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Bone Meal and Blood Meal

Melissa is the assignment editor and contributing writer for SheKnows Home and Living. While other little girls were playing dress up with Barbie, Melissa was busy remodeling Barbie's house. She now lives out her dream covering design an...

Creepy-sounding additives can improve your soil.

We come across some bizarre substances while trying to find the perfect additions to our garden soil. From manure to fish emulsion, the disgusting and unusual are top choices. One of the more macabre options are blood meal and bone meal.


We come across some bizarre substances while trying to find the perfect additions to our garden soil. From manure to fish emulsion, the disgusting and unusual are top choices. One of the more macabre options are blood meal and bone meal.

Bone meal and blood meal are made from exactly what you'd imagine---bones and blood. Creepy, right? Fortunately it's not human body parts, of course, but slaughterhouse animals. Bones are crushed and ground to create bone meal power and blood meal is made from dried, powdered blood. Although they aren't PETA-friendly products, they are considered certified organic when used as soil amendments, but not when they are blended with livestock feed. Not only would that be inorganic, but a tad cannibalistic, don't you think?

Blood meal is high in nitrogen and bone meal is high in phosphorous. As you might guess, blood meal also has a decent iron content and bone meal has lots of calcium. If you do a soil test on your garden bed, you can figure out what your soil is lacking and use these powders to correct it.

The best way to apply bone meal is to mix it with compost and add to your soil. Blood meal may be added to compost (as a green item) or tilled into the soil. Since blood meal is so nitrogen-high, it's best that it does not come in direct contact with plants--it can burn them.
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