Compost - Blood And Bone Meal To "Activate"?

Hi Everybody,
I have read a number of times that it is good to add a bit of blood-and-bone-meal to compost, to get it working faster. This includes various Web sites, NG posts, and packaging for said substance.
I have started adding a bit to my compost-in-progress.
However, I am wondering... What exactly is the chemical/biological mechanism here? The b-b meal is a dry powder, so I am doubtful of micro-organsms living in there. Is it just based upon giving the compost a blast of nutrients???
Thanks in advance...
--
Guide To DIY Living
http://www.self-reliance.co.nz
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Down Under On The Bucket Farm said:

Blood meal is used to ensure enough nitrogen to get the compost cooking, especially when the bulk of your material is high in carbon, like fall leaves, straw, or paper. I suppose you can consider it as 'activating' the microorganisms that are already there. (It's also good practice to add some old compost to any freshly mixed pile to innoculate it.)
Bone meal is better used directly in the garden for plants that need a boost of calcium and phosphorous. Depending on how it was processed, it may or may not contain much nitrogen, which would be more in demand in the composting process.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Killed the crosspost.
Urine is also a very good activator.. Not to everyones preference though.
Nitrogen (the N in NPK) is needed to promote biological/bacterial activity and cause your heapt to 'compost' It provides a 'kickstart' for the heap.
Dried blood on its own works well, but may not be available in your location. / Jim
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 22 Oct 2003 23:20:58 -0700, Down Under On The Bucket

I'm a worrier. My concern would be BSE - mad cow disease. I wouldn't use it, but would find some other non-animal substance to add to my compost.
There are plenty of other substances that can be used for this purpose (manure, even small quantities of commercial fertilizer, greenstone - a natural mineral - various ground rocks, etc.)
Pat
--
To email me, remove the spam trap and type my first
name in its place.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Unless you are importing your bone meal from Europe, it is highly unlikely this should pose any problems. One, there has never been a substantiated case of BSE in the United States and second, the American method of processing bone meal differs from the European in that it involves both heat and solvent treatments, effectively destroying any potential pathogens.
Once again, we can thank the media for blowing things up out of proportion.
If this remains a concern, fish meal, feather meal, alfalfa meal or fresh manure will work as well. Apply any sparingly - you don't need much to get things cooking if pile is constructed carefully and aerated properly.
pam - gardengal
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 23 Oct 2003 15:27:01 GMT, "Pam - gardengal"

There has been in Canada, though.
I have read quite a bit about BSE in the UK, and I do not believe that the consensus of opinion among authorities on the matter is that either heat or solvents kill the prions thought to be responsible for it. [This got to be kind of an awkward sentence...] In other words, it is believed that neither heat nor solvents kill prions, AFAIK.
If the authorities thought heat kills prions, believe me, the British government would have acted on it before now, and I suspect that the same is true of solvents - at least any solvents suitable for meat intended for human consumption.
I don't think there is any way known to kill prions.

I don't think so. The media has nothing to do with it.
I have never, ever seen any article on a connection between bone meal in compost and BSE: it was my own conclusion that there might be this possibility, based on the fact that meat-on-the-bone has been implicated in BSE in the UK.
Therefore, I think it's a reasonable conclusion that one might not want to spread bonemeal around one's garden or use it in compost - a conclusion that any reasonable person might make (or might not make).

Yes, that was my point, perhaps not made as well as it could have been. There are plenty of alternative substances that will work.
Pat
--
To email me, remove the spam trap and type my first
name in its place.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@meadows.pair.com wrote:

I agree Pat. For one thing, you can't kill what isn't alive. Prions are abnormal protein fragments, not living organisms. I'm still amazed that such a thing can cause such awful diseases. (Other animals have their own version of prion caused disease.) I just hope those diseases remain at least as uncommon as they are now. Wishful thinking.
Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

According to a farm newspaper I read each week, most small fertilizer plants still accept animal bones from meat packers but will no longer accept dead animals from farmers and individuals. Seems new government requirements probably due to concerns about BSE make it too costly. Re: steaming and processing bonemeal - I had not been aware that all US produced bonemeal was steam-processed but it is probably a good thing despite the loss of about 10 per cent of the nutrients.
Olin
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The protection against BSE in your example is the fact that there is not yet any example of BSE having been found in the US. How the Blood and Bone is made in the US is irrelevant as there is no current treatment known to destroy the prions that cause BSE
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Fran wrote:

Just out of curiosity, what solvent is used?
I count on my compost pile to kill off an awful lot of pathogens and assorted toxins. I'll reserve judgement for now, but I rather suspect that heat and solvents and the additional bacterial action and exposure to the elements during composting are probably enough to eliminate the risk of viable prions getting onto the food to something too low to calculate ... and too low to worry about.
A hot compost pile followed by a year or two of aging may not be a panacea, but it comes mighty close.
Bill
--
Zone 5b (Detroit, MI)
I operate my own mail server (Postfix on Mandrake Linux). The above address
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@meadows.pair.com writes:

I totally agree with Pat here.
Several years ago, before mad cow disease hit the news with great flurry, I had read there had been an instance of several gardeners becoming ill with it, with some dying IIRC. The common denominator in those gardeners was they had all used bone meal when planting their fall bulbs. It was believed that they inhaled a small amount of powder that had blown into the air while they were planting. I find it horrible that a simple act of planting flowers could lead to serious illness or death, but the research regarding those several individuals indicated that might very well be the case.
The article I read, which seemed to have been carefully researched, also talked about certain cultures having a high rate of the disease, especially in women and children, apparently because of the religious practice of ingesting a small amount of blood from deceased relatives and the belief the departed would live forever if this was done.
It seems that in the following media frenzy of covering the disease that a lot of earlier research was ignored. Whether or not the initial article I read about it was as carefully researched as it appeared to be, it was enough for me to decide to no longer use bonemeal (which I had only used when planting daffodil and tulip bulbs). As Pat stated, there are plenty of alternative substances that will work. I figure I knowingly do enough that might be harmful to this ol' body without adding more.
Adding things to compost? I remember the instructor of a composting class said, "Compost happens." Things will compost, regardless of what we do or don't do; it's just the rate that concerns us. The first year, my compost bin (the Seattle Composter) was turned several times during the year. The second year, not so much. After that, rarely. This past year, not at all. Know what? There was still a rich layer of incredible soil in the lower third when I moved it (which was, in effect, turning it). I used much of that lovely soil in my garden, left the rest in the compost bin and added to it. I'll bet that next spring, I can turn the bin again and the lower half to two-thirds will be lovely soil. I look at my compost bin as a no-work thing. Many of the weeds from all over the yard and garden go into it, vegetable/fruit kitchen scraps (pre-chickens), and occasionally some leaves. If I get too impatient that it isn't composting fast enough, I'll just add a second bin. The grass clippings are used as mulch so don't get to the bin until they have become weeds from the garden. The bin gets no special treatment. I leave the lid off except during winter when our heavy winter rains the Portland, Oregon, area is so famous for hit. The fruit/vegetable scraps draw fruit flies which attract the insect eating birds, birds who go on to eating insects in the garden as well. So my compost bin provides me with rich soil and insecticide. What a deal!
Glenna
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 26 Oct 2003 09:40:07 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

This form of the disease is called 'kuru' and it used to be endemic (among women and children) in New Guinea, in tribes in which the women and children ate the brains of dead enemies. I forget why the women and children did this more than the men.
Pat
--
To email me, remove the spam trap and type my first
name in its place.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
<>

always think you'll remember the things you learnt in school. Use it or lose it I guess.
I sure am rethinking my use of blood and bonemeal now. Have only very occasionally used it anyhow..
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When last we left our heros, on Sun, 26 Oct 2003 19:23:57 GMT,

Dead relatives, not dead enemies. It was part of the funeral ritual.

Well, if you're using products made from US cows, you shouldn't be any more at risk than if you eat beef from US cows. So far we've kept it out of this country, but since they've found it in Canada, I wonder if the US can be far behind.
Pam
--
"Maybe you'd like to ask the Wizard for a heart."
"ElissaAnn" < snipped-for-privacy@everybodycansing.com>
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A few years back a national tv gardening program commissioned a lab analysis of different brands of "Blood & Bone" garden fertiliser here in Australia. They found that a few brands contained no blood and no bone. Really! These were a just mixture of chemical fertilisers, in amounts and proportions that gave a similar N P K etc. analysis to what would be expected in real organic B & B. I'm not sure whether this was allowable under retail regulations. Anyway, I'm wondering whether such a substitution might exist in the US? IIRC, real B & B here carries the warning that the product may contain traces of arsenic (a former tick spray, I think, long abandoned but very persistent in the environment).
--
John Savage (news address invalid; keep news replies in newsgroup)


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@meadows.pair.com said:

Dead relatives, not enemies -- once someone died of kuru (spontaneously generated) the disease easily spread.
As to why more women women were affected than men -- it was the women and children who prepared the bodies and took part in the ceremonies. Separate men's and women's houses (and lives) was a feature in many of New Guinea's indigenous cultures.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI

Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.