Peak Phosphorus

Mon, 10/22/2012 - 15:21 — Compost Stu

My chooks did a weird thing this morning. As I sat and went through my morning routine on the loo, two chooks came over and prostrated themselves at the foot of the stairs to the loo. They looked up at me as if to say, here I am, come and get it!!! They were sort of one wing out, head down and bum up, a very enticing pose for a rooster perhaps. I laughed and the dog came over and scared them off, but I think I better get them a rooster before they mate with a rampant bush turkey or something even weirder.
As spring also works its magic on the vegetative part of my world, I’m starting to think about helping things along and adding the various concoctions I make to the web of life. Nutrients, bacteria and fungi in healthy amounts for all my lovely fruit trees. Nitrogen and Potassium are easy enough get hold of, but what about the Phosphorus?
Phosphorus or P is a finite resource that has traditionally been used to grow the worlds food supply, since without some form of nutrient re-balancing in the way of fertilizer, the world would starve quite quickly. We have been digging up P rock reserves for over a hundred years and it won’t last forever. Peak P production is expected to occur in around 20 years, and after then, it will be harder and more expensive to extract, putting pressure on prices and supply. Already, there has been a 700% price hike in P over a 14 mth period (Lewis, 2008). Since there are no easy alternatives to large scale P production, we must prepare ourselves now to adapt to changes that will and must come in our lives and (especially) our children’s lives.
Luckily our Pee has P in it. We excrete about 0.75kg of P every year, enough to grow 250kg of grain with, and most of us just flush it down the toilet. In the not too distant future, this will become unthinkable, so lets get the mind set early and beat the rush. There are plenty of ways to separate and re-use your own urine as a fertilizer. From a fancy flush bidet to a bucket in your bedroom, there’s a solution to meet all needs. Peeing on a tree is probably the simplest way, and its true the citrus loves it. A more elegant way is to use a purpose built pedestal with a bucket full of sawdust under it that gets exclusively used for pee. Pooh Solutions currently offer such pedestal for sale at an entirely reasonable price, complete with sawdust. Our philosophy is waste not, want not and when things get tight, there’s nothing wrong with taking the piss…..for you’ll want not for healthy gardens and fruit trees.

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