Peculiar way to activate compost

Westbrook, CT(Zone 6a)

According to the BBC (quoted on pg 12 of Fine Gardening's August 2010 issue), male gardeners at Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, are being encouraged to urinate on a bale of hay instead of using the loo. The urine in the so-called "pee-bale" is supposed to naturally activate the composting process. Why only male gardeners? Aside from the obvious reason, it is supposed to be "a bit of fun" and "the male stuff is apparently less acidic". Another benefit is that" Wimpole Hall expects to reduce its daily water use by up to 30 percent".

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

KInd of hilarious, Don! Without getting too sexist, I have noticed that males (gardeners or not!) do seem to enjoy "marking their territory," which process is a lot easier if you are of the male persuasion.
Whether the resultant male-engendered compost-activator is more acidic--well, I'm not a chemist and can't answer.
And how can Wimpole Hall expect to reduce its daily water use. . . . no, don't tell me.


There is no difference in the average pH between males and females.
A great idea to add urea to a high carbon source like hay

Frankfort, KY(Zone 6a)

I read some place a male urinates 144 gal. a year, now that's a lot of beer ^^_^^

North Ridgeville, OH(Zone 5b)

I suspect that the men are encouraged to pee on the hay bale for mechanical reasons. We have a much easier time with, er, "aimed fire" since we don't have to be over our targets to hit them.

Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

Hmm... I don't think this would be a good idea for anyone on medication. From what I understand, local municipalities have difficulty removing medications from our drinking water - I would be concerned that medicines would contaminate our food supply if added directly to the ground in which we garden.

We girls could pee discreetly into a bucket first LOL!


You are correct Honeybee--they have found Prozac in Salmon in the PNW.
That's incredible.

Centennial, CO(Zone 5a)

LOL, you won't catch me peeing in the garden for ANY reason, with or without a bucket! I think Wimpole Hall might reduce their water use because those who use the hay bale don't have to flush. I just hope the "pee bale" is in a remote location (pee yew!).

Kirkland, WA(Zone 7b)

I wish i could teach my dogs to go on the bales...

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

any drugs in my garden could be placed where they'd do no harm, and I think would mostly stay there, at least more so than if I let them 'fly'
and don;t these molecules of drugs ever break down?

Greeley, CO(Zone 5b)

Thanks all, I needed a good laugh. Although my 12 year old thinks I am disgusting for laughing at this. Unfortunately I don't think I could get my DH to go outside and pee on my pile. I guess I will have to do without.

Kalispell, MT(Zone 4b)

I have 3 oramental grasses off my (remote) front porch. I have for the last several years urinated on one bunch and that bunch is over 2 times the size of the others. Same sun exposure just rich with amonia broken down from the urates. The use of mens is related to the hormones (and plumbing) in the urine that is a serious effect in the natural world. Also female dogs have a product in the urine that male dogs do not have and it "burns" the grass.

Marshfield, MA

My name is John and I pee on the compost heap. Why not? I haul in plenty of stuff much fouler and it saves a lot of water. On a tour of Pompie last year the guide said that the rule of the day in Roman times was " save your urine" and there were collection places. Yes I know it's odd.....

Granted woman don't have it as easy for the most part but a "green" thinking male should NEVER pee in the house dependent on your neighborhood of course. Been telling the family for years that " If it's yellow, let it mellow".

1.5 gallons of water to flush urine is as much of a shame as putting water in plastic bottles to sell.

Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

"is as much of a shame as putting water in plastic bottles to sell. "

Thank you for adding that part, Rotted Roots. I'm happy to see someone else who believes that, too.

And ditto on peeing on the compost (or outside). A dilution of 10:1 (pee:water) makes a great nitrogen additive to the gardens!


Centennial, CO(Zone 5a)

Believe it or not, the Ancient Romans used that collected urine for laundry:

Marshfield, MA

lisabees. I'm thinking them Romans were whacky!!

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I've learned so much from this thread:

1. Don't mess with a woman's pee -- you'll get burned.
2. Don't mess with the woman's laundry -- you'll get burned.
3. Don't let the neighbors see you peeing on the pile -- you'll get burned.
4. Don't drink water in plastic bottles -- you'll get burned.

Zionsville IN, United States

I saw this (pee post) a month or so ago and had a good laugh.
Then, after a little research I decided to test it.
(I have made "pee free" compost for more than 50 years.

This year the heap is 4' by 5' by 15'.
I use grass clippings, garden refuse, peelings and vegetable trimmings, hedge clippings, and straw in 6 to 8 in. layers over the working pile.

I capture nearly all my urine, mix a quart or two in a 5 gallon bucket with a 2 or 3 cups of alfalfa pellets and let it set for a few days.

Apply it with a pitcher, either splashing it over the top surface or poke holes in the pile about 18in. on center and pour a quart in each hole.
It cuts my time for finished compost more than in half,

Usually a new section of my pile will be @ 165 degrees in a few hours.
I have recorded 172 degrees on occasion..

I will peeing in a jug as long as I am able to garden gardening.

Lee Clark

Wake Forest, NC(Zone 7b)

Kayte - I could teach my dog to go on bales if I wanted to. First you have to say "pee pee" or another standard phrase whenever your dog pees. After a day or so, give him/her a treat (maybe just one dog food kibble will work - depends on how food conscious your dog is) after each success. Soon, you can say the phrase and your dog will go on command. Then walk your dog over the the bale and say pee pee. Only reward if the dog uses the bale.
A female dog would have to be taught to jump up on top of the bale first. Also an easy trick to train.

Wake Forest, NC(Zone 7b)

Lee Clark - I want to hear what happened when your post is published in the local newspaper.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)


Marshfield, MA

Are you sure your facinated Gymgirl?? I sense a bit of sarcasm that could be the direct result of too much bottled water while at the gym. You know that stuff can kill you. I did have a bottle a couple of days ago and it said right on the label. "Smaller cap greener bottle"

Wake Forest, NC(Zone 7b)

I wonder if pouring urine on my worm pile will make them all pack up and leave. I will surely try it on another pile in the Fall, when I have some leaves and get some alfalfa pellets. I have a neighbor whose yard service provides me with large plastic bags of leaves.

Lee, I certainly hope you realized I was just kidding you. After I re-read your post and mine, I was afraid I sounded like I was admonishing you.


Marshfield, MA

A thought that will live forever... I will be peeing in a jug for as long as I am able. Only a gardener.(sigh). I'm just messing Lee and my wife thinks I'm nuts when I say I have to go to the bathroom and run out the back door.
Rock ON Gardeners...

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I hate that the heat will kill or run my beautiful earthworms away...

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

OK, guys, Don't get too carried away with this, I know for a fact that dog pee can kill plants, its too concentrated and contains musks that are bad, and then, there are the DR's who advise you to drink your own piss diluted with water, too. Whew, that bale will go septic before it gets full, nasty, and the urea in piss dissipates rather rapidly anyway, leaving nothing you could use

Helena, MT

What would you like to bet that our foreign imported produce is human fertilized? You won't find any porta potties in Mexican farm fields, and how much of the produce we consume in this country comes from there???

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

You need to check out the health concerns Japan and China face from NOT keeping the septics out of their produce, and MANY of the food recalls are from mishandling of the produce that comes from Mexico-items like those old boys pissing in the food boxes and closing them back down, not in the fields where at least irrigation can dilute some of it, never concentrated into one spot and used to regrow food items. Those boys have the poisons and fertilizers crawling in their blood because some things DO NOT wash out of the body, they are there permanently. Human waste has the leads and impurities that are not good for plants. There are regs in place when stuff comes from over the borders or we wouldn't know where and when to recall items....btw, you don't usually see porta potties in american farms either...

Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

btw, you don't usually see porta potties in american farms either...

You do in California, specifically in the farm fields around the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas Valley.
Don't mean to be confrontational :-) but l just returned from a visit to the place I called home for 30 years.

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

Ahhh, but you are talking abt Ca!!! whole new can of worms, very commercialized in the valley, regs enuff to jail you if you smoke outside, for instance. They reallly don't do things the same way there. My dad lives in Escondido, it is kind to him at 79 yrs of age, and he is still gardening aroun the back and sides of his home in less space than many have as a yard. Mass never leaves home apparently, the freeways go all the way across the state with no exits, no turn arounds. They must live totally locked on their side of the hwy all their life, and hostile to everyone from out of town, chuckle, you aren't arguing with me, I know every city has an ecology bubble all their own-like guinea pigs fed different diets to see how they grow. My fondest memories of Ca are the fruit trucks that show up at breaktimes and chop your selections as you watch, fresh. I don't have any fond memories of Mass other than the relief at leaving to larger skies...
Gymgirl if they died how would they return? They go deeper and wait, or find somewhere to settle til cooler weather.

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