Gardening — Bone Meal
Organic gardening brings benefits to both you and the plant. In order to achieve
the lush, productive garden of your dreams, you'll likely have to amend the soil
to add the nutrients that ornamental and edible plants need to thrive.
Bone meal fertilizer is often used by organic gardeners to add phosphorus to
garden soil, but many people who are unfamiliar with this organic soil amendment
may wonder, “What is bone meal?” and “How to use bone meal on flowers?”
Keep reading below to learn about using bone meal for plants.
Bone meal fertilizer is essentially what it says it is. It is a meal or powder
made from ground up animal bones, normally beef bones, but they can be
the bones of any animal commonly slaughtered. The bone meal is steamed
to increase its availability for plants.
Because bone meal is made from mostly beef bones, some people wonder
if it is possible to get BSE (also known as Mad Cow Disease) from handling
bone meal. This is not possible. First, the animals that are used for making
bone meal for plants are tested for the disease and cannot be used for any
purpose if the animal is found to be infected. Second, the process that is
used to produce bone meal kills any kind of pathogens, like BSE, that the
animal may have had.
1. Bone meal fertilizer is used to increase phosphorus in the garden. Most
bone meal has a NPK of 3-15-0. Phosphorus is essential for plants in order
for them to flower. Bone meal phosphorus is easy for plants to take up.
Using bone meal will help your flowering plants grow bigger and more
2. Before adding bone meal for plants to your garden, have your soil tested.
The effectiveness of bone meal phosphorus drops significantly if the pH
of the soil is above 7. If you find that your soil has a pH higher than 7,
correct your soil’s pH first before adding bone meal, otherwise the bone
meal will not work.
3. Once the soil has been tested, add bone meal fertilizer at the rate of 10 pounds
for every 100 square feet of garden that you are amending. The bone meal will
release phosphorus into the soil for up to four months.
4. Bone meal is also useful for balancing out other high nitrogen, organic soil
amendments. For example, rotted manure is an excellent source of nitrogen
but it tends to lack significant amounts of phosphorus. By mixing bone meal
fertilizer in with rotted manure, you have a well-balanced organic fertilizer.
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