Bone meal for tomatoes is a rich soil amendment product that can improve your tomato plant health and enlarge the tomato fruits.
When you apply this product to the right soil for your tomatoes, the benefits are endless. Read this informative guide to learn the benefits of bone meal for tomato plants as well as how to use it.
- What Is Bone Meal?
- Uses of Bone Meal for Tomatoes
- How To Use Bone Meal in Your Tomato Garden
- How To Use Bone Meal for Potted Tomatoes
- How To Make Bone Meal for Your Tomato Plants
- Additionally Organic Materials To Boost Soil Quality
What Is Bone Meal?
A bone meal is a fertilizing product that contains the crushed bones of one or multiple animals. Its major use of it is to make animal feeds, however, it is becoming more popular in gardening because of its magical uses.
As a product rich in phosphorus, bone meal can improve the health of your plant, its flowers, and its fruits.
Tomato plants and a few others specifically benefit from the bone meal because they need a lot of phosphorus to produce beautiful and large fruits.
Furthermore, bone meal is also suitable for tomatoes because bone meal only works effectively in slightly acidic soil which happens to be the preference of tomato plants.
Uses of Bone Meal for Tomatoes
– Popular Source of Phosphorus
If a bone meal is a fertilizer, it would have a formula for 3-15-0. This means that it would have three percent nitrogen, 15 percent phosphorus, and no amount of potassium.
Note that it would still be rich in other nutrients that are not listed among the major plant nutrients. As you can see, the bone meal has a lot of phosphorus for plants.
It is key to keep in mind that phosphorus is a very key nutrient for tomatoes and other plants. While phosphorus helps plants to grow better as it is a structural nutrient in plants, it also boosts the flowering and fruiting stages of a plant. This is why gardeners feed flowering plants with phosphorus-rich fertilizer when they bloom.
– Source of Calcium
Bones have a lot of calcium, so the bone meal is an organic source of calcium for your tomato plants. Additionally, calcium is also a structural nutrient as most cell walls are made of calcium. Without calcium, plants cannot stand firmly and their cells can burst heavily. A plant that has enough calcium can withstand some problems.
For example, plants with more calcium will not die as quickly as others that grow with less calcium even if they are all in the same substrate. If flooding occurs, the tomato plants with smaller amounts of calcium will be the first to die of overwatering.
– Better Tomato Flower Health and Bigger Fruits
A common disease known as blossom end rot affects tomato plants greatly. Note that plants with this disease will wither and die just after flowering. Furthermore, the calcium and phosphorus in the bone meal will prevent your fragile tomato plants from withering just after the flower, hence you will enjoy their produced fruits.
Not forgetting that phosphorus is a key nutrient, that helps tomatoes and other plants to move nutrients and water to their fruits. This means that the more phosphorus a grow your tomatoes with, the larger and more nutritious their fruits will be. If you want to see very large, red, and juicy tomatoes, you should feed them with a bone meal.
– Garden Soil Amendment
Aside from the general nutrition of bone meal, it is also a great soil amendment because it helps with soil structure.
The bone meal does not absorb water quickly just like sand and provides nutrients. This means that if you mix your loam with bone meal, your soil will have better water drainage quality as well as improved nutrients.
If you are planning to make a raised garden bed or you want to start pot gardening for your tomato plants, you can be sure to add bone meal to the substrate as tomatoes love soil with very good drainage quality as well as a good level of phosphorus.
– Slow-Release Fertilizer
Well, one truth that most gardeners may not tell you is that, unless you prepare the bone meal to deliver nutrients quickly to your tomato plants, it will usually act as a slow-release fertilizer.
This can be a good thing when you look at it properly because many gardeners use a very high amount of bone meal powder in their gardens and the nutrients can be too much for the tomato plants.
As a slow-release fertilizer, bone meal does not give its nutrients all at once to your tomatoes. It only releases nutrients slowly to the plant so there is no way you’d be overfeeding the plant. Note that if you are someone who loves to feed your plants occasionally instead of regularly, bone meal is a great tomato fertilizer for you.
– Attracts Earthworms
What else is a farmer’s best friend if not earthworms? You want a lot of beneficial worms in your tomato garden for these reasons:
- Water drainage: Earthworms help to improve the drainage of a substrate as they move in it.
- Nutrition: Earthworms excrete nutritious castings that can make your tomatoes grow faster.
- Tomato health: If the root of your tomato plant is decaying, earthworms eat it before harmful microbes can reach it, preventing root rot.
Bone meal attracts earthworms to your tomato garden as earthworms love to eat decomposing bone meal. It is a win-win for the worms as well as your tomatoes.
– Great for Organic Gardening
Are you a fan of organic gardening? Organic gardening produces healthy products and you should try to eat only these types of fruits and vegetables. Bone meal is an organic product for plants, so you can use bone meal in your tomato garden whether you are practicing organic gardening or not.
How To Use Bone Meal in Your Tomato Garden
Before using bone meal in your tomato garden, you must make sure that the pH is slightly acidic (pH 6-7) because bone meal only works in such soil and tomato plants prefer that type of soil.
When the soil is ready, amend and mix the soil with a bone meal at least two weeks before you plant your tomatoes. Two or more weeks is enough time for the bones to start decomposing to release nutrients.
If you like, you can spray the product on the soil surface. Just make sure that you do not spray more than three cups of it per 100 square feet of the soil. Too much of it is not recommended for your tomato plants.
How To Use Bone Meal for Potted Tomatoes
If you are growing tomato plants in pots, the method of using bone meal is quite different. While you can use the previous method of digging a planting hole and placing the fine bone meal powder before you plant the tomatoes, a more convenient way is to boil the bone powder in water and then use the solution to water your plants as fertilizer.
The reason why using bone meal as a liquid fertilizer is more convenient for potted tomatoes is that the substrate or potting mix in potted tomatoes drains water quickly. If you mix it with bone meal, that would be extra drainage and most of the nutrients (including those from the bone meal) will leak off.
How To Make Bone Meal for Your Tomato Plants
Well, you can always buy different bone meal products if you like. However, if you can, you should make it by yourself. Follow the steps below:
- Collect enough bones: You can use the bones of cows, goats, chickens, and fish heads. Any farm animal bone is okay.
- Clean the bones: You want to make sure that the bones are physically clean before you move to the next step.
- Bake the bones: After cleaning the bones, it is time to bake them. You should place the bones in an oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave them for about 45 minutes.
- Crush the bones: When the bones are out of the oven, you’d notice that they are softer or easier to crush. You can use a hammer or any heavy object to crush them into smaller pieces.
- Grind the bones: Now that the bones are smaller, you can use a blender or grinder to grind them to become powder. The smaller the pieces, the better.
- Keep the bones dry: One way to prevent your bone meal from spoiling quickly before you use it is to keep it dry.
If you’d like to boost the calcium and magnesium contents of your bone meal, you can mix it with some crushed eggshell and Epsom salt. You can always use the bone meal alone.
Please remember the following:
- Monitor soil pH: Bone meal is not effective in alkaline soil, so it has no use in such sol. A pH of 6 to 7 is highly recommended.
- Do not use too many bones in your garden: Bone meal may be rich in phosphorus, but it is not so rich in nitrogen which is the most important nutrient for plants.
- Use a facemask when applying bone meal: The finely ground bone meal is like dust and you can inhale it. To prevent any respiratory problems, please use a facemask when applying bone meal in your tomato garden.
So long as you do everything correctly, your tomato plants will grow just fine.
Additionally Organic Materials To Boost Soil Quality
Asides from bone meal, here are some other products that can enrich the soil for your tomatoes:
- Kelp meal: Kelp meal helps plants grow quickly as it attracts beneficial microbes that can break down and make nutrients available to plants quickly.
- Worm castings: These are nutrient-rich and have readily-available nutrients for your tomatoes. You can also get them free of charge.
- Coffee grounds: Coffee grounds are very rich in nitrogen, so your tomatoes will flourish in their vegetative stage.
- Banana peels: Banana peels are high in potassium, so a combination of banana peels and bone meal will give your tomatoes two of the three major nutrients that they need.
- Blood meal: A blood meal is rich in nitrogen and can boost your plant’s immunity.
Now you can try different amendment products for your tomatoes.
Can you add too much bone meal to Tomato plants?
Yes, adding too much bone meal to Tomato plants can harm their growth by altering the soil pH and causing nutrient imbalances.
How long does it take for bone meal to break down in soil?
Bone meal takes around 4-6 months to break down in soil, releasing its nutrients gradually over time.
Can I sprinkle bone meal on the top soil of tomato plants?
Yes, you can sprinkle bone meal on top soil of tomato plants, but it’s better to mix it into the soil before planting for better distribution.
Bone meal is super beneficial for your tomatoes so long as you use it properly. Please remember the following:
- Only use bone meal when the soil is slightly acidic.
- For potted tomatoes, consider using bone meal as liquid fertilizer instead of using it in the planting hole.
- You can use the bones of any farm animal to make bone meal for your tomato plants.
- Other products that can help your tomatoes are banana peels, kelp meal and coffee grounds.
What are you waiting for? Follow the steps listed in this article and start making bone meal for your tomatoes right away.
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