Benefits of Bone Meal -
- Excellent Source of Phosphorous: Depending on how the bones were prepared, the NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium) levels can range from 1-12-0 to 4-21-2. As flowering plants use high amounts of phosphorous during bloom, you can see how bone meal has the potential to greatly stimulate production.
- Slow Release Nutrition: Besides a great deal of phosphorous, bone meal also provides smaller amounts of essential nitrogen, potassium and calcium. As the bone meal breaks down over the season, it will steadily and slowly release these nutrients for plant uptake. The advantageous aspects of slow release nutrition are that plant roots will not burn, and that soil vitality is increased for extended periods.
- Inexpensive - If you buy bone meal already pre-made and packaged for sale, you'll pay a pretty penny for it. On the other hand, homemade bone meal can be very inexpensive. See, if you're already purchasing meat for the eating, the bones contained are basically free fertilizer!
- Soil pH: Although bone meal is abundant with phosphorous, it can only become available to plants if the soil pH is less than 7. Slightly acidic soils will have no problems releasing the nutrients within bone meal, but alkaline soils will lock up the nutrients.
- Start off by collecting bones. Normally, I'll save bones in the freezer until I have a sufficient amount.
- The next step is to clean and sterilize the bones for use. Since I like to get the most out of my bones, I'll normally make broth to clean and sterilize the them. To do this, spread the bones on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 10-15 minutes. Next, let the bones gently simmer with just enough water to cover them, for 5-8 hours. By the end of this time, the bones will easily strip clean of any fat or meat tissue still stuck to them.
- Dry the bones. Once stripped clean, I just spread the bones on a plate and place them in a well ventilated area to dry. Normally, I'll wait about a month for the bones to dry completely. This makes it easy to turn into a powder.
- Once the bones are brittle and dry, crush them into a fine powder. The best way to achieve this is with some muscle and a mortar and pestle. Work small batches at a time to create an evenly fine powder.
- Once ground up, the homemade bone meal for plants is now ready to use.
- Dry Usage: As a powder, bone meal can be tilled in or top-dressed at a rate of one pound for every ten square feet of gardening space. Flowers,vegetables, fruits and lawns will all benefit from the slow release nutrition provided by powdered bone meal.
- Liquid Usage: Bone meal in compost tea production can also be utilized. For a greater availability of instant phosphorous, add one tablespoon of bone meal for every gallon of compost tea to be produced. Brew the tea and water as normal.
So there you have it, one potent and useful fertilizer that can be made from kitchen scraps! Flowering and fruiting plants will absolutely love the nutrition locked away in bones. Thank you for reading this article on how to make bone meal fertilizer at home! Please leave any comments or questions you may have.