Check out this step by step guide to learn how to make bone meal fertilizer at home!
Bone meal is a nutrient-rich formulation that is typically made by steaming and grinding piles of animal bones. It can fortify the soil with high levels of phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and calcium. Head over to this informative guide to find out how and when to use bone meal in the garden!
Preparing Dry Bone Meal Fertilizer
Things You Need
- Heaps of Bones
- Pressure Cooker
- Large container
- A precision tool for effective fat removal
- Soil Testing Equipment
Step 1. Clean the Bones
Your first step is to remove any remnants of fat and meat from the bones. Consider scraping the surface thoroughly till they are spanking clean; if that isn’t effective, pressure cook the bones for 5 minutes.
Step 2. Bake
After cleaning the bones, bake them at 400-450°F or until they get all dry and fragile. Ideally, small and medium bones will take an hour to reach that stage. Keep them aside and let them cool down.
Step 3. Fragment
Transfer the bones to a tough bag or sack and use a bat or a rolling pin to smash them into tiny fragments about an inch long.
Step 4. Grind
Toss the bone pieces in a blender and grind them thoroughly till they form a fine mixture. Mix the bone dust with wood ash or sprinkle it solo on your garden bed.
Still confused? Learn how to make a dry bone meal in this video here.
Preparing Liquid Bone Meal Fertilizer
1. Choose the Right Bone Type
The type of bone you choose will determine how nutritious your ultimate mixture is. You can choose from turkey bones, beef bones, chicken bones, and pork bones. Beef bones work best. Turkey bones are equally effective. Chicken bones are easier to handle.
2. Clean Up
Use a knife or scraper to eliminate traces of meat, grime and other residues from the surface of bones. This is important because the fatty deposition can retard the decay of the bones when they turn into dust later on. Consequently, your plants won’t be able to acquire the full complement of nutrients that they could. For a more thorough clean-up, boil the bones for an hour. This will remove fat and dismantle the bone marrow for effective release of nutrients.
Keep the bones in an oven preheated to a temperature of 284 degrees or higher. This will dry them out completely to make the grinding process easier and also ensure that any pathogen are effectively killed. If you don’t have an oven, consider steaming the bones in a pressure cooker for 30 minutes instead. Allow them to dry out before proceeding further.
Bones are among the toughest things in the world. That is why you have to smash them with a mallet to fragment them into pieces before the actual grinding process. Fragmentation will simplify and shorten the grinding process.
Toss the bone pieces into a grinder or grind them using a mortar and pestle until they’re not transformed into fine bone dust.
6. Test Your Soil
Make sure you know the nutrient composition of your soil. That way you’ll understand how much water and bone meal to mix to prepare the liquid bone meal fertilizer. If the calcium and phosphorus levels are high in your soil, add just a teaspoon or two of bone meal to regular fertilizer. Otherwise, increase the quantity if the soil is deficient in these minerals.
7. Mix ‘n’ Match
Mix the bone meal into the water in a pot over medium heat. The heat allows the water to absorb more of the bone meal than it would otherwise. Continue mixing until no bone meal settles as sediment, then set the pot aside so your liquid bone meal fertilizer can cool down.
Monitor the soil after every application to track changes over time. Determine the calcium and phosphorous levels in your soil to understand and adjust the quantity of bone meal in every fertilizer dose accordingly.
Preparing Bone Meal Tea
Bone meal tea is just a fancy name for organic compost containing bone meal. It’s an excellent health drink for plants deprived of nitrogen and phosphorous. Bone meal tea is typically made by mixing one to two tablespoons of bone meal in every gallon of steeped manure or compost tea. The mixture is allowed to homogenize and achieve equilibrium overnight. You can apply it directly to the soil or sprinkle it over the foliage. Watch this video to understand the process of preparing the bone meal tea!