Many gardeners want to make their gardens organic and to stop using synthetic soil amendments.
While these man-made offerings work, the overall effect on the environment is not good, and when growing vegetables, no one is sure what levels of these compounds are in the foods we eat.
It is this reason, all kinds of gardeners are turning to organic fertilizers. It can be for lawn care, container gardening, or general houseplant care.
Besides, bone meal, blood meal, or the alternatives can help any vegetable garden thrive.
Two of the most popular organic fertilizer choices are bone meal and blood meal. The question is, which is the best in the debate of blood meal vs. bone meal?
Here you can learn all you need from these gardening tips and how you can add either bone meal and blood meal for organic gardening or houseplant care.
What is Blood Meal?
Blood meal fertilizer is a slaughterhouse byproduct and is used to add nitrogen into the soil.
Blood meal contains high nitrogen levels and efficiently adds it to the garden as it is water-soluble. This can be a good solution for heavy nitrogen feeders like corn, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, lettuce, and cabbage. (Read What To Do With Sprouted Potatoes)
It can be beneficial when gardening in the same patch every year as most areas will be low on nutrients once the growing season is over.
If you have a soil test and the earth is more toward the alkaline end of the scale, you can use blood meal to make your soil more acidic, and thus lowering the pH value.
When using a blood meal application in the garden to correct nitrogen deficiencies, you can find one application that will feed your plants for up to 6 to 8 weeks.
You do need to take some caution when applying to young plants; too much can burn your plants and cause them to have burn spots and start wilting.
To obtain the best results, you can dissolve the blood meal in water or add some to the soil as you plant your seedlings.
What is Bone Meal?
While blood meal is made from dried blood, bone meal is still a slaughterhouse byproduct, yet the bones are cooked and then dried before being ground into a powdered form.
It also differs from blood meal for plants because it isn’t a source of nitrogen. It is, in fact, high in phosphorous and some calcium, and not much else. It is water-soluble, yet it offers a slow-release function once added to the garden. (Learn How To Add Phosphorus To Soil)
It also differs from blood meal because plants won’t burn if you add too much. Soil tests are still recommended because if the pH of your soil is over 7, then a bone meal application won’t be effective, and your garden will need the acidity to be corrected beforehand. (Learn How Much Bone Meal Per Tomato Plant)
If you think about using bone meal for plants along with dried blood meal, this is possible as it can help to balance the high nitrogen fertilizers.
How to Use Bone Meal in Your Garden
Although bone meal offers no soil amendment like blood meal. However, it is an excellent additive for ornamental gardens by organic gardeners who want a natural means of adding nutrients.
Bone meal for plants adds lots of phosphorous, which builds up roots and leads to better fruiting and flower development.
To use, follow these tips to get the best from bone meal fertilizer
- Add at the rate of 10 pounds of bone meal per 100 square feet of gardening area
- Bone meal is slow release and will deliver phosphorous for up to 4-months
- Add to your soil before planting as this is a good fertilizer to help nourish your plants
- Add some bone meal into the hole before planting as it aids growth
- You can add bone meal to improve your compost pile
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How to Use Blood Meal in Your Garden
When adding blood meal to improve your garden, you will add around five cups for every one hundred square feet.
It does require soil testing, and you will add this during the spring as it encourages flower and vegetable growth.
You can dilute it, or you can mix it into the top few inches of soil. While it can help fend off plant diseases, you need to be cautious of burning, and some wild animals may be attracted to the blood if you add it dry.
Alternatives or Additional Organic Fertilizers
You can find a couple of other organic fertilizers. You can use these on their own, or they make a great addition to use in a combination depending on what the other fertilizer offers.
Alfalfa meal is usually seen as a nutrient-rich feed, yet it has been found to be an excellent fertilizer option for any gardener who wants to stay organic.
Like blood meal, organic alfalfa delivers nitrogen, so it shouldn’t be used when adding blood meal to gardens.
Feather meal is made from feathers that are dried and ground in the same way as blood meal and bone meal are.
It is also another nitrogen-rich fertilizer, so it can’t be used in conjunction with blood meal, bone meal is safe to use as it can help balance the nitrogen.
Using blood meal, bone meal, or the other alternatives is a healthy way of adding nutrients to your garden naturally without relying on man-made chemicals.
Not only do they allow you to keep your garden organic and chemical-free, it means you don’t need to worry about any chemicals harming your flowers or the vegetables you eat.
Blood meal and bone meal are both safe for use around your garden as long as you follow each manufacturer’s recommendations.
Before long, you will have colorful flowers or healthy vegetables, waiting to be harvested all around your garden.
Not only this, if you use these for lawn care, you will be spending plenty of weekends cutting lush green grass.
Read our guide about Milorganite fertilizer