenomenon. At the turn of the twentieth century in the East, the water in Chinese rivers was safe to drink…’

‘… The stools and urine were collected in terracotta jars, with air-tight seals. The matter was gathered from every home, from the tiny country villages to the great cities…’

Unfortunately, the Chinese at some point, fell prey to the notion that the flush toilet and ‘waste’ disposal via waterways was the ‘civilized’ solution. They eventually abandoned their sanitation system, that had lasted so long and worked so well, providing management and organizational as well as collection and transport jobs, all while producing the fertilizer that was vital for sustainable farming…

The Chinese system was ‘…killing two birds with one stone: no pollution of drinking water, and an agricultural system that could have lasted forever. In fact, it did last 4,000 years, which is considerably longer than even our most abundant resource – potassium, with 700 years of reserves – will allow…’

At the beginning of the 20th Century, ‘…every year in China more than 182,000,000 tonnes of human manure was collected in cities and villages – 450 kilogram (900 pounds) per person per year. This was good for a total of 1,160,000 tonnes of nitrogen, 376,000 tonnes of potassium and 150,000 tonnes of phosphate which was returned to the soil. In 1908 Japan, 23,850,295 tonnes of “humanure” was collected and given back to the soil…’

N.B.: The linked article at contains a wealth of information, historical and technical, on this subject, as well as accompanying (often historical) images, which the reader is highly encouraged to investigate. In fact, the sum of other articles presented, in addition to the site itself (solar-powered), are well worth researching.


Re-organizing sanitation?

While this brief overview of available information would make it seem that rationalizing society’s methods of sewage treatment would be a worthy endeavor, we are clearly not, individually, able to have much impact on such a fundamental inquiry into the way things are worldwide. Neither can we, or any other individual, affect the practices of an entire industry. But we can quickly and easily apply some of this knowledge to improving our own personal situations, particularly in regard to our indoor veggie crops.

In passing, we merely recognize that such a fundamental ‘re-think’ of the system in place is inevitable and unavoidable. We can only hope that those in charge will be up to the task.


Family Farming / Indoor Farming

Although there is certainly a potential for the application of ‘humanure’ on indoor crops, for me and my small family, I have decided to renounce this possibility, being perfectly satisfied that our needs will be met through the sole use of urine and the composting of kitchen scraps… However, for those who are interested, we provide, as a possible starting point for your additional research, a link to what seems to be the definitive guide, to get you going…

At the present state of development of my indoor crops, I feel confident that the application of urine alone will be sufficient to meet my family’s needs.

Precautions to take

  1. Available sources of information are pretty much in agreement: You will need to devise a urine collection system. This can be as simple as a ‘chamber pot’ limited to urine collection, with the contents funneled into a sealed jug (or jerrycan). As urine is sterile when it leaves the body of a healthy person, the stored urine presents no danger to health. You can also go a more sophisticated route by installing specially adapted toilets that allow for separating and controlling waste (urine and feces).
  2. Urine odors are controlled by collecting in air-tight containers, and, if necessary, by adding some white vinegar or baking powder.
  3. As your donor system is limited, you can monitor each participant. All sources agree that donors should be healthy and not under treatment with pharmaceutical drugs (residues of which are excreted in urine).
  4. Some sources of information advocate using urine immediately, other advise letting it ‘cure’ for at least two weeks, to avoid burning tender roots. Not every source of information feels there is a need to dilute the urine. My own experience is with diluting fresh urine with waste water from the kitchen (used to wash vegetables and the utensils used to prepare them for cooking, which additionally contains scraps of vegetable matter, as well as the dibs and dabs of coffee that remain in cups, as well as the used grounds).


The reader is encouraged to do personal research and experimentation.

Up to now, my experimentation with urine as fertilizer has mostly been limited to my outdoor decorative, flowering plants. And the results have been truly spectacular: abundant, luxuriant foliage and quantities of flowers. And my two (outdoor) physalis spindly stalks have ‘exploded’ since planted in July into a massive bush of many stalks that now need to be trimmed to keep growth ‘manageable’.   And it’s covered in flowers and fruit that will be harvested come March… My neighbors (who all know much more about growing than I do) remain in awe, as I keep my secret to myself…

However, I share it now with you, to (I sincerely hope) the benefit of you and your family.

Cheers to all !