Bone Meal Fertilizer. What is bone meal fertilizer? How to use bone meal fertilizer in the garden.
Gardening and harvesting crops from your plants are something that many of us enjoy each year as the weather warms and the need for fresh and vibrant produce is high.
Even if you are not harvesting a vegetable garden, maintaining beautiful flowers and trees on your property is done with essential nutrients through fertilizers. Trying to find the right type of fertilizer for your garden can be challenging, especially when your plants need that extra push to bloom.
Recently, bone meal fertilizer has been gaining a buzz in the gardening community and quickly climbing the ladder to the preferred fertilizer. If you are new to bone meal fertilizer and would like more information, stay tuned for the backstory and benefits that could be just what your garden needs.
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What is bone meal fertilizer?
While it does not sound appealing or carry a trendy name, bone meal fertilizer is straight to the point and full of nutrients.
This fertilizer is high in calcium and phosphorus, ideal for flower beds and gardens. With an abundance of nutrients in each bag, various plants can thrive with just a little help.
Bone meal has been used for centuries as a soil amendment in gardens.
What is in bone meal fertilizer?
Raw bones are the main ingredient in bone meal fertilizer.
All bones are known to store nutrients and be essential to the health of any animal. These bones come from animals harvested for their meat and then ground into the meal used in the fertilizer. This includes various animals such as cows, pigs, sheep, and any other animal harvested for food.
These bones carry the nutrients left in their bones inside the meal. When the bone meal is made, the bones are first boiled and have all fat and meat removed before being ground into a fine powder or meal and sealed for fertilizer distribution.
Bone meal fertilizer creates a useful product out of an otherwise unused portion of the animal.
Is bone meal fertilizer organic?
Because the bone meal does not carry any animal pathogens in its final stages, it is sterile and prepared organically.
There are no hormones in the fertilizer because all the meat has been removed and is made from strictly bone.
Having an organic fertilizer for your plants means that there are no added hormones to your garden or your plants, allowing them to grow naturally and produce completely healthy fruit and vegetables.
If you’re adding bone meal fertilizer to a vegetable or herb garden, you’ll be consuming the plant fertilized with the bone meal. Most gardeners that use bone meal choose to use it because it’s not packed with chemicals and hormones.
Benefits of Using Bone Meal in the Garden
When you purchase bone meal fertilizer for your garden, the benefits are plentiful, and you will see a different garden than you have in the past.
1. Excellent Source of Phosphorus
Phosphorus is something that all plants need when growing. Phosphorus is considered a macronutrient for plants. This means that plants require a large amount of phosphorus in order to grow and function properly. It’s involved with numerous processes in the plant.
While it is found in the soil, lots of it is lost when a certain area is planted and harvested. Areas that are not rotated for gardening lose the most phosphorus in their soil, and it needs to be added back as one of the key nutrients.
Since bone meal fertilizer is full of phosphorus and is also slow-releasing, it keeps the plants in that area fed for longer periods of time.
2. Contains Calcium
If you are a vegetable gardener looking to keep those harvested plants healthy, calcium nutrition is important. Blossom end rot, one of the most common tomato plant problems, stems directly from a lack of calcium.
While many farmers and gardeners take advantage of adding eggshells for calcium, the bone meal is full of this nutrient because it is stored in the bone of all the animals used in the process. A calcium deficiency in your plants could limit your harvest, so having a fertilizer with an abundant amount of calcium is essential.
3. Can Contain Nitrogen
Nitrogen is essential to healthy plants. This macronutrient is needed in large amounts by all plants, but it’s not naturally found in bone meal.
However, some bone meal fertilizers will have some nitrogen added to the fertilizer as an additive for your garden. Nitrogen is important to the growth of your plants and vegetables, so having it in the fertilizer is essential for gardeners when deciding on their fertilizer option.
4. Bone Meal is Perfect For Organic Gardening
So many fertilizers on the market today have ingredients that you cannot pronounce and include some unwanted chemicals in their fertilizer that organic gardeners are trying to get away from. Bone meal fertilizer is strictly animal-based and does not include anything but the ground meal to distribute as you see necessary.
With bone meal fertilizer, an organic gardener knows that they are naturally fertilizing and replenishing their garden with nutrients that could have otherwise been lost.
5. Bone Meal is a Slow-Release Fertilizer
The fact that bone meal is a slow-release fertilizer means that your garden will continue to be fed and nourished throughout the growing season. Many fertilizer options are water-based (like the popular Miracle-Gro) and are used to give plants a quick shot of nutrition.
Bone meal releases nutrients slowly, despite being a powdered form. This can allow for a more bountiful harvest and help the plants if your area suffers extreme conditions such as a drought where water and nutrients are hard to come by for a little while.
6. Bone Meal Improves Flowering Plants
Because of the natural nutrients in bone meal, the nutrients focus directly on the plant’s flower.
When your plants start to grow new flowers, the bone meal will naturally release more nutrients, maintaining the flowering quality of the plants. Ornamental flowers maintain their color and flowers longer with the use of bone meal fertilizer.
Vegetable plants that aren’t leafy vegetables will need healthy blooms in order to set fruit properly. Healthy blooms on a vegetable plant are just as important, if not more important, than the bloom quality on flowering plants used for ornamental reasons. After all, you’ll be eating the vegetables that come off of your vegetable plants… can you say the same about your ornamental plants?
Cons to Using Bone Meal as a Fertilizer
Despite the number of benefits offered by bone meal fertilizer, there are some cons to keep in mind when dispersing the fertilizer.
Not Suitable For All Gardeners, Farmers, and Customers
With bone meal fertilizer being an organic fertilizer option, there are not really any cons to it, except for it being completely animal-based.
While some gardeners may not find that a con, others living a vegan lifestyle would not find this fertilizer ideal because of how it is made. This does prevent a certain group of farmers and customers from taking advantage of this fertilizer and your produce.
If you frequent your local farmer’s market each year to sell excess produce, the large number of vegan customers walking around will question your fertilizer and choose to purchase from other vendors.
When using bone meal fertilizer, you can also attract unwanted wildlife to your garden area.
The pure essence of bone in the fertilizer is enough to draw your own dogs, the neighbor’s dogs, or wild coyotes up to your garden and flower beds. These animals will start digging in your garden, destroying plants, and upsetting the overall crop harvest. With coyotes usually roaming in packs, the damage from them could be much more extensive than a dog or two.
Remember, the bone meal fertilizer is made from ground-up bones, which can attract unwanted animals to your yard and garden.
Burning Your Plants
Bone meal fertilizer is a great product and one of those examples of ‘too much of a good thing.’
This fertilizer has a slow release of nutrients, so it does not need to be applied heavily to your garden. If you apply excessive amounts of bone meal fertilizer to your garden, you could easily burn your plants from excessive amounts of nitrogen and other nutrients. It is important to distribute this fertilizer moderately. A little bone meal will go a long way in your garden.
About one tablespoon of bone meal per gallon of soil is perfect for most plants.
How to Use Bone Meal on Plants
Before you apply bone meal to your garden, you need to have your soil tested and determine the pH level. Depending on the current nutrient level, how much or how little bone meal you distribute is important.
The pH level of the soil can also affect how well plants can take in bone meal and other fertilizers. If the pH of the soil is too high or too low for your plants, applying all of the fertilizer in the world won’t help. Make sure that the pH of the soil is right before adding fertilizers.
Pro-tip: Most vegetable plants like to be in soil that is slightly acidic, with a pH of around 6.
How to Use Bone Meal on Flowers
Bone meal is easy to use, even with fragile flowering plants.
You can work bone meal into the soil when you plant, or you can top-dress the soil with the bone meal and water it well to help draw it down into the soil. You can add it straight into the containers, mulch, soil or compost.
FAQs About Bone Meal Fertilizer
1. What plants benefit from the bone meal?
Bone meal fertilizer is great for the majority of plants. Due to the high phosphorus density in the fertilizer, root vegetables have the most success with this type of fertilizer. This includes onions, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, and turnips.
Root vegetables use phosphorus to grow a healthy root system and pull nutrients into the root portion of the plant.
2. What is bone meal fertilizer good for?
Bone meal fertilizer is good for having a long-term fertilizer feeder for your plants and vegetables. It balances the nutrients needs in the soil, and the slowly released nutrients maintain healthy plants and vegetables all season long.
Bone meal fertilizer is perfect for growing vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
3. Can too much bone meal kill plants?
You can be pretty generous with bone meal fertilizer. However, you may want to adjust how much you use based on your soil’s nutrient profile.
This is why a soil test is essential to determine how much phosphorus your soil needs and properly distribute the bone meal fertilizer evenly throughout the planting areas.
4. Where can you buy bone meal fertilizer?
Bone meal fertilizer can be found in most farm and garden supply stores or nursery centers. You can also order bone meal fertilizer on Amazon.
5. Can you make bone meal fertilizer at home?
Yes! Bone meal is made from cooked and then ground up bones. The process is actually simpler than you may think. For more information about making bone meal at home, watch the video below: