In my first decade of gardening, I thought I needed every soil amendment I heard about. You name it. I needed it. Blood meal and bone meal were on the list.
Finally after about a decade, I came to my senses and realized that I didn’t need all that stuff. All I needed to do was add organic materials that decayed and became organic matter.
Also, adding blood meal and bone meal or any other product to the soil without really knowing whether you need it or not is courting trouble. Nature loves perfect balance. Too much or too little and you’ll get poor results.
(I add the organic material and let nature balance the scales for me. I like keeping it simple. And it’s just not necessary to make it complicated unless you want to.)
But there is another reason that I would not use any meals made from animal carcasses.
- Here’s the Reason
- Supplementing a Cows Diet?!!!?
- What Causes Mad Cow Disease
- The Solution
- Decisions Made Easy – Compliments of Nature
- My Favorite Organic Fertilizer
- Using Blood Meal To Improve Your Garden Soil
- What is Blood Meal?
- What is Blood Meal Used For?
- Is Blood Meal a Good Fertilizer?
- Where Can You Buy Blood Meal?
- Feather Meal
- Benefits Of Using Blood Meal In Your Garden
- How to Use Blood Meal
- Is Blood Meal a Good Fertilizer Choice?
- Where to Buy
Here’s the Reason
It never ceases to amaze me what is considered perfectly normal by the conventional meat industry. Take for example, feeding cattle other ground up cattle.
Oh wait – that’s not right anymore. The USDA came to the rescue and banned cows being fed to other cows in 1997 in the hopes it would stop Mad Cow Disease (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy – BSE for short).
Cows are now fed other ground up animals like hogs. Aren’t you relieved?
Supplementing a Cows Diet?!!!?
One article I read said, “Yes, cattle are grazing creatures, but their diets may be supplemented with protein from another animal source.”
I would like to wager that in all the centuries before “modern” man came up with this perverted way to save money and dispose of an excess, that you would NEVER see cows eating other animals. Their digestive system is designed to digest grass. Nutritionally speaking cows can get all they need from grazing as nature intended.
That would seem like a no-brainer to me.
What Causes Mad Cow Disease
Mad Cow Disease is caused by a non-living protein called a prion. When cows ingest other cows or other cud-chewing animals that have the prion they can get the disease. When humans ingest animals that have this prion, they can get a human version of the disease.
As it turns out, when animals with the prion are ground up in the feed mills, it is difficult to clean the prion off the equipment. So when they grind up hogs to feed to cows, the prion could still be on the equipment and transferred to the meat.
Of course, if you read information that you can follow back to government or the meat industry, it will assure you that your chances are slim to none for ingesting one of these prions.
And I’m sure they would say that chances of getting it from bone meal or blood meal are even less.
(Just for the record, I wouldn’t want to take the chance even if the odds were 1 in a million.)
If cows eat only grass as they should, they will NEVER get Mad Cow Disease.
Since I don’t buy the products of the conventional meat industry, I won’t have to concern myself about even a remote possibility of getting the human version of the disease.
Decisions Made Easy – Compliments of Nature
Nature has a great track record for being correct. If we follow her example, it sure makes life and decisions a lot easier.
Gardening – Keep it Simple Because It Is
My Favorite Organic Fertilizer
Feeding my garden powerful, organic nutrients helps me grow lots of veggies
I know many of you are excited about getting your spring garden planted – I am too! I’ve already kicked off the $10 Garden Spring Garden Series (season 2) on YouTube channel with the first video “Starting Seeds Indoors – 2 Easy Ways” – it will be coming to the blog soon!
I wanted to do the “Feeding Your Garden” series first here on the blog and also on my YouTube channel, so we know how important it is to feed our plants and soil powerful, organic nutrients. Feeding our gardens regularly is critical to growing lots of veggies.
Do you even get to the gardening center to pick up some fertilizer for your garden and are overwhelmed with all the choices before you? You don’t want to waste your money and are not sure which products to purchase that will REALLY work.
I feel your pain! Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of money on organic fertilizers, some have worked, some have not. My favorite by far is Trifecta+, made by MIgardener. Many of you watch his YouTube Channel and grow his seeds. I have used Trifecta+ in my garden for several years, and find that it really supercharges my plants and soil. I want to share it with you so you can have a a powerful fertilizer on your garden shelf that really works and will help you grow lots of fruits and veggies!
Trifecta+ – Supercharges My Soil
Many gardeners fear that using fertilizers will provide plants too much nitrogen, (too much green growth and not enough fruit),
Trifecta+ supercharges my garden and produces lots of veggies!
or too much phosphorus (too many blossoms). Have you ever felt this way?
Not to worry, Trifecta+ is specially formulated so that the plant uptakes exactly what it needs in it’s life cycle. It promotes root development, growth, flowering and fruiting without compromising anything. I don’t have to add different types of fertilizer at different points in life cycle, because Trifecta+ has what my plant needs all season long. This keeps my job simple and takes the guess work out of it, which is always a good thing!
A tomato plant, for example, will take up the fast acting nitrogen in Trifecta+ for a boost of leafy growth as soon as you apply. As the plant becomes established, the slow release nitrogen will keep the plant green and healthy, while the high levels of phosphorus help the plant to have a strong root base and flowers.
Fast Acting and Slow Release Nutrients
The quick and slow release components of Trifecta+ feed my tomato plant all season long.
The fast acting nutrients in Trifecta+ feed my plants what they need immediately and gets them off to a great start. The slow release nutrients will feed my plants the food they need over the growing season.
If you live in climate where you have just one growing season, this makes your job easy. Apply Trifecta+ once at the beginning of the season and you are done! The organic nutrients will do their job, feeding your garden and helping it be productive over the growing season.
Here in Southern California, I grow year round. I apply Trifecta+ a few times a year, at the beginning of each planting season. This saves me time and money, because I don’t have to add as much fertilizer, and I can add it less often.
Rich in Beneficial Bacteria and Microbes
We learned in the last two blog posts on worm castings and worm tea how important beneficial bacteria and microbes are to the health of your plants. Trifecta + is rich in these too. The beneficial bacteria and microbes cling to the roots of your plants, helping them take up more water and nutrients. They also help the slow release nutrients in the fertilizer break down and feed your plant.
Contains the NPK and Trace Minerals your Garden Needs
All the nutrients plus trace minerals my plant needs to be healthy and tasty too!
Not only does Trifecta+ contain all the Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (p) Potassium (K) that my plant needs to feed it right away and throughout the growing season, it also has over 50 trace minerals. These trace minerals are super important to the health and productivity of my garden, but also to the taste of my veggies!
Builds Soil Structure
Good soil structure is important because it allows air and water into your soil – critical components so that your plants are able to take up the nutrients they need to grow and be productive.
Three key components of Trifecta+ help build the soil structure: gypsum, humic acid and dried molasses. Here’s the nitty gritty:
–Gypsum – a mineral which helps loosens soil and provides air pockets for microbes and fungi to thrive.
–Humic acid – a naturally occurring organic acid that helps break down plant and animal materials and also helps microbes and beneficial bacteria to grow.
–Dried molasses – a sugar source that helps the microbes and beneficial bacteria grow and multiply so they can attach to the roots.
How to use Trifecta+ in your Garden
Mac loves to hang out in the garden with me.
I’ve found Trifecta+ to be a powerful organic fertilizer, especially when used alongside Vermisterra worm castings, worm tea, and compost. These are the “magic 4” that provide a powerhouse of organic nutrients for my soil and help my plants be healthy and productive.
Using Trifecta+ in your seed starting mix or when transplanting your seedlings helps them get off to a fast start, so they are healthy right from the get go.
How-to: Add a few cups of Trifecta+, as well as a cup or so of worm castings to a bag of your favorite potting soil and start your seeds or transplant your seedlings as you normally would.
Mix Trifecta+ into your containers before you plant.
Typically, container plants need consistent moisture and nutrients to thrive. Trifecta+ is especially effective for containers plants because the quick release nutrients will feed your plants right away, and the slow release nutrients will continue to feed your plants throughout the growing season, and you won’t have to fertilize as often.
I do still like to give my container plants a dose of worm tea once a week or so for an extra boost!
How-to: Add Trifecta+ and worm castings to your container soil at the time of planting, or scratch into the surface of already existing container plants. Water in with worm tea. Use application rates on the package.
Using Trifecta+ in your garden beds will increase the survival rate of your transplants and helps them grow strong and healthy. Healthy plants = productive plants.
apply Trifecta+ around your plant’s roots will get it off to a great start.
How-to: You can amend your entire garden bed with Trifecta+ (see package application rates), or sprinkle a few tablespoons-1/4 cup in to the planting hole, right at the roots of your transplants. Scratch a few tablespoons around the base of existing plants. Water with worm tea.
Watch the video from my YouTube channel below “My Favorite Organic Fertilizer”, for a demonstration on how to use it.
Feed your garden organic nutrients that get the results that every gardener wants: a garden that is simple to maintain and that produces lots of fruit and veggies to feed your family and share with those you love.
To learn more about Trifecta+ and to purchase products for 10% off, go to migardener.com/calikim29.
Have you ever used Trifecta+ in your garden? Comment below and let me know your results!
Thanks to MIgardener for partnering with me for blog post. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – I make a small commission when you order through these links and its helps me keep the garden content coming!
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Using Blood Meal To Improve Your Garden Soil
If you are looking to incorporate more organic gardening methods into your garden, you may have come across a fertilizer called blood meal. You may be wondering, “What is blood meal,?” “What is blood meal used for,?” or “Is blood meal a good fertilizer?” These are all good questions. Read on to learn more about blood meal as an organic fertilizer.
What is Blood Meal?
Blood meal is pretty much as the name says. It is dried animal blood, typically cow blood, but it can also be the blood of any animal that goes through meat packing plants. The blood is collected after the animals are killed and then dried to make a powder.
What is Blood Meal Used For?
Blood meal is a nitrogen amendment that you can add to your garden. Adding blood meal to garden soil will help raise the level of nitrogen and will help plants to grow more lush and green.
The nitrogen in blood meal can also help raise the acid level of your soil, which is beneficial to some kinds of plants that prefer soils with low pH (acidic soil).
Be careful to closely follow the instructions on how to apply the blood meal that you have purchased, as it is a very concentrated form of nitrogen. Too much nitrogen in the soil can, at best, keep the plants from flowering or fruiting, and at worst, burn the plants and possibly kill them.
Blood meal is also used as a deterrent for some animals, such as moles, squirrels and deer. It is thought the smell of blood meal is not appealing to these animals.
Is Blood Meal a Good Fertilizer?
Many organic gardeners like to use blood meal as a fertilizer. Blood meal can quickly add nitrogen to the soil, which can be a plus for soil that has been drained of nitrogen through repeated plantings. An example of this is vegetable beds.
There are some things you should be aware of when using blood meal. As mentioned, it can burn your plants if not used properly. Blood meal may also attract unwanted visitors, such as dogs, raccoons, possums and other meat eating or omnivorous animals.
If you cannot find blood meal or you do not want to use blood meal in your organic garden, you can instead use feather meal or the vegetarian alternative, alfalfa meal.
Where Can You Buy Blood Meal?
Blood meal is very common these days and a significant number of big box stores will carry blood meal fertilizer produced by name brands you know. However, you will most likely get a better price on blood meal from smaller, local nurseries and feed stores.
Total Nitrogen (N)……………….13.0% 13.0% Water Insoluble Nitrogen
Feather Meal, like blood meal, contains about 13 percent nitrogen, but it is derived from a different form of protein than blood meal. Keratin, a protein that occurs in hair, hoofs, horns and feathers, is relatively indigestible when fed to animals as protein or introduced to the soil as fertilizer. The structure of keratin is very tight and not easily broken down by soil or gut bacteria. But feather meal is softened with steam so that it is more digestible to both animals and soil organisms. This attribute makes feathers an excellent medium to long-term source of nitrogen.
The microorganisms that seem to be most adept at decomposing feathers are, coincidentally, found in the bird’s manure. Therefore, a mixture of feathers and poultry litter typically improves availability without significantly increasing costs . Applying Feather Meal along with Cheep Cheep will likely increase the efficiency of nitrogen in both materials.
Our Feather meal is pelletized for dust reduction and ease of handling. It will dispense through most modern spreading equipment.
For more information, download the product label pdf.
Feeding plants is complicated. However, you should remember you’re not feeding the plants, you’re feeding the soil. The plants use up nutrients in the soil, yes, but much like the human gut, soil is made up of microorganisms with specific jobs. They break down nutrients, so the plant can absorb them and stay healthy.
If you’re new to gardening or a new homeowner, a soil test would be beneficial. Or for a short-term solution, ask neighborhood gardeners about the soil quality in your area. Take a sample of soil to your local extension office for testing. Here in Arkansas, a basic soil test checks for pH factor, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, sulfate, manganese, copper, zinc, boron, and salinity. Soil tests are done by your local Cooperative Extension Service generally include fertilization recommendations. If you’re curious about the general pH levels of your soil, it’s possible to determine through a variety of home testing methods, like the ones . Here’s a quick rundown on the uses and benefits of these additives.
Blood meal, which is a slaughterhouse byproduct, adds nitrogen back to the soil in a very efficient manner. Nitrogen is the nutrient that fluctuates the most in soil. Many plants are heavy nitrogen feeders, too, like corn, tomatoes, squash, lettuce, cucumbers, and cabbage. Blood meal is water-soluble and can be used as a liquid fertilizer. If you’re replanting the same garden bed year after year, blood meal will be beneficial, as plants have a tendency to deplete the soil. Blood meal will also make your soil more acidic, lowering the pH value. Blood meal acts quickly in the garden to fix nitrogen deficiency and a single application can effectively feed plants for 6 to 8 weeks. However, be careful when applying nitrogen to young plants, too much can burn them. For best results, try dissolving it in water or mix some into the soil when planting.
Bone meal adds phosphorus and calcium to the soil. It’s available in powder or granular form, and the powder form can be dissolved in water for fast-acting fertilizer. Granular bone meal is more of a slow-release additive. Unlike blood meal, bone meal won’t burn your plants if you add too much. If your soil testing indicates a shortage, add bone meal to your soil to help plants grow and flower. Again, pH testing is important because if your soil has a pH of 7 or higher, bone meal will be relatively ineffective. The acidity level must be addressed first. In addition, mixing bone meal with high nitrogen soil additives can balance out high nitrogen fertilizers like rotted manure. Note: if you have pets, keep bone meal away from them. It can be dangerous if ingested.
In short, your garden soil needs a variety of nutrients to thrive. Bone meal and blood meal are suitable substitutes that can help your garden be stronger and more productive. Blood meal is considered an appropriate additive for organic gardens. When it comes to using gardening products sourced from animals, organic is the safest bet.
How can we build a soil that will feed our plants? The goal in building soil is to create soil that is nutrient rich and is biologically active. We have learned, through the actions of Big Ag, that adding quick acting chemical fertilizers actually decreases the health of plants and the nutrient value of our foods (in addition to damaging aquatic life, birds and beneficial insect populations.) In gardening, less is actually more. If we add what plants need into the soil and make sure our soil is chock-full of a healthy microorganisms, then we actually will gain more.
Start by adding compost. Choose compost that is fully composted, rich in humus, and full of microbes. Plan on adding 1-2” on any surface area. Then add amendments that feed the microbiology, and add macro and micronutrients.
Most soil amendments tell you the NPK of that product. NPK is the reference to how much Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium exist in an amendment. Nitrogen is the element that helps plants grow. Phosphorous helps plants fruit, flower and seed. Potassium encourages a healthy immune system. For example, feather meal, which has an NPK ratio of 12-0-0, has a high amount of nitrogen in it and is used primarily in the vegetative state of a plant’s life.
Other macronutrients, micronutrients, and trace minerals are needed to encourage the health of a plant. Calcium, Iron, Sulfur, Zinc, Silica are common ones you will see at any garden store. Each nutrient has its role in the function of a plant. Iron for example will green up your plant because it aids in chlorophyll production. Magnesium increases oil production and helps plants chelate other nutrients. Zinc stimulates flower formation. Sulfur aids in oil and aroma.
Below is a list of common soil amendments we can use to build our soil. Next to the product is its NPK rating and a brief description of what it is used for.
Alfalfa meal, 2.5-1-1, Alfalfa meal is a gentle source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and trace elements. It is also a great fungal and bacterial food. Don’t let the low numbers fool you. Bacteria and Fungi are what break down the nutrients into usable form for plants. So Alfalfa meal is all used by the microbes, which then feed your plants. Alfalfa pellets breaks down slowly and add air pockets to the soil.
Azurite contains calcium, sodium, magnesium and many trace minerals. It comes in both a micronized and a coarse form. It can be mixed into the soil and added all year long to supplement trace minerals.
Blood Meal 13-0-0 is very high in nitrogen and is used for the growth phase. Blood meal is not totally water soluble, and is not considered fast acting, but it does release quicker than feather meal.
Bone Meal, usually steamed has a varying NPK, but is always high in phosphorous. It breaks down slowly and is excellent for fruit and flowering, and has a high amount of calcium.
Cottonseed Meal, 6-2-1 encourages vegetative growth and also helps to lower the PH of soils. It is most often used with acid loving plants such as blueberries.
Crab Meal, 5-4-3, made from the crushed shells of crab helps in all stages of plant life. It contains chitosan, calcium and bacteria and fungi. Chitosan helps plants build a strong immune system, increases germination rates, and repels parasitic insects and nematodes.
Feather Meal, 12-0-0, made from the crushed up feathers of poultry contains a high amount of slow release nitrogen. It is also a great fungal food.
Fish Bone Meal varies in NPK but is usually high in phosphorous and calcium. It is an excellent fungal food. This is my favorite phosphorous source. And sadly, it is also the local bear’s favorite!
Fishmeal, 9-6-2, is high in nitrogen and has a fair amount of phosphorous. The bags at our store are always very oily, so it maintains the natural fish oil. It stimulates microbial growth. It can be added in a dry form or and added later in a more soluble form.
Glacial Rock Dust contains trace minerals and food for microbes. It is a good source of Calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Greensand, 0-0-3, is an iron potassium silicate. Often collected from marine sediments, it contains trace elements from the sea. It helps break down clay soils, and holds moisture.
Gypsum contains calcium, a little sulfur and trace minerals. Soluble gypsum is known to break down salt deposits and clay soils.
Humic Acid generally comes from shale deposits or from mined peat bogs. Humic Acids also contain a high amount of fulvic acid. Both humic and fulvic acid act as natural chelators and help plants uptake nutrients, feed bacteria and fungi, and contain beneficial microbes.
Kelp Meal, 0-0-1, is an excellent source of potassium, contains naturally occurring growth hormones, and has a high amount of trace minerals. It also feeds microbes.
Magnesium sulfate or KMS contains high amounts of magnesium, sulfur and potassium. It tends to be soluble, so can help plants absorb the nutrients quicker. Magnesium is a chelator and can help plants use other nutrients as well. Magnesium Sulfate, however, can also damage some microbes, as it is a salt.
Oyster Shell contains a high amount of calcium and increases ph.
Rock Phosphate, 0-3-0, is another excellent source of calcium (27%) and iron. It is used for flower and fruit development. It is essential in these foothill soils.
Shrimp Meal, 6-6-2, also a source of chitosan, is a rounded source of nitrogen and phosphorous.
Sulfur, lacking in our local soils, helps lower ph. It can act as a fungicide and an insect repellant. Small quantities actually feed some microbes.
Sulfate of Potash, 0-0-50 super high source of organic potassium
Bat Guano and Seabird Guano come in a variety of NPK packages. Nitrogen bat guanos tend to contain naturally occurring calcium nitrate and are pretty water soluble, they are best added in small quantities or as you grow. Phosphorous bat and seabird guanos can be added to the soil or top dressed later.
Chicken and Steer manure NPKs vary, but with Nitrogen always being the highest amount. They are quick acting and are known to feed the bacteria that break down organic matter, say in a compost pile. . Manures also contain a high amount of bacteria. Adding a small amount as a top dress will feed the soil.
Many companies have made life easier for you and offer packages containing a variety of the above amendments. Some include beneficial bacterial and fungal spores. And importantly, they have directions for use! Adding too many nutrients can lead to nutrient lock out or leaching into our precious watershed.
Build your soil and the soil will feed your plants.
We use Blood Meal as a fertilizer in two different applications: as a part of our primary all-purpose fertilizer mix and as a stand-alone nitrogen supplement. For most garden situations, the all-purpose mix is adequate, but we use the Blood Meal as an additional feed for Brassica crops (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage), as a spring feeding for alliums (garlic and onions) and in soils that are seriously depleted of nitrogen.
Nitrogen is the plant macronutrient most likely to be depleted in your garden soil. Nitrogen comes from many sources, including the air, animal manure, compost and decaying plant residue. However, to be absorbed by your vegetable plants, Nitrogen must be converted into either ammonium (NH4+-N) or nitrate (NO3–N). The chemical form of Nitrogen is always shifting in your soil in a complex process known as the Nitrogen Cycle (read this article for more on the chemistry of soil Nitrogen), the important thing to know as an organic vegetable gardener is that Nitrogen in your soil is often lost due to leaching, denitrification and other natural processes. Therefore, to keep Nitrogen levels adequate in the garden, it is essential to add supplemental forms each season.
Nitrogen is the nutrient that is most responsible for the vegetative growth of a plant. This means that nitrogen is especially important for plants early in their development, as they develop the vegetative structure that will supply your harvest later on in the season.
Generally speaking, the larger and healthier your plant is, the more harvest it can produce. When planting fruiting crops such as tomatoes and peppers, it is essential to encourage lots of bushy growth on the plant before it starts to produce fruit. We’ve all seen the sad-looking bell pepper plant that is about 6 inches tall, has 4 leaves and puts on exactly one tiny pepper. This growth habit is an indication that the plant did not receive adequate nitrogen and has simply made due with the nutrients available. You can certainly commend the tenacity of this pepper, but as a gardener interested in voluminous harvests, it’d be better to encourage large, healthy plants that are able to produce many, many pepper fruits.
Blood meal is a pure source of nitrogen (13-0-0). It is a dry powder derived from cow’s blood which has been steamed or boiled to kill pathogens and remove impurities. It will supply crops with an immediate boost and continue to release useable N over the course of several weeks or months (depending on weather and soil conditions). We recommend using it as part of a balanced fertilizer blend and as a single ingredient application when appropriate. Rough guidelines are as follows:
Apply ¼ Cup of blood meal to brassica plants at planting time
Apply 1 Cup of blood meal per 5’ row of alliums in spring.
Use a balanced fertilizer including blood meal when planting new vegetable crops each season. Application rates for fertilizers vary, follow the recommendations on the product label.
When it comes to organic fertilizers for garden soil, there are many options. Since they’re typically slow-release fertilizers, you’re not at risk of over-doing it. Blood meal and bone meal for plants are two effective fertilizers that are incredibly high in essential nutrients and proteins.
However, blood meal is a unique mix for the soil that offers high amounts of nitrogen. Let’s explore what it is, and how it differs from bone meal for gardening.
. Our Top Recommendations for Blood Meal
Ground-up dried blood as a fantastic nitrogen source.
Blood meal is a dried, inert powder made from animal blood, which is used as a nitrogen amendment for garden soil. The fertilizer is a slaughterhouse by-product, typically made from cow’s blood, but it can also come from hogs.
Blood meal is extremely high in nitrogen. It contains about 13.25% nitrogen content, 1.0% of phosphorous, and 0.6% of potassium. Apart from its impressive nutrient content for plants, blood meal is a non-synthetic, high-protein animal feed.
Use it in your garden if your plants are deficient in nitrogen, which inhibits photosynthesis. Common symptoms include yellowish or pale green leaves and weak plant growth. Leaves of the plant – in this condition – are known as chlorotic as they can’t make their own chlorophyll.
Thankfully, blood meal can quickly replenish the nitrogen content of the soil. At best, an application will keep the plant fruiting or flowering while keeping it green and lush. Apart from fertilizer, blood meal is frequently used to deter certain types of animal pests from the garden.
If your plant is vulnerable to deer, moles, or squirrels, the strong smell of dried blood will keep them away. However, if used excessively, too much nitrogen in the soil may burn or kill the plants. Therefore, it’s essential to use this fertilizer in moderation.
Benefits Of Using Blood Meal In Your Garden
There are many known benefits of using organic blood meal for growing stronger roots and encouraging greener, healthier blooms. Above all, it is an affordable, organic fertilizer that serves as a quick nutrient-booster of nitrogen. Here’s why gardeners love blood meal:
1. Rich Source of Nitrogen
Bone meal provides a rich, consistent source of nitrogen to the soil and the plants. High nitrogen levels can increase the acidity of the soil, which is excellent for crops like squash, peppers, radishes, and onions. If you have a vegetable garden, your soil will need nitrogen rapidly to nourish the roots.
2. Improve Soil Quality
Another great benefit of blood meal is that it helps balance and heal the soil. During the growing season, your gardening bed can quickly run out of essential nutrients as the plants need it. Once you add blood meal, the soil returns to its natural balance and continues to nourish the roots.
3. A Lush, Attractive Garden
Gardeners notice a visible difference in the greenery of their plants after blood meal enrichment. High in nutrients, the fertilizer helps produce incredibly lush, plentiful, and deep-green foliage. Blood meal is ideal for adding a long-lasting depth of color to your green space. And who knows, that might just beckon colorful birds and butterflies as well!
Blood meal is even better for vegetable gardens with greens like kale, Brussel sprouts, and lettuce. These veggies are nitrogen-hungry and require this nutrient for growth.
4. Balances out Nitrogen to Carbon Ratio
If you’re using compost piles for soil enrichment, you can add blood meal to equalize the carbon to nitrogen ratio. The brown material in the compost, like wilted, dried leaves, paper or straw, all contain carbon. Adding blood meal ensures a balanced dose of nutrients to the soil and plants.
How to Use Blood Meal
A good baseline application rate of blood meal is one cup for every twenty square feet.
Before adding blood meal, identify the qualities of your existing soil. By analyzing your soil with a good soil test kit, you can find out the nutrient content and pH level.
Blood is best applied in spring to ensure the proper growth of vegetables, flowers, and plants. The good thing about blood meal is that you only need to add a little to reap its benefits.
There are two ways to add blood meal. You can mix it directly into the top inches of the soil or dilute it with water before adding it. Make sure to read the package instructions to find out which one is recommended by that particular company.
If you think the soil needs more, feel free to increase the amount, but it’s always better to not overdo it. Remember, excess nitrogen can burn the roots of the plants.
Bone Meal vs. Blood Meal
While there are many options for fertilizers, gardeners often find themselves confused between blood meal and bone meal. Both come from animals, so they’re incredibly safe and organic. However, they provide different nutrient contents to the soil and the plants.
Bone meal is a finely ground mixture of steamed animal bones and is extremely rich in calcium and phosphorus. It’s used as an organic fertilizer for flowering plants like bulbs and roses as it helps in vibrant, lush, and plentiful growth.
Like blood meal, bone meal is also a slow-release fertilizer, but bone meal is used for increasing phosphorus in the soil. There’s very little chance of burning or killing off the plants from over-application. However, if you’re looking for a quick boost of growth from an organic fertilizer, you might be a little disappointed.
As it’s quite high in phosphorus, bone meal is used explicitly for healthy root development. It quickly enriches the soil with the ‘P’ nutrient for flourishing blooms and healthy roots. With bone meal, a little bit goes a long way. All you need is a tablespoon for every two square feet.
If you’re planting in the fall, add ½ teaspoon of bone meal to the backfill soil to ensure vibrant blooms in the spring. You can also add bone meal to top three inches of the soil during spring.
Blood meal, too, provides a necessary amount of nitrogen, without which plants can’t grow. Nitrogen is a fundamental component for plant cell growth and helps in producing lush foliage.
Blood meal is especially useful if you’re using the same gardening bed year after year. Most plants tend to deplete the soil of essential nutrients. Therefore, in the long-term, blood meal application is an effective way to maintain proper nutrient content.
Both bone meal and blood meal act as potent nutrient amendments, and together, they work even better.
Is Blood Meal a Good Fertilizer Choice?
Yes, it’s an excellent organic fertilizer. However, it’s not balanced. It exclusively provides high nitrogen levels, which can hamper fruiting and flowering. It’s also a slow-release fertilizer, which is not a quick fix if you want to see growth in a few weeks. However, if you want a consistent, steady supply of nitrogen, your plants will love it.
Is it Economical?
Blood meal is an extremely affordable and organic source of essential nutrients. You only need a little at a time, so whatever amount you buy will probably last you for a long time. You can buy pounds of blood meal for as little as $10-15, and it’ll last for a long time.
Is It Safe to Use This Animal Product?
As long as the blood is derived from healthy animals, blood meal is mostly safe. Try not to use fertilizer companies that source from places suspected of poor animal welfare or lax food processing laws. There could be pathogens in the blood meal that may seep into the soil, so make sure you’re only using high-quality blood meal (see our recommendations).
What Are Some Substitutes For Blood Meal?
Although bone meal is not a substitute for blood meal, it can be used in the form of bone meal powder for plants. You can also use fish fertilizers, alfalfa meal, and feather meal. You can also find many vegan-friendly options if you prefer fertilizers without animal products.
Where to Buy
You won’t have to go far. Good quality blood-meal can be found in your local nursery, animal feed store, or even Home Depot. You can also search online, but make sure they’re all locally sourced. This is because most blood meal that’s stocked online may be coming from countries with poor animal practices.
. Our Top Recommendations for Blood Meal
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Last update on 2020-02-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API