2cents
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Urea 46

Help !
Can someone please explain the benefits and cautions of using Urea in a vegetable garden. Particularly during the season.
Will most of it just eveporate?
What will this do to PH and our little microbe friends?

TZ -OH6
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The little microbial friends use it just like the plants do. Whenever an animals urinates in the woods both plant roots and microbes compete for it. They may not like having a chunk of it (solid fertilizer) touching them, but once it dissolves and dilutes, their population will grow. Burning is not really a problem if you top dress with it on the surface and water it in well or wait for rain. Application to the soil as a granular fertilizer tends to dilute it from soil moisture and any spot burning of microbes is short term and more than made up for later. It is also a component/ingredient in musthoom compost (used to grow mushrooms).

https://extension.oregonstate.edu/news/story.php?S_No=28&storyType=garde


Urea can be taken in by leaves or roots and is broken down by the urease enzyme in both places. Foliar application can burn foliage if not done correctly but give faster results so is used by this way farmers needing a quick nitrogen fix.


Crops such as tomatoes are often side dressed with nitrogen fertilizer (such as urea) after fruit set because if it is done before it will increase vegetative growth and decrease flowering.


It is artificially made by the Haber Process using natural gas and atmospheric nitrogen as raw materials.

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jal_ut
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Urea 46 is a good source of nitrogen. Use it to side dress your crops mid season. It works wonders on corn.

Caution it is powerful stuff. Do not get it directly on the plants it will burn them. Do not over apply. You can easily kill the plants with kindness with Urea 46. Urea is a natural occuring substance, but the product Urea 46 is synthesized commercially. Many gardeners will use it and avoid the other products like ammonium nitrate and ammonium sulfate.

Apply before you water, or before a rain.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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TZ, You surprise me sometimes. Not many people are aware or knowledgeable about the "Haber Process" in making nitrate fertilizers and explosives. I try to use organics in my garden as the primary nutrition source, but will occasionally use some nitrates as a side dressing. I always laugh when I use it because I know other people are doing the same thing not knowing they are essentially spreading natural gas (in a converted form) onto their gardens. It really is good stuff. Even if they like to pay more for their nitrates and buy it in a brand name like Miracle Grow, it is the same stuff, made in the same nitrate plant as the cheaper stuff.

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rootsy
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Urea is highly volatile and if you don't apply before a rain you will lose nitrogen into the atmosphere as it reacts with water in the air to form ammonium + carbon dioxide.

It is best to incorporate if possible and allow it to react with moisture in the soil and bind with the clay particles. If you broadcast it on top do it before an impending rain event so that it will be washed down into the soil.

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I like to be well informed about what my gardening actions do to the planet as a whole.

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farmerlon
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Re: Urea 46

2cents wrote:...Can someone please explain the benefits and cautions of using Urea in a vegetable garden. Particularly during the season.
Will most of it just eveporate? ...
Personally, I would use compost/manure instead of a chemical fertilizer like Urea 46. I think a natural nitrogen source makes for a healthier soil, and tastier veggies.
Some folks don't agree with that, and that's fine for them; I just know what works for me. :)

If you are using Urea 46, it has a better chance of being absorbed into the soil when conditions are wet/moist, and temps are cooler. You're likely to have a lot more of it "evaporate" away (volatilization) during dry/hot Summer conditions.

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rootsy
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The benefit of urea is that it is 46% nitrogen by weight... (100 lbs of 46-0-0 = 46 lbs of nitrogen). It is very difficult to achieve that kind of nitrogen value with compost, especially in the short term.

Nitrogen will create a lot of green matter growth. Urea is probably best left to plants that make a lot of green matter such as corn, melons, pumpkins, squash, etc.

As an example, an acre of sweet corn typically will have fertilizer applied either through broadcast, incorporation, side dressing, dry or liquid fertilizer to achieve 150 - 200 lbs of nitrogen / acre.

tedln
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jal_ut wrote:
I like to be well informed about what my gardening actions do to the planet as a whole.
Your garden and actions are so miniscule compared to the "plantet as a whole", as to be inconsequential.
I agree with you with a few exceptions. Some pollutants have the ability to penetrate the ground and pollute the sub surface water table. That can effect you or your next door neighbor. Another exception is air pollution. Living in North Texas, near DFW; we have many people negatively effected by auto exhaust and other air pollutants.

I don't think most of the commercial fertilizers have negative effects unless they become runoff into reservoirs resulting in algae blooms. Most pesticides have short active lives. Those that retaine their effects for long periods like DDT have been removed from the supply chain.

In my opinion, the largest danger from pesticides available to the home gardener; is the negative effect it may have on the natural order.

Ted
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When you use Google Earth or any mapping website with satellite view, and look at your own property, you (or at least *I*) realize just how tiny your (my) little corner of Earth, really is. Then you zoom out and see your (my) tiny corner duplicated, and multiplied, and multiplied.... That's all I have to say.

ETA: ... I came back and almost deleted this post using my mod's privilege. But I thought about it and decided to let it stay. It's a bit uncharacteristic of me, but I just watched the movie AVATAR again on Blue-Ray with my kids yesterday. If you haven't seen the movie, I HIGHLY recommend it....

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"I like to be well informed about what my gardening actions do to the planet as a whole"...so that I can argue with people who see things as black and white. Knowledge is power.

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I think this discussion started with the use of urea fertilizer. While I attempt to grow my garden as naturally as possible. Situations arise when I need some fast acting nitrogen. That can most effectively be delivered with the use of small amounts of high nitrogen commercial fertilizer. I've read a lot of posts from people warning of the dangers of salt build up in their soil from the fertilizer. I monitor the health of the critters in my garden like earth worms. I have never seen a problem occur when commercial fertilizer is used appropriately. You probably have a higher danger of "salt build up" from the evaporation of the water in your garden than from the fertilizer.

While I don't use pesticides in my garden, I don't really have a problem with folks who do. My thing is I don't want to eat veggies which may have residual pesticides in or on them. I do think it is pretty wise for folks who use pesticides to educate themselves on the long term effects on the biological order of things when we simply throw a pesticide at a problem.

In the southern states, we have a little critter called a fire ant. They are an unwelcome visitor from south of the border which has decided to stay. They have no natural control predator as do native ants. They can kill a newborn calf. They can ruin your child's life for about a week if the child gets a lot of stings. They love to set up residence in electrical devices and wall plugs in your home causing shorts and electrical fires. Many pesticides are available which control fire ants well, long term. They have been removed from the market because they work well for a long time. It is okay for them to work well. It is not okay for them to work for a long time. I walk my property weekly looking for fire ant beds and throwing some specific pesticides at them which last for about one week. When I see my neighbors doing the same thing, I don't feel at all guilty about using a pesticide. I will accept the danger of the pesticide over the harm of the fire ants any day.

Ted
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farmerlon
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rootsy wrote:The benefit of urea is that it is 46% nitrogen by weight... (100 lbs of 46-0-0 = 46 lbs of nitrogen). It is very difficult to achieve that kind of nitrogen value with compost, especially in the short term.

Nitrogen will create a lot of green matter growth. Urea is probably best left to plants that make a lot of green matter such as corn, melons, pumpkins, squash, etc.

As an example, an acre of sweet corn typically will have fertilizer applied either through broadcast, incorporation, side dressing, dry or liquid fertilizer to achieve 150 - 200 lbs of nitrogen / acre.
Everything that you said is true.
However, should I assume that you're suggesting the Urea for a "large scale" or "commercial" crop, :?: ... since you reference applying up to 200 lbs of nitrogen per acre.

2cents asked about using the Urea in a vegetable garden. So, I guess the point I want to make [respectfully :D ] is that it is very practical to supply the nitrogen needs of typical "garden sized" plots of Corn (etc...) through the use of compost. So, applications of Urea may not be necessary in that setting.

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rootsy
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farmerlon wrote:
rootsy wrote:The benefit of urea is that it is 46% nitrogen by weight... (100 lbs of 46-0-0 = 46 lbs of nitrogen). It is very difficult to achieve that kind of nitrogen value with compost, especially in the short term.

Nitrogen will create a lot of green matter growth. Urea is probably best left to plants that make a lot of green matter such as corn, melons, pumpkins, squash, etc.

As an example, an acre of sweet corn typically will have fertilizer applied either through broadcast, incorporation, side dressing, dry or liquid fertilizer to achieve 150 - 200 lbs of nitrogen / acre.
Everything that you said is true.
However, should I assume that you're suggesting the Urea for a "large scale" or "commercial" crop, :?: ... since you reference applying up to 200 lbs of nitrogen per acre.

2cents asked about using the Urea in a vegetable garden. So, I guess the point I want to make [respectfully :D ] is that it is very practical to supply the nitrogen needs of typical "garden sized" plots of Corn (etc...) through the use of compost. So, applications of Urea may not be necessary in that setting.
Whether commercially or on a smaller scale, corn of any genetic type needs a certain amount of nitrogen to achieve full maturity and seed development. If you have 1/4 acre of sweet corn them apply 50 units of nitrogen uniformly... roughly just over 100 lbs of urea...

This is all in addition to a soil structure with good PH balance and "average" N-P-K and micro levels... Corn is a heavy feeder and will suck nutrients from soil...

If you want to know exactly how much to apply on a per acre basis then take a soil sample and have an analysis done. Then go see your local agronomist and tell them your plans and get their recommendation for what to apply and how much.

Too much nitrogen won't hurt... Too little will result in smaller yields. While insignificant probably to very small scale it makes a real dent as you increase size...

if you can get your hands on it locally I would suggest a 10-34-0 or 11-52-0 as a starter... You generally only find this in bulk liquid and solid from commercial farm centers... The high phosphorous numbers really help establish a good root system and emergence... Some sulfur in the mix aids in nitrogen uptake by the plant. One of the reasons AMS (Ammonium Sulfate - 21-0-0-24) is used as a herbicide adjuvant. It softens the water and aids the herbicide to be more effective because the solution wets out better on plant surfaces and promotes uptake.

Be careful side dressing with AMS as the main nitrogen source. Too much sulfur can result in an acidic (lowering of ph) condition to develop.

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Thank you all.
I've got a plot of 50 sq. ft.
2 fall/winters agos this area received 6-8 inches of UCG.
Last year the plants did poorly in this area.
The worst portion, I dug out 4-6 inches (?5-6 wheel barrows?) and amended with my typical old leaves/leaf mold and covered with an inch of dirt.
Again this year the same area is not growing(nearly full sun).
So I bought a cheap $5 soil test kit.
PH 7-7.4
High P & K
Off the chart low on Nitrogen.

Sorry for the long story.
I try to stay organic, but..........
How do I fix what is planted there (peppers, our big bells/mangos).
They aren't dying, just no growth.

A buddy with an awesome looking green garden says urea 46 which is at the local garden center.

Any and all advise is welcome.

MDW says piss on it :lol: ........yes she was raised on the farm :D
So anything is a go with her, as long as it doesn't attract too many flies. :)

We are in a 1950's suburb on 1/2 acre, so most neighbors have gardens or are vegetable curious.(they like what we share). The reason I bring this up, is I get litttle to no complaint when I bring in cow or horse manure.

Again any advise for the immediate and long term fix.

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Off the top of my head, I thought corn gluten meal might fit the bill as long as you don't need to grow anything from seed for at least 6 weeks.... It doesn't help with the pH so there might be something else that can do both though....

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2cents wrote: So I bought a cheap $5 soil test kit.
PH 7-7.4
High P & K
Off the chart low on Nitrogen.
I wouldn't rely on one of those "cheap" home-test kits. I would suggest having the soil tested at your local County Extension office. That usually costs less than $10.00, and (I hear) is even free in some places... that County test will supply you with much more accurate information.

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farmerlon
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2cents wrote:... I get litttle to no complaint when I bring in cow or horse manure.

Again any advise for the immediate and long term fix.
If you have access to cow/horse manure, that would most certainly be my first choice for a nitrogen source.
For immediate results, you can side-dress with the manure, or incorporate it as you hill the corn. And, I think the long term benefits to your soil are many.

Can you tell that I'm not a "chemical fertilizer" kinda' guy? :lol:
I'm not trying to start any arguments, I'm just sharing what works for me... everyone has to decide what works for themselves.

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But to the extent that the soil test is accurate, it is saying your soil is alkaline. Alkaline soil can lock up the nutrients so they are less available. So along with increasing the nitrogen (how ever you like to do that, the urea, or urine, grass clippings, blood meal, cottonseed meal, compost, composted manure, etc) you need to work on acidifying your soil. This can be done with sulfur, peat moss, pine needles, putting vinegar in your water, etc.

Here's an article about acidifying your soil:

[url=https://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1560-e.pdf]acidifying soil[/url]
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applestar
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I was trying to think of amendments that wouldn't raise the other values (P and K). Isn't cow manure high in P? (That was my reason for not recommending Alfalfa meal, which is my usual first pick for N....) Also, my understanding is that if the soil is alkaline, we want to go fungal (if we're thinking organic gardening, that is). Hmm... maybe bran... (I'll have to check). Mushroom compost? (but that's high in something else that I can't remember, salts?).

Of course, if the test kit is off, then there's no point in trying compensate accordingly.... :roll:

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I typically don't get manures this time of year.
Usually it is by the truck load in fall.

Rainbow,
Would the low alkalinity cause the 7-7.4 be much of a difference maker.
Or are you thinking the test kit is not likely to be very accurate? And since it is the first time using it, It may not be easily interpretted? The second I can definitely relate to....An accurate interpretation of the result would be better if I had used this product dozens of times.

Is Urea a commercial product we hear so many cautions about?
What is the salt thing people worry about using commercial products?
What will happen to my soil short and long term?

I was trying to get away from some of the manure, believing UCG were some sort of super solution(nitrogen infussion). This part of the garden likely didn't get any other manure/nitrogen for last 2 years. And the old compost pile was neglected, while I was building up a HugelKulture bed.

This fall I will certainly be amending the area with manures.......I would like some chicken if anyone knows a cheap source in SW Ohio.

But, what do i do now....The quick fix and how will it marry with the long term manure solution?

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applestar
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2cents, were you part of the book club group that was reading Teaming with Microbes? I really think that would be a place for you to start. I realize you want a fix, but what would ultimately accomplish the best outcome is to re-establish the natural balance in your soil and your garden.

I don't really agree that manure is necessarily the BEST cure. (In fact, I'm looking at manure with deep suspicion now-a-days) As you have found out with UCG, too much of any one amendment (artificial correction) can over-balance nature's ability to regroup and recover. It's a good idea to keep in mind too, that almost anything that is available has a downside that would be multiplied.

OK, I know what *I* would add right now, given the situation -- earthworms, earthworm castings, or under-the-manure/compost-pile dirt loaded with soil denizens. Apply in small portions throughout the affected area. Let them do their thing and multiply.

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I think Urea 46 is much better than Ammonium Nitrate. Urea is much less of a problem in hot weather than Ammonium Nitrate. It is very easy to accidently kill your plants with Ammonium Nitrate in very hot weather. Once you over dose your plants there is no fixing the problem. I have never over dosed my plants with Urea. Urea is pretty close to double the nitrogen compaired to Ammonium Nitrate. I had an apple tree that made no apples for 18 year I followed all the instructions about growing apple trees but nothing worked until I decided to do my own thing and put a cup of Urea on the tree every weekend with water. That was the year the tree produced about 12 bushel of apples. It works best for me to mix about 1/2 cup of urea with 5 gallons of water then pour about 1 cup of water on each plant along with another quart of tap water. When the weather gets above 85 degrees F I never put nitrogen on my plants. Corn does much better with Urea because the plants love nitrogen.

The Haber Process is an improved process used during the civil war to make potassium nitrate for gun power. The improved Haber Process works much better than the old way of Urine + orgainic material + wood ashes, age about 1 year then wash with water then evaporate the water to get pure potassium nitrate. It has been years since I have read about this so I may have some of my facts mixed up a bit. Improved process was, save Urine about 3 months until it sours then add wood ash age 2 weeks then wash with water and evaporate the water to get pure potassium nitrate. Haber Process used nitrogen from the air, iron and heat, steam recycled through a loop to make ammonia.

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