• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Question abut bone meal

 
Joanna Hoyt
Posts: 10
Location: Upstate New York, USA--zone 4/5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Several years ago I read that phosphorus leached out of compost piles and garden soil more readily than K or N, and I began adding bone meal to the garden beds in which I grew potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. I did notice an increase in yield in the potatoes.More recently I've been reading about the ways in which the addition of artificial NPK can inhibit mycorrhizal growth, thus making plants weaker and more disease-susceptible. I am wondering whether bone meal, which is organically derived but is also highly concentrated, would be likely to have similar anti-mycorrhizal effects; wondering too, though with less concern, about our other principal P course, the droppings from our rabbits. Any thoughts?

Background info: I live in rural upstate NY. I've been gardening organically as well as raising goats, chickens and pigs in the same location for 15 years. The native soil here is very sandy and stony, with clay a few feet down. The garden has always had permanent beds; they've been low-till since 2008, and since then we've seen that nothing is left bare--we cover crop what we can, mulch the rest. Over time our insect problems have gotten better (the potato beetles are gone, the tomato hornworms are very few, we haven't seen so many flea beetles since we stopped panting tatsoi outdoors.) But we're still struggling with plant diseases, especially on our tomatoes (early blight, sometimes gray mold, sometimes blossom drop whose cause I am not clear on, even before the late blight comes through before frost and wipes out our tomatoes...by the time that happens we're usually seeing a lot of surrounding area blight reports), and squash (powdery mildew). Beds are amended with hot-made compost (kitchen scraps, weeds, hay and manure from the goat stalls) as well as cover crops/mulch, aged sawdust (mixed, mostly hardwood), fresh rabbit manure, comfrey leaves (a recent addition) and bone meal.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
hau Joanna, Yes phosphorus is one of the first things to leach out but your addition of bone meal is a very good way to replenish the lost phosphorus.
Bone meal will not harm the mycorrhizal fungi.

The issues you are having with tomatoes most likely can be helped with the addition of trace minerals. There are around 90 trace minerals that tomatoes use for control of blight, molds, mildews and other maladies that can be problematic.

The traditional organic items you can use are fish meal/ emulsion, Kelp meal, green sand, stone powders and blood meal.
Last year I was introduced to a product that contains 95 trace minerals that is called Sea-90, it is a mineral rich sea salt that does wonders for our plants and fruit trees.
It takes very little of this stuff applied once a year (we use 1/4 cup spread around each fruit tree) and it seems that the "salt" in it doesn't do any harm to the soil profile.
My tests show it helps with all the life forms in our soil which include mycorrhizal fungi, bacterium and even earthworm count. When I first started use of this stuff I expected some adverse reactions, but by using a minimum amount, I have not found any adverse effects.

Powdery mildew is usually associated with high humidity conditions, this can be a result of to deep a mulch applied to close to the stems. We have switched to straw for mulching around our tomato plants with a marked reduction in mold issues.
We have found that a mulch depth of 2-3 inches is about right for weed reduction without creating conditions conducive to mold growth, we also leave a 4 inch diameter clear spot around the stems.

You can also use DE, dusting the ground around the plants for some reason seems to help with control of mildew and some other molds. I have not yet identified why but will be continuing work on this one this growing season.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
286
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You can also use DE, dusting the ground around the plants for some reason seems to help with control of mildew and some other molds. I have not yet identified why but...

DE is extremely absorbent.    I would guess that it is effective against mold/mildew because it is lowering the humidity around the base of the plants.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you John,
we just gave the DE a trial near the end of last season.
We used it for control of some mites that showed up near the end of our harvest period and I noticed the reduction of the small amount of mildew we had on the bottom leaves.
I didn't even think of it reducing moisture of the air around the plants.
I will set up some sensors this season and collect some data.
 
diana todd
Posts: 23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I just logged on to see if anyone can answer a question that is similar to this post. there are many "organic" amendments that I can purchase; there are many non-organic amendments that I can purchase. What does one do when you want to grow your own food and NOT purchase amendments?

How did the original homesteaders do it? They didn't have chemicals, soil analysis, etc.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
Posts: 1978
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
151
chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting toxin-ectomy
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
By "Organic" do you mean certified organic or materials that come from natural ( found in nature ) items?

Bone meal can be made from bones you end up with from roasts, steaks, chicken, duck, turkey, etc. these are then ground to a fine powder once the moisture has been removed.
Fish meal can be made from fish remains (the result of cleaning fish, and fully dried out).
Fish emulsion is much easier since you take the fresh remains of fish cleaning and put them in a blender or food processor, add water and grind to a smooth liquid.
If you live near an ocean you can gather sea weed, dry it and grind it up for a good additive to your soil.
You can also collect buckets of sea water and pour into a shallow pan for evaporation, the resulting "salt" will contain many minerals and used in small quantities will add these trace minerals to your soil.
If you put your vegetable cut-offs into a worm bin, the worms will eat well and bless you with their castings (worm poop) which is very valuable addition to garden soils.
If you put up bat houses, the bats will find them, call them home and underneath the houses guano piles will start to form, used in small quantities this is one of the richest forms of manure found in nature.
All manures can be composted and used in the gardens, all you have to do here is make sure the heap gets into the high temp ranges above 175 f.

My people have always used naturally occurring things for amending the soil. We taught the invaders how to plant corn by digging a hole, putting a fish in the hole, covering that with the soil then planting the maize seed in the top inch and a half of that replaced soil. Natural fertilizer!
We also pile up bones then use a pair of rocks to grind them into powder which is then added on top of the seeded soil.
We also collect our urine and use it in diluted form for watering the crops.

Purchasing amendments is strictly for those who do not want to go to the effort to create their own from their food "trash".
 
Joanna Hoyt
Posts: 10
Location: Upstate New York, USA--zone 4/5
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thank you, Bryant and everyone! Good to know the bone meal isn't making things worse. I've used kelp and fish emulsion as foliar sprays but not as soil amendments (purchased, in both cases--we're at least six hours from the ocean.) Will think more about that. I've dusted DE on eggplant leaves to try and deter beetles (it sometimes sort of works), but hadn't thought to use it to reduce humidity around plants. Not sure if that would be enough if we have another of the warm and very wet summers we've been having, but I will definitely give it a try.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
286
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bone meal is an excellent source of phosphorus (P) and it also supplies calcium (Ca) which is the cure for blossom end rot.       The finer grind will be absorbed quicker than the coarse grind.
 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 551
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Great info bryant. One time saver is don't dry and apply the minerals from seawater, just dilute it with 10 parts water to one part seawater and drench the ground.

 
wayne fajkus
Posts: 551
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Diana, it's hard to answer your question without specifics about your garden. My amendments are what I have available. Rotted manure and seawater pretty much being everything I do. I also throw annual rye in garden during winter so it's not bare dirt.

Past that it would be seeing symptoms, then researching and adapting from there.
 
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!