Joe Lamp’l – Pioneer for Peeing in the Garden


First there's an article in Treehugger arguing that Peeing in Public is Green.  The author really means outdoors, and he regularly pees in his own yard – because why spoil perfectly good water and flush it away to be treated?  Gotta agree there, and it's high in phosphate and a great deer deterrent.  Problem is, his open-air whizzing may be hurting the plants in his yard.  According to this article, urine should never touch plants undiluted – 5:1 for most plants, 10:1 for sensitive ones.

Then look who's also repurposing his own pee – our buddy Joe, driven to such frugality by his $25 challenge.  Seems he can't afford deer fencing or sprays, so he's taken to sneaking out at night to pour pee around his garden – and it looks like it's been diluted.  (At least he demonstrates it coming from a bottle, not directly from the source, though at the end of the video he DOES confuse that issue, until the very end.)  Keep up the good work, Joe, and Compost Confidential indeed!


  1. What a coincidence. Trudi Temple advised us to do the same thing. She learned about it from a book entitled “Liquid Gold.” I’ve been planning to give this a try. I have a 10 yr old boy who would love to donate.

  2. Yep, Trudi was a Pee-oneer even before Joe! She’s convinced that it’s a wonderful tonic for plants; her enthusiasm had some of us thinking about trying it.

  3. Yes, it’s true folks,and knock on wood, so far so good. It’s been over two weeks since the first deer sighting and my nearly-nightly ritual has paid off. It sure would be easier to take the “short-cut” method to distribute that repellent but since my neighbor’s bedroom window looks out onto the garden, I’m playing it safe. And here’s another link to the video on youtube that provides the full image as the one above cuts off part on the right:

  4. We don’t have a deer problem, but it is good for your compost pile. My husband’s friends think I’m the coolest wife, because I “let” them pee on the compost pile.

    Like I want them tramping muddy shoeprints through my house to begin with!

  5. I can tell you corn is not one of the sensitive plants and is not harmed by a direct hosing. I don’t have trouble with deer. It was the raccoon I was hoping to deter. Meh! Not sure if it slowed the varmint down or not. He did leave me some corn.

  6. Hmmmm. Don’t know whether my husband can be recruited for this effort. I think 10-year-old boys are probably the perfect consultants here– just think! What fun, to be ASKED to spray.

  7. I’m sorry, I find this pretty repulsive. I’m all for water conservation, but if you want to do that, just don’t flush every time! Geez. Ew. Guys can be really gross sometimes.

  8. Urine doesn’t seem to deter deer around here. But then neither do the dogs.

    My suggestion is to fence your veggie garden and use Amy’s Wicked Plants as your guide for deer-resistant ornamentals.

    However, urine is a great way to speed the leaf pile along to leaf mold.

  9. I’m with Karen – this is repulseevo. If you want to conserve water, flush less often. Or install a toilet that use less water. Sanitary sewer systems were invented for a reason, guys. Peeing in public isn’t green, it’s just gross!

  10. I’m going to say this again: I have never, ever met a man that was completely house-broken. Men love to pee outdoors. I was going to write a column one time on why this is such a BAD idea, and guess what? I learned that human urine is clean, full of nitrogen, and the rest of the world thinks the US is really backwards for how we ‘putrify’ our liquid gold in our sewer systems, which ultimately goes back into our drinking water. The secret is depositing this on earth (or compost)… doing it on concrete or other solid, non-organic surfaces is what causes the odor. Flushing less often? Gross. Wasting 8 gallons of clean water every time we flush a toilet? Really, really gross.

  11. My dad used to pee in the drain in his workshop. My husband occasionally answer nature’s call in our fenced backyard if we’re enjoying a cocktail in the shade garden. But as a wise poster once said in another thread, “all things in moderation.” Call me crazy, but I’d guess there are plenty of folks in the rest of the world who would be thankful for our drinkable water supply, let alone our “backwards” sewer systems.

  12. That’s just disgusting, you guys. Really? Really and truly? Why not just fence the damn veggies off?

    And Christopher, eeeew. Did you eat your corn after peeing upon it? I am really grossed out.

    Thistleandthorn, my Toto toilet uses 1.8 gallons per flush. I never heard of a toilet, even and old skool one, using 8 gallons. Sheesh.

    I guess I’m easily shocked. I’ll find a friendly bush if I have to, but peeing on veggies isn’t enviro-cool, it’s just disgusting.

  13. Y’all are missing some of Joe’s main points. (did you WATCH the video?) 1) He’s doing this garden for under $25.00 total. No money for fencing. 2)He’s using his ‘natural resource’ around the perimeter of his garden, not on the veges… although if you read any humanure literature, there are numerous benefits of that when properly handled.
    Which is probably more than many city gardeners wish to contemplate, myself included.

  14. My husband has been surrounding our fenced in veggie garden for years! The fence keeps the big guys out – deer, turkeys, groundhogs, but his pee keeps the squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits away.

  15. I don’t wait to find a man. When I’m out working in the garden I’m apt to take a pee along the edge as a deer deterrent. Along with White Things. I admit I live in the country. No windows looking down on the garden.

  16. Sorry, Genevieve, I was reaching back into my (flawed) memory bank when I came up with the 8 gallons. A quick Google search reveals that an average flush takes ‘only’ 3 to 5 gallons. Good girl for using low-flow!

  17. Human pee is high in nitrogen, and comes out sterile as long as the person is not sick. So diluted it makes a great, cheap fertilizer.

  18. I agree with the post about urine soaked walls and corners in public stairwells etc.

    It may add some nitrogen to the soil but it stinks to high heaven.

    The TROLL

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