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pomerinke
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Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

Hey everyone.
I'm about to start my plants and I was considering what fertilizers I should get for my pots. (I only have a small veranda, all my plants are in store bought soil in pots)
I recently read something about Bonemeal being a good fertilizer. I eat meat and poultry quite a bit, and I always have a lot of bones. Can someone direct me to a trusted tutorial or guide. Or just let me know if I'm wasting time.
I have a Carolina reaper about one foot tall right now. I plan to expand to include a couple jalapeno plants, a grape tomato, and about 5-7 okra stalks.
Any help is greatly appreciated!
Last edited by pomerinke on Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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tomc
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Re: Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

I would treat bones as though it were a fatty product. Pre-compost it anerobically first.

A tightly sealed can 3-6 months. Then compost the liquid into a larger active compost bin. How well this works for you will depend on how much yard waste you collect. More is better.
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applestar
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Re: Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

If you have the energy and time, I think container plants would probably be easier to provide for by simply hard-boiling the bones after you have finished with them for culinary purposes (large stockpot all day) and then using small amount of the cooled bone-broth diluted in water. You can add eggshells to this, too if you want. If you have somewhere that you can dry out the thoroughly cooked bones, they do crumble easily and that's your basic bone-meal.

I have to admit I don't always take the time, but when I do, I usually bury the crumbly bones and scrap bone-broth (this is not the good-tasting kind) mixed with kitchen scraps in the bottom of the outdoor compost pile (when I turn the entire pile) or in-ground big tree, etc. large plant planting holes. Both the broth and bones will spoil easily and smell, so you will have to keep them frozen if not using right away.

I don't have a secure place to lay out the bones to dry out (cats , etc.) and I don't have spare space in the freezer or refrigerator, so I tend to just use the compost pile --- actually bokashi fermenter too (this is an anaerobic process and maybe similar to tomc's?) --- as a place to finish turning them into plant-available nutrients.

It's tricky putting organic home made fertilizers in containers because the volume of soil is not big enough to buffer and support out-of-balance microbial activity if you add too much -- it's like small aquarium tanks being difficult to keep in balance. You won't want stinky containers and soured soil will be bad for the plants and will force you to repot with fresh potting mix. I think it does help to put some earthworms and compost worms in each pot -- they can help manage the system as long as you don't accidentally kill them too....
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pomerinke
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Re: Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

Sounds like it probably won't be worth it to try everything. Unfortunately, balcony space is at a premium in my apartment, so composting is out of the question.
Thanks for the input!
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

I normally put poultry bones right into the compost. They are so thin they pretty much disappear especially if broken open. The few durable beef and pork bones usually get buried. Since you are in an apartment neither of those will likely work. For the small amount of phosphorus your plants will consume, it's probably just as well to use fertilizer, until the day when food waste is collected for recycling instead of landfilling.

I did read recently that you can put them into your woodstove, and they break up/crumble better after burning. I've just put a hambone in my stove yesterday, will be interesting to see what comes out. I spread my ash on my 16 acres of woods so I have plenty of room to work. :-]
Tox

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pomerinke
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Re: Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

Thanks Tox.

I also read a to do that said throwing chicken bones in the microwave for 3 sets of three minutes and crushing them would be good enough for a powder. I don't have a wood stove and I wouldn't want to bother my neighbors by putting them on my grill.

I didn't microwave my last set of bones because I didn't know how the plants would react since it wouldn't be part of a full compost. I did crack and bury the bones when I consolidated some smaller pots though. We'll see how the plants like it once I get a plant in the new pot.
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toxcrusadr
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Re: Making Bonemeal - Is it worth it?

Just for the record, that ham bone pretty much crumbled to dust after a day in the stove. :-] There were a few pieces but I could crumble them by hand. Amazing how that works. I think I'll do that more often. Always looking for ways to reduce what goes into the landfill, and big bones are about the only bit of food waste left that still does at my place.
Tox

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