Bone meal, also spelled bonemeal, is a recommended organic fertilizer that is a good source of phosphorous. Unless your soil test shows a deficiency of phosphorus don’t add it to the garden.
Bone Meal Myth
– Most garden soils do not have a phosphorus deficiency.
– Bone meal attracts animals to your bulbs making it more likely that the bulbs will be dug up. Bone meal is usually not needed for bulbs – that’s a myth.
– Excess phosphorus inhibits mycorrhizal fungi (ref 1) – which are an important part of the soil ecosystem.
– The phosphorus in bone meal is mostly non-soluble making it inaccessible to plants in the short term. It also moves through soil very slowly; mostly just siting there adding little value. Compost and organic matter are much better sources of phosphorus and if levels are very low use super phosphate as a fertilizer.
1) Bone meal Myths: http://puyallup.wsu.edu/~linda%20chalker-scott/Horticultural%20Myths_files/Myths/Bonemeal.pdf
2) Photo Source: Phil Jackson