Is Bone Meal Good for the Garden?

Bone meal, or bonemeal, is a common organic soil amendment and many consider it to be a good fertilizer. It is a “must add” when planting spring bulbs and it’s claimed to help plants establish after being moved by improving root growth. Plant not flowering? Add bone meal to make more flowers.

This sounds like a great product every gardener should use, but are the claims real or just myths?

Is Bone Meal Good for the Garden?
Is Bone Meal Good for the Garden?

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Fertilizer – Understanding Plant Nutrients

Plant nutrient is a term used to describe plant food. We all know compost is good for the garden, but most of the good stuff in compost is not ready for plants to use – it is not plant nutrients yet! Over time, the complex molecules in compost, like proteins and carbohydrates, will be broken down by microbes into smaller molecules and eventually they become nutrients.

In this post I will take a close look at the main nutrients used by plants. What are they? What happens to them in soil? The answers to these and other questions will help you understand the process of fertilizing plants better.

Fertilizer - plant nutrients - nitrogen cycle
Fertilizer – plant nutrients – nitrogen cycle

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Bloom Booster – Fertilizer Nonsense #5

Bloom Boosters are said to increase the number of flowers on your plant. Nonsense. They don’t work, and can actually make your soil toxic, making it more difficult for your plants to grow.

Bloom booster fertilizer - who needs it
Bloom booster fertilizer – who needs it? Clematis recta growing just fine at Aspen Grove Gardens without any fertilizer. Photo by Robert Pavlis

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Bone Meal Organic Fertilizer

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 organic fertilizer
Bone meal organic fertilizer

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