Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Organic Fertilizers: Blood Meal

Blood Meal is the highest natural source of Nitrogen

What is it?
Blood Meal is a dry powder made from blood.  Typically, the source is blood from cattle processing plants.  The blood is mixed with an anticoagulant and then spun to separate the plasma from the red blood cells.  The red blood cells are then sprayed into a low heat kiln where a powder is formed.  This is the finished product of Blood Meal.

What is the primary benefit?
Blood Meal is a great source of nitrogen, the highest natural source of nitrogen.  It is typically used for high nitrogen utilizing plants.  Any plant that fruits or any fast growing green plant often uses a lot of nitrogen.  If our plants are looking yellow, application of a high nitrogen fertilizer like Blood Meal will often make our garden green and lush again.

How is it used?
It can be added to the soil at anytime of the year, but typically it is used during the growing season.  It is typically sprinkled over the surface of the soil, or it can be worked/blended into the soil.  It can also be mixed in a high carbon compost heap (one that has a lot of "brown" material, and not enough "green" material).  It is a rapid release fertilizer, and typically reapplication is not needed more often then every four months.  The nitrogen will be released faster in more moist conditions.  It should not be used on seedlings or plants that can "burn" from too much or too high levels of nitrogen.  Blood Meal is soluble in water, and it can be mixed with water to be used as a liquid fertilizer.  Some people will use it to deter rabbits (vegetarians).  However, other animals, like dogs and racoons (carnivores and omnivores), may be attracted to Blood Meal.  If it is going to be used as a rabbit deterrent, it may be more effective if used in small containers instead of spread into the soil.

If you soil has adequate nitrogen levels: 10 lbs per 1,000 square feet
If you soil has medium nitrogen levels: 20 lbs per 1,000 square feet
If you soil has low nitrogen levels: 30 lbs per 1,000 square feet
about 4 oz per square yard

NPK Ratio:  11-0-0, 12-0-0, 13-1-0, or other similar variations depending on the source... either way, it is the highest natural source of nitrogen.

Always test your soil before adding any fertilizers.  We can easily damage our plants and the soil by indiscriminately adding soil amendments.


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