If you are into gardening or have a lot of plants in your yard, one of the things you do often is to fertilize the plants to promote perfect growth and health. However, there are a lot of different fertilizers with different components depending on the nutrients you want to add to your plants.
If you want to boost the nitrogen levels of your garden, blood meal fertilizer is one of the options you should reach out for.
What Is Blood Meal Fertilizer?
Blood meal fertilizer is what the name suggests it is. It is fertilizer made from animal blood, mostly cow blood. After slaughterers kill the animals, they collect the blood and dry it to form a powder, which is the blood meal fertilizer.
In many fertilizers, there are usually three components, Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. The numbers after the name of the fertilizer indicate the levels of these components. For example, in blood meal, there is 13% Nitrogen, and 0% phosphorous, and Potassium.
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Blood Meal vs. Bone Meal
While there are a lot of fertilizer options in the market, gardeners and homeowners are sometimes confused between a blood meal and a bone meal. That is mainly because both of those fertilizers are from animal products, and they are both slow-release fertilizers.
One of the main differences is that blood meal comes from animal blood while the bone meal is a mixture of finely ground steamed animal bones. As a result, they also have different nutritional values for the plant and soil.
Blood meal boosts the levels of nitrogen in the soil, while bone meal helps boost phosphorous levels. As a result, the bone meal helps improve the root development of plants and helps them flower. There is also no danger of burning your plants from an over-application of bone meal.
What Is Blood Meal Used For?
As indicated above, blood meal fertilizer is a nitrogen fertilizer used to boost nitrogen levels in your garden. Adding nitrogen to the soil helps your plants become greener and bigger. It also helps raise the acidity in your garden soil, which is perfect for plants that love the low ph.
If you have continuously planted different plants in your garden, that could deplete the amount of nitrogen in the soil. Therefore, before planting again, consider using blood meal fertilizer.
Since blood meal is made from animal blood, you can use it to deter animals like deer, squirrels, and moles from the garden. That is because the animals cannot stand the smell of blood.
However, you should look out for some animals like raccoons, dogs, possums, and other carnivorous or omnivorous animals who might find the smell attractive.
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How To Use Blood Meal Fertilizer
The first thing you need to do before adding blood meal fertilizer to your garden is testing your soil to determine the nitrogen levels. For this, you might want to call an expert or buy a test kit from the nearest agro vet.
That is important because adding too much nitrogen to the soil can make your plants grow too big but not flower, and it could also kill them.
You can also inspect your plants for signs of nitrogen deficiency. Some of the signs include wilted and yellow leaves because the plants do not have enough nitrogen to manufacture chlorophyll. Some of the plants that might benefit from an additional dose of nitrogen include:
When buying blood meal fertilizer, ensure it is of the best quality and that it is USDA approved. Consider purchasing from reputable garden centers, nurseries, or home improvement stores. If you are buying online, do not buy from regions with lax meat production laws.
That is because there are risks of spreading diseases and infections through blood meal fertilizers. You should also ensure that there is no history of an animal outbreak like mad cow disease from the area you are importing your blood meal fertilizer.
After getting the right fertilizer, how you apply it to your soil matters. Consider starting blood meal fertilizer application in spring because that is when a lot of the plants start to grow.
After two months, you should also reapply because the fertilizer will probably wash away because of the spring rain. Avoid using blood meal fertilizer all year round to avoid burning the plants. If you must fertilize them another time of the year, switch to general fertilizer.
Before application, measure out the size of the land you want to fertilize. Because of the high concentration of blood meal, you need only 1 cup per every 20 square feet of land. You should also dilute the fertilizer with water or mix it with soil before applying it to the garden.
While you can use this fertilizer on a lot of plants, avoid using it on legumes like peas and beans. That is because they have bacteria that boost nitrogen back to the soil. Also, do not use blood meal on seedlings.
If you accidentally add too much blood meal to the soil and notice some burning on the plants or see your plants are not flowering, there are a few things you can do to reduce it:
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How Long Does It Take Blood Meal Fertilizer To Work?
How fast your blood meal fertilizer works depends on the conditions of the soil. The first factor is the soil bacteria in your soil. That is the one responsible for breaking down the fertilizer for the plants to absorb.
Another factor is how damp and warm your soil is. The warmer and the damper the soil is, the faster the fertilizer will work. You can promote a fast result by mixing the fertilizer with water before sprinkling it in the soil because it is very soluble.
Is Blood Meal Fertilizer Organic?
Using organic fertilizer is a trend a lot of farmers and homeowners are adopting. That is because it helps preserve the environment by reducing the number of chemicals released into the soil.
It also helps with the proper growth of plants because not only does it balance out the nutrients, but it also helps preserve the life of helpful organisms in the soil that help aerate and break down nutrients.
A blood meal is considered organic. However, some people argue that blood meal made from the blood of animals that were injected with chemicals is not organic because there might be chemical traces.
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Benefits Of Using Blood Meal Fertilizer
How To Make Blood Meal Fertilizer
People who make blood meal fertilizers on a large scale get their blood from slaughterhouses. However, you can also make your small-scale fertilizer using blood you collect from wild meat if you hunt or some of the domestic animals like turkeys you eat.
If you want to make blood meal fertilizer at home, you will have to do it outdoors to avoid turning your house into a sauna. You also need gloves and protective gear to keep your clothes from getting stained.
Also, do not store the blood for long after slaughtering your animal because it is perishable and might go bad.
The first thing you have to do is boil the blood for a few hours. That helps evaporate a lot of the moisture in it. It helps cut down the moisture to around 10- 12%. After boiling the blood, it gets a thick and sludgy consistency.
At that point, you will need to dry the blood. The aim of the drying method is for you to get the blood to a crunchy and brittle consistency, which is easy to crush into a powder.
Aim for it to become as thin as dried seaweed wraps or potato chips, such that it easily crumbled between your fingers.
The drying method you use depends on your location. Also, the heat you use determines the color of the blood meal. High heat destroys hemoglobin, making the blood meal darker.
If you are in a hot place, sun drying is a perfect option for small-scale blood meal production. All you have to do is spread the thick blood on cement blocks, tarps, milling offals, or plant products.
However, if you live in an area that does not receive a lot of heat, consider oven drying. For that method, line some baking sheets with parchment paper and spread your thick blood on them. Put them in the oven and turn up the heat to 170 or 180 degrees F until the blood is dried out.
You can also use a food dehydrator. Set your dehydrator to around 120, and let the dehydrated blood dry out for a few hours. The time you leave the blood depends on your dehydrator.
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Alternatives For Blood Meal Fertilizers
Some of the best substitutes you can use instead of blood meal include alfalfa meal and feather meal. People make alfalfa meals from fermented alfalfa plants and feather meals from poultry feathers.
You can also use both feather and alfalfa meals to accelerate the decomposition of your compost pile. Another good alternative is fish fertilizers.
Where You Can Buy Blood Meal Fertilizer
You can find blood meals at your nearest nursery or growing center. You can also buy them online, but ensure it is from a reputable e-commerce platform or is sourced locally.
That way, you will avoid buying blood meal from places with questionable animal practices for animal food and slaughter.
You should also buy blood meal only enough for a growing season because the product is semi-perishable. To store it perfectly, store it in a dry place and its original packaging.