Gardening — Blood Meal

  What Is Blood Meal?

Blood Meal Graphic Blood meal is a slaughterhouse by product that is often used as a fertilizer due to its quick action and high nitrogen content. This substance can be purchased at most garden centers and nurseries and is frequently used in growing fruits and vegetables.

Blood meal and bone meal often get confused by amateur gardeners, but the 2 are actually quite different, since blood meal is high in nitrogen and bone meal is high in phosphorous. Gardeners interested in using this fertilizer on their crops need to learn how to use blood meal exactly right if they want to reap the full benefits from this organic plant food.

Blood Meal fertilizer is made of dried and powdered blood of animals (usually cattle), and is used as a nitrogen-rich fertilizer for plants.

  How Blood Meal Works

The proteins in this fertilizer are broken down to ammonia by soil bacteria and make it an effective source of nitrogen. Caution should be used though, when the weather is warm and the conditions are moist, the decomposition can be too rapid, which could damage delicate roots and harm the entire plant.

  Add blood meal to your garden soil to raise the nitrogen content

Adding Nitrogen to the Soil

Improves the soil for healthier vegetable crops. Because blood meal is water soluble, in can be dissolved in water to create a liquid fertilizer. Blood meal is particularly helpful in garden beds that are used year after year, because nitrogen can be depleted from the soil through the plants after repeated growth cycles.

  Use blood meal fertilizer on soil that you want to make more acidic

Blood meal effectively lowers the pH in the soil. To find out the acidity of your garden soil before applying blood meal, take a sample to the local nursery for analysis. If you find the pH in your soil is too high to efficiently grow the crops you want, blood meal may be the perfect way to prepare your soil for your planting.

  What To Watch For

Watch your plants for signs of nitrogen deficiency throughout the growing season. One telltale sign that your crops are not getting enough of this important nutrient is yellowing leaves. If your plants begin to look like they are not getting enough nitrogen in the soil, an application of blood meal fertilizer during the growing season can return leaves to their green hue once again.

To learn more about nitrogen deficiency, see: Fertilizer Basics

Learn how to use blood meal as a deterrent for some types of pests in your garden. This substance has been shown to be effective in keeping deer, rabbits and other pests away from garden beds during the growing season. However, blood meal fertilizer also attracts other types of critters, including dogs and raccoons. If you are interested in blood meal use as a deterrent, be sure the substance will actually keep away the specific animals you are currently dealing with.

Use blood meal fertilizer when your crops need immediate assistance. Blood meal is frequently used because it is one of the fastest acting fertilizers on the market today. A single application of blood meal is usually effective for 6 to 8 weeks before subsequent feedings are needed.

  Summary of Blood Meal Use

  Used to increase green leaf growth
  Can be used as a compost decomposition activator
  Do not use around seedlings
  Use only on non-legumes (peas and beans) plants
  When adding to your garden as a nitrogen source, always blend it into the soil
  Scattered around the garden for a deer repellent

Further Information:

 The Life Cycle of Plants: Fertilization
 The Spruce: How to Make Your Own Fertilizer
 Pollination and Fertilization
 4 Ways To Use Eggshells For Your Plants
 10 Ways to Use Banana Peels in Your Garden

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