The bees in our garden went crazy this week! The garden is alive with sound and the tagasate right at our door is literally alive with the sound and movement of bumble bees, honey bees, bell birds and tui. The life is returning to this land which was a sheep farm paddock, where the grass had a brix of 2 …5 years ago!
I’ve had a few questions about using urine… firstly I recommend going back and checking out the research paper, we have found it very useful here.
My only hesitation is that if we apply more urine (containing nitrogen) than the carbon/humus in the soil can absorb, it could become a highly water soluble pollutant in the water ways etc. That is why I always add a carbon source which holds the nitrogen and other minerals in the root zone until the plant roots or microbes ask for it!
A lot of research has been done using humates as the carbon source and it seems clear that humates are able to grab and hold minerals pretty much instantly, where as using biochar is more of an unknown (because it has come on to the scene far more recently) unless it is urine that is being used. Biochar is known to absorb the minerals in urine far more easily and faster than any other nutrient source I know of at this point. Biochar can easily be made at home, and I’m not buying fertiliser, so biochar it is and I’m charging it with urine as the base of my fertiliser program, which critically also includes compost containing all our humanure as well as all of the carbon from the Biointensive vege garden.
I understand that recycling the deficiencies will not build soil or grow nutrient dense food so I am adding comfrey and alfalfa (dynamic accumulators of many minerals) to the compost as well as biochar, bone char, clay, pottery shards, seaweed, leaves from trees known to accumulate calcium (dogwoods, and oaks) and phosphate (Tilia spp and cassurina), as well as limited cow manure and compost from the chicken house. Key crops we grow for carbon are also calcium and phosphate accumulators .. lupins and oats…
I found this chart recently and I love it because it shows clearly what the carbon nitrogen ratios are for various ingredients, when choosing compost materials.
We aim for making compost with a 60:1 carbon nitrogen ratio, which means 6 parts mature material (gone to seed then dried, high carbon) to 1 part immature material (lower carbon higher nitrogen)
For more details on compost making see The Art of Compost making Booklet