By Kimberley McGee Updated November 04, 2019
Its name may be less than unfortunate, but using it correctly can provide a wealth of healthy blooms and plump vegetables. Blood and bone fertilizer products are affordable, organic amendments that add much-needed nitrogen to your garden soil. You can also add it to compost to further nourish the garden inhabitants.
Blood and Bone Meal
The all-natural blood and bone meal are both a byproduct of cattle processing. This type of soil amendment product has been used for centuries. They can be slightly more expensive than other commercial products to increase or control the required nitrogen and phosphorous levels in the garden soil, but they don’t carry the chemical agents or synthetics of the non-organic varieties.
Blood Meal for Gardening
This fast-acting soluble nitrogen fertilizer is most often collected from the end process of the slaughterhouse. It’s made of animal blood that has been dried and boiled and then ground into a powder form. Blood meal typically comes in a 12-0-0 NPK ratio.
The high nitrogen level provides lush foliage and colorful blooms. It can burn plants, so be careful not to over-apply it. It works well with heavy vegetable garden feeders such as broccoli, leafy greens, corn and spinach.
Benefits of Bone Meal
The ingredients of this favored fertilizer are obvious. It’s made from hooves and bones that are ground down and then steamed. The steaming process increases the bone meal’s availability for plants. Bone meal breaks down slowly and can easily feed all the garden plants for up to four months.
A good bone meal will promote early growth on young plants and strong root development. Bone meal helps create bigger blooms and stronger buds to prolong the growing season. Fruit and vegetable plants will produce larger edibles more frequently with the right application of a layer of bone meal to the garden soil.
Bone meal is higher in phosphorus than blood meal, with trace amounts of other needed nutrients, including nitrogen, calcium and potassium. The NPK ratios can vary greatly, so choose one that works best for your garden needs. Be careful not to over-apply the bone meal, and always wear a mask when applying so that you don’t inadvertently inhale the fine particles.
Tips for Applying Blood and Bone Meal
When applying blood and bone meal, consider these tips:
- Blood and bone meal is best applied during soil preparation from February to November.
- Sprinkle it over the soil in an even layer or add it to the compost pile and mix it in thoroughly.
- It can be applied throughout the growing season by sprinkling it evenly around the base of a plant and gently raking over it with a fork or small spade to mix it in with the soil.
- For container plants, add the blood and bone fertilizer at the beginning of the season and again once or twice over the growing season.