bone meal as a plant fertilizer
Know how bone meal can improve your plant growth!
Why is bone meal can be popular as a plant fertilizer?
Bone meal is known as an organic fertilizer rich in phosphorus and calcium.
Phosphorus fertilizers are the main input of inorganic phosphorus in agricultural soils and approximately 70%–80% of phosphorus in cultivated soils is inorganic (Foth, 1990). Adding phosphorus and calcium back to the soil is important as both nutrients play
significant roles in plant growth. Phosphorus is known to stimulate root production and flowering but it does much more in the plant. The most essential function of phosphorus within plants is in energy storage and transfer; almost every metabolic reaction in plants uses phosphorus in one form or another. Energy is obtained from photosynthesis and the breakdown of carbohydrates and then stored in phosphate compounds to be used later used by the plant in growth and reproductive processes. Calcium is needed in lesser amounts for plant growth but still plays a vital role. It is involved in cell elongation and division resulting in healthy cell formation and is crucial in transport of nutrients within the plant. A calcium deficiency within the soil, or within the plant, causes plant growth to cease. Another important factor is that bone meal is a natural fertilizer. In a changing world, where resources are scarce, and people are always looking for safe and healthy produces, no wonder that bone meal still has its place.
Composition Of Bone Meal
Bone meal is exactly what its name states: a finely ground powder — used as an organic fertilizer — that is made up of ground animal bones and has a consistency similar to that of baking powder. Typically beef bones are used but it may contain the bones of any animal
commonly slaughtered. Fertilizers are classified based upon their content of macronutrients since they are needed in the highest levels. Every label will include three conspicuous numbers that are called the N-P-K ratio and reflect the content of each nutrient by weight. A bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer has 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 10% potash. The N-P-K ratio on bone meal can vary slightly depending on the manufacturing process and the bones used. Most of the commercial products available on the market have a ratio close to 3-15-0, making them an excellent source of slow-release phosphorus fertilizer without adding an abundance of nitrogen or potash (i.e.potassium).
benefits of bone meal
Bone meal is a natural, organic fertilizer source commonly used in soil and hydroponic systems to provide phosphorus and calcium to plants. Its slow release formula provides slow-release bioavailable nutrients for up to four months, making it a great amendment to use if you need a high-phosphorus, low-nitrogen fertilizer source.
Great Source of Phosphorus
Farmers who add bone meal to their soil do so to boost the levels of this critical nutrient. Bone meal is approximately 15% phosphorus, and it comes in a form that’s especially easy for plants to utilize. This benefits root growth, cell division, seed growth, and prevents your plants from becoming stunted. Beyond using a soil test, you can tell whether your plants need phosphorus by their coloring around the stems. Purple is an indication of deficiency
Calcium is an essential component of healthy bones, which means that bone meal contains plenty for the benefit of your plants. Adding calcium to your garden through bone meal and other forms can give you better tomato, zucchini, and pepper yields by preventing blossom end rot. This critical mineral also promotes new growth in roots and stems to keep your plants healthy for the full growing season
May Contain Nitrogen
Natural bone meal contains only trace amounts of nitrogen, usually about 0.7 to 4 percent. However, if you buy pre-made bone meal, it’s likely to have nitrogen added to it. This gives your plants a nutritional boost from a well-rounded soil amendment.
Boosts Health of Flowering Plants
Plants need phosphorus to flower, which is why gardeners commonly use bone meal for ornamentals like roses and bulbs. An infusion around the plant’s base early in the
growing season should lead to bigger, more plentiful blooms, and it also helps onions form bulbs. Some farmers also apply bone meal to the base of their plants just as they are blossoming to help them set fruit
Balances out Other Amendments
Most common garden amendments like compost and manure are high in nitrogen but low in other critical nutrients like potassium or phosphorus.Adding bone meal to the soil balances out these inequalities without you overpowering your soil with any one compound
Suitable for Organic Growing
Bone meal is an exceptional garden amendment from an organic gardening perspective.
That’s because it improves the soil structure by increasing the concentration of beneficial soil microbes. These microbes, in turn, make soil nutrients more accessible to plant roots, which in turn leads to faster growth, a better root system, and fewer days to maturity
Acts as a Slow Release Fertilizer
Bone meal takes a long time to break down, which means it gives your plants consistent access to phosphorus throughout the growing season. This means you can apply it once and get it off your mind until you begin next year’s garden
Best for root crops
Bone meal is best used to fertilize root crops such as carrots, onions, beets, radishes, turnips because of the role phosphorus plays in flowering and root development. And using bone meal to supplement phosphorus and calcium is that it can be used in a variety of growing media. It works well when growing plants in soil as well as in soil-less hydroponic growing systems
benefits of bone meal
Not all soil types will benefit from it, many research’s showed that the phosphorus it contains only benefits plants that grow in a pH level below 7.0.This means you might be wasting your time if you use bone meal without taking a soil test first.
Dogs are often attracted to the animal scent of bone meal, but if they consume too much, it can create a cement-like ball in their bellies that may block digestion. The best way to keep everyone safe is to thoroughly blend the bone meal into the soil, so it doesn’t clump and secure any extra far away from animals.
There’s another reason to ensure you use bone meal correctly—too much rain can cause this phosphorous-rich fertilizer to run into water systems and trigger an algae bloom.
The good news is that the risk is low when you use natural bone meal because it doesn’t leach like other kinds of fertilizer, but it’s still worth monitoring your use.
in the soil
Many organic sources of soil amendments are high in nitrogen but add very little phosphorus or other nutrients to the soil; with its low nitrogen levels, bone meal is used by many organic gardeners to complement the addition of amendments such as manure or compost.
In order to provide enough phosphorus to benefit plants, it is recommended to apply bone meal at a rate of approximately 10 pounds per 100 square feet of soil.
Typically soil application occurs in either one of two ways:
When planting a new specimen, or transplanting something in the garden, sprinkle approximately ½ cup of bone meal in the bottom of the planting hole, working it into the soil slightly. Then continue on with the process of planting until the hole is filled in completely with soil.
If you are applying bone meal to an already established garden, broadcast bone meal over the soil surface at the recommended rate of 10 pounds per 100 square feet of soil. Incorporate it into the soil and then water well. A single application should last the entire growing season because of its slow release.