Bone Meal

Last Updated: March 30, 2017

Definition - What does Bone Meal mean?

Bone meal is a mixture of coarse and finely ground animal bones. It is often made from beef bones, but can be the bones of any commonly slaughtered animal. Bone meal is primarily used as a fertilizer, particularly in organic gardening, as it is an excellent source of phosphorus and protein.

MaximumYield explains Bone Meal

In agriculture, bone meal is used primarily to provide calcium and phosphorus to plants and soil. Phosphorus helps plants to grow and effectively perform photosynthesis. Calcium is also vital to plants as it promotes the formation of healthy plant cells, allowing plants to transport and process other elements throughout their systems.

Bone meal has several different benefits when applied to gardens or potted plants. One benefit is that bone meal takes a longer amount of time than other fertilizers to break down, which means it releases nutrients into the soil slowly. This provides plants with a steady dose of important nutrients, rather than a quick burst. Additionally, unlike most chemical fertilizers, bone meal will not leave plants with a fertilizer burn if a gardener inadvertently applies too much. However, bone meal does have a few downsides. Like many fertilizers, both organic and chemical, bone meal is dangerous to certain pets, like dogs.

As for using and obtaining bone meal, it is sold in many big box and local gardening supply stores, and directions for applications will vary from brand to brand. However, it can be used and applied in several different ways. Bone meal can be mixed with the soil in large garden beds, or added to a small hole before growing new plants. For plants that are established, half a cup or so of bone meal can be sprinkled over the root zones. This should generally be done in the spring before buds begin to appear.

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