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A garden is only as good as the ground that it's planted in. Discussion forum for the many ways to improve the soil where we plant our gardens.

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Old February 16, 2013   #1
billy_prewitt
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Default Bone meal and Blood meal ?

Picked up 3 lb bags of each. mfg is MG. The package touts them as "Organic supplements". Not Cow ( mad cow?) source but porcine (as in pig) The analysis 6-9-0 in the bone meal and 12-0-0 in the blood meal. Not sure I want to use on my veggies ( mental thing).. I was planning on a balanced mix into compost Now I'm thinking flowers and shrubs.. Any thoughts?

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Old February 17, 2013   #2
Redbaron
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I never used it, but just mixing it in the compost wouldn't hurt. Will give it a boost. Not sure why you are worried about using it on veggies. Unless the fact it came from filthy contaminated factory farmed animals is why. But after it gets composted or in the soil, a healthy bunch of soil bacteria should resolve any issues.
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Old February 17, 2013   #3
zeroma
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"N

Stands for Nitrogen.

Nitrogen helps make plants greener, and helps them grow faster. Nitrogen can be depleted over time by plants, or by being washed away.
P

Stands for Phosphorus.

Phosphorous is good for root growth, disease resistance, seed and fruit growth, and for blooming and flowering.

K

Stands for Potash (or Potassium).

Potash can help with increasing root growth, with drought resistance, and with disease resistance. (So why is it K? Because it would be confusing if they used P twice in a row, and you'd never know which is which!)


Important!
Don't just grab a bag with high numbers on it and start spreading it on your lawn or garden. Your soil might already have plenty of phosphorous or potassium!

If you add more of something than your soil needs, it is wasteful. You can harm your plants by having too much of any of these nutrients.

Test your soil first!" from http://www.cleanairgardening.com/npkexplanation.html

Sorry if this is "too much in your face" Bill, but the middle part of the fertilzer ratio Phosphorus is naturally in high levels in our part of Ohio - generally. However since you live in an area where your land has been disturbed for building a home, you don't know until you get the soil test.

From recent research by the State, farmers are encouraged to cut back on our use of Phosphorus. I guess gardeeners too.

You have heard about the terrible problems at Lake Saint Mary's haven't yo? The lake had to be closed to people using it due to the hazardous algae issues. It is due to both the naturally higher levels plus farmer runoff of phosphorus. I would suggest not using the bone meal in your ground garden soil until you get your soil test results back.

I don't remember if you were growing in containers too. So if you are buying prepared mix like MetroPro 350, you may not want to add anything at all to that.

I'm using Blood Meal in my ground garden and in my containers as needed through out the year. It is your Ph test you want to pay attention to the most. Let me know if you want more info. We talked about this last Thursday at the Master Garden class. I've been a master gardener since 1990's but I'm retaking the class to learn about anything new in the science part, the trends, and growing in Ohio rather than in the sand I had in Indiana as I change from flower growing to tomato and veggies.

Last edited by zeroma; February 17, 2013 at 12:13 PM. Reason: to add my source
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Old February 17, 2013   #4
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What's your carbon to nitrogen ration in the soil Zeroma? What % of carbon in your O and A layers? How thick are your O and A layers?

That is much more important than quibbling over NPK. Because carbon locks and holds and stores many nutrients and releases them as needed to plants. If you have enough carbon in humus form and watch your Ph, plants will seek out and find exactly what they need.

NPK is mostly important only when most the life in the soil is killed off, destroying the balance and the ability of soil to cycle nutrients. That's when we have to come in with artificial NPK "life support" for our tomatoes!
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Old February 17, 2013   #5
zeroma
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thanks Scott. Good questions...since I haven't had my soil tested yet (I'm growing mainly in containers due to "I can't even dig in my clay soil on my hill, even with my pick axe) I'd only be guessing at those answers. I had added a lot of organic material in the areas I've been growing flowers and some tomatoes in already and it is wonderful to work in. I'll be testing both sites in my yard to compare them more for my own curiosity than anything. I want to know I've done some good in fighting the clay soil.
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Old February 17, 2013   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeroma View Post
thanks Scott. Good questions...since I haven't had my soil tested yet (I'm growing mainly in containers due to "I can't even dig in my clay soil on my hill, even with my pick axe) I'd only be guessing at those answers. I had added a lot of organic material in the areas I've been growing flowers and some tomatoes in already and it is wonderful to work in. I'll be testing both sites in my yard to compare them more for my own curiosity than anything. I want to know I've done some good in fighting the clay soil.

When you find out, remember you are looking for about a 5% carbon in the a layer (can be much higher in the O level), 10-1 to 11-1 C-N ratio and at least 1 foot A layer. If you have that, most clays will be quite productive. The soil test will let you know for sure though.

Also remember as a general rule it is much easier to get 6 inches of good soil and gradually work your way down to 1 foot through worms and leaching, than to try and use amendments dug in and repair all 1 foot at once.

Another general rule of thumb is if you harvest 50 pounds of tomatoes or whatever, then you need to feed the life in the soil 30-40 pounds of compost, mulches, cover crops etc..... This can give you a general rule of thumb to know if you are feeding the soil too little or too much.
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Old February 17, 2013   #7
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Guess I did not clearly explain my question... Its not about the NPK or the % or the carbon locking...ITS about the PIG source of the meal .. I will be blending my soil when I get my leaf compose from the city in a few weeks.. IF the head horticulturist at the county arboretum says it a good safe source.
I plan on mixing compost, bags of worm castings, promix-bx, potash from fire pit, several bags of aged chicken manure, sand, some sea magic brew, deep tilling it into the soil and then sending off a sample to the lab for testing.. The Blood and Bone meal are for supplements IF needed. Just having questions about the piggy thing.
I'm still 2.5 months from planting. last week of April here. Also probably couple hundred worms from my fishing buddy source. when its warm enough.
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Old February 24, 2013   #8
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Not that much difference in blood meal from pigs, cattle, birds,
etc, other than possible antibiotic residues. Ditto for bone meal.

Unless the meat producers decline to use antibiotics, figure that
they all will have some. Whether it makes it from the soil into your
vegetable produce is a different question. Composting gives more
time for bacteria, etc, to break down compounds like antibiotics,
but the concentrations in the soil after adding blood meal or bone
meal may be so small that it is effectively a non-issue.
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Old April 4, 2013   #9
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Default this amendment thread is awesome

I read it over again and admire redbaron's answers and advice.. I know my small back tomato beds need amendments.. I should be getting bigger yields of fruit per plant but, this was not the case last four years.. Hence, I depeled the beds over the years without realizing how important it is to amend the beds. Today I'm going to sprinkle blood meal and bone meal as prescribed.. after fishing this early spring, all the keeper fish entrails get buried.. already have rich black compost type soil, just depleted.. K is high and P isn't bad ,, just the nitrogen is always low..last season it was too.. I thought I had that figured out using a few bussels of just green horse stable mix (horse manure and wood chips) as it is now, my tests show that nitrogen is very low/depleted// even though the soil looks fertile ...planting is still at least a month away here in North New Jersey so, I'm going to try amending the soil now giving the blood meal and bone meal a month or so to get the micros /worms moving under the beds...also will continue dumping cofffer grinds on the beds too.
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Last edited by nnjjohn; April 4, 2013 at 07:44 AM. Reason: added coffee grinds
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Old April 4, 2013   #10
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blood meal is high in N (green growth), bone meal is high in phosphorous (root growth). i use both, incorporate into soil with compost when planting.

Quote:
I plan on mixing compost, bags of worm castings, promix-bx, potash from fire pit, several bags of aged chicken manure, sand, some sea magic brew, deep tilling it into the soil and then sending off a sample to the lab for testing.
you should test 1st then add amendments, all that stuff will never give a reliable result from a soil test.

tom
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Old April 4, 2013   #11
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Default rapitested today again

I tested my soil today again after a month ago tilling the beds and testing using the ph NPK color capsules.. Today I INCORPORATED vermiculite peat moss and blood meal and continue adding amendments... think of sprinkling on top 10-10-10 granule all purpose from home depot.. I still have a good month before planting. All my test results today showed good ph of about 7 the K is suffient to one color lower ,, P is low but not depleted N is depleted no color at all.. going to test again after a few weeks and see if what I add along with warmer weather changes for better test results. I did see a few garden worms so that is a good sign,, would like to have seen more but they are in there
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Old April 5, 2013   #12
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The prions that cause mad cow disease and its relatives are found in the brain, nervous tissue and corneas of infected COWS. A similar condition is present in wild deer in certain areas of the country but that one is not known to impact humans.

Prions are very odd little organisms in that it takes a whole heck of a lot to render them inactive. Disinfectant sprays, cooking, basic sterilization procedures, irradiation and sunlight don't touch them. In the hospital tens of thousands of dollars of neuro surgery instruments are THROWN OUT after use on infected patients because of the difficulty in rendering them sterile and safe for the next patient. Prions can remain capable of causing infection for years in the soil. The are odd little things, part protein, part virus. Mostly not alive but still able to kill. Scary right? Furthermore, human infection is the result of ingesting them or in rare cases organ transplant.

The good news is to date there is no evidence that prions can be taken up by plants and cause human infections. The bad news is that incubation for BSE is decades long and it is 100% fatal. There is still a ton that is not known about it. It is extremely difficult to study.

BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) is very very very very very very very rare in beef in the USA. Very. There are very very very very very strict regulations about it in this country. I will eat a product of the USA hamburger. Other country of origin I steer clear of. Steaks, any country...not a problem. Its not in the muscle. Hamburger is only an issue if someone is grinding brain or nervous tissue into it. Illegal in the USA, Japan, UK. Cows get it from being fed feed that contains the tissues of other cows that died from it. These feeding practices are 100% illegal in this country. There are also extremely strict regulations surrounding sick beef. Beef displaying signs and symptoms of BSE are forbidden from entering the food chain of either humans or animals.

Risk is extremely extremely low. Nevertheless I tend to err on the side of caution and do not utilize stuff in the garden made from beef parts. To date, pork, poultry have not been impacted by this freaky thing.

Stacy

Last edited by bughunter99; April 5, 2013 at 05:39 PM.
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Old April 5, 2013   #13
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nnjjohn,

Have you ever had a lab do you soil testing? I think you need to try contacting your County Agraculture Extention Educator and ask them how to get a professional soil sample and where to send it for very exact results.
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Old April 6, 2013   #14
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There are better nutrients available and you can trust the source of them. I would avoid the pig stuff.

Kelp meal
Fish Meal
Crab Meal
Fish bone meal
Neem Meal
Alfalfa Meal
Comfrey
Etc....

Soil samples are one thing but NPK isn't relative in organic gardening.

If you have plenty of nutrients amended in your soil and it is properly composted you will have a massive abundance of sequestered nutrient available on demand by your plant...

You want a soil mix that has good compost, that is the key.
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Old April 6, 2013   #15
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blood and bone meal are easy to use, organic and quite safe. as an added bonus, i sprinkle blood meal around my garden to repel rabbits. I find it works really well. bunny psychology: smells like blood=danger. who knows really but i do know it works in my garden.
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