I bought a bag of bone meal to add to the soil when I transplant my
tulips. Why is bone meal a good fertilizer for flower bulbs and rose
bushes? Is any fertilizer high in phosphate just as good as bone meal?.
"BONE MEAL [bone meal] finely ground bone used as a fertilizer for its
content of phosphate and nitrogen (about 23%-30% available phosphate
and 2%-4% nitrogen); it is an expensive form of phosphoric acid when
compared with superphosphates . Bone meal is also fed to farm animals
to supply needed mineral food constituents, e.g., calcium and
phosphorus. " From the Columbia Encyclopedia. Bone meal is expensive,
but works fine for organic gardeners. Should I need phosphate I use
superphosphate or a fertilizer with a high middle number. BUT only
after a soil test to determine that I need it.
Phosphorus promotes flowers, fruits, and roots. The calcium in bone
meal also promotes roots.
Bone meal must be processed by soil bacteria to release the phosphorus
and calcium. I use bone meal in flower pots and other containers
because this processing is sufficiently slow that I don't worry about
roots getting burned.
In the ground, I generally use superphosphate, making sure there is a
layer of unenriched soil between the plant, bulb, etc and the enriched
soil. In this case, root burn is generally not a problem.
Bone meal is particularly high in phosphorus. It is "organic" and by
nature a slow release fertilizer, great for tubers and bulbs. Rock
phosphate (crushed limestone) is another good fertilizer very high in
phosphorus. Dried seagull bird poop is another source of phosphorus,
although to a lesser extent than the two mentioned. Personally, I use
fish emulsion and composted cow manure on my roses with excellent
where do you get your dried seagull poop from? The pacific island of Nauru
was a rich source of guano (bird shit) that got mined extensivley after ww2
I believe and used as the basis for superphosphate. It made the island mega
rich at one point. Now the interior of the island resembles a moonscape.
Essentially rooted. We had a good hand in that, spreading phosphate over our
pasture for 3 decades.
Personally, I use
where do you source your cow poop from? how is it collected?
By the way, whether you use bone meal or superphosphate, it must be in
the soil where plant roots will find it. Phosphorus does not readily
dissolve and travel through the soil. Broadcasting fertilizer on the
soil's surface will not put phosphorus where it is needed.
If I want to provide phosphorus to an established plant, I must dig it
into the soil where surface feeder roots will find it. Otherwise, I
take a length of steel rebar and ram it into the soil about 18 inches
near the plant I want to feed, work it around to make a hole, and then
use a funnel to pour bone meal or superphosphate down the hole. I might
do this for three or four holes around the plant.
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