Manure vs. Bone Meal vs. Blood Meal for soil preparation

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by jmeeter, Apr 16, 2009.

  1. jmeeter

    jmeeter Well-Known Member

    Oct 14, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    I am going to be rototilling my garden pretty soon. This is the first time anything other than grass and weeds will be grown here. A friend has offered to provide me with "all the manure I could ever want" for free. Will this be sufficient for soil preparation? Or should I also be adding the blood and bone meal? I will also be adding dolomitic lime as a pH buffer. Any other tips for soil preparation?

    I will be growing everything from A-Z so I don't think it would be practical to add any "plant specific" fertilizers. Just general, all purpose...
  2. SquashNut

    SquashNut Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2005
    How old of manure and what kind? If it is composted really well it's OK to add now. If it's too fresh it will burn your plants. It would be better to spread it in the fall when you put your garden to rest in for the winter.
    I only use manure/compost and add lime only to my tomato beds every year and the rest of the beds every other year. with the exception of the potatoes, which take no lime.
    But if you lime or not depends on your soil. some areas just don't need it. A soil or ph test will help you determine if and how much you need.
    Bone and blood meal are expensive if you have much of a garden at all.

  3. Forerunner

    Forerunner Well-Known Member

    Mar 23, 2007
    Composted manure is by far the best bet.
    Over time, good compost will buffer any pH imbalances, as well as most mineral imbalances.
    Specific fertilizers, as a rule, will get you through this year ok.
    Compost is the fertilizer that keeps on giving.

    If the manure you have been offered is horse, or if it's not just goop and has aged at all, you could make use of a thin layer, well tilled in.
    The heavy feeders, such as tomatoes and corn, will be delighted.
    Use a little less for the more dainty varieties.
  4. highplains

    highplains Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    Eastern SD
    Manure and blood meal are both nitrogen rich, bone meal is high in phosphorous, the 2nd number in fertilizer packs. As others have stated watch out how fresh the manure is, and even with manure, it still doesn't hurt to add small traces of the others to give you a good combination.
    Nitrogen-Phosphorus- potassium, or NPK is your 'combo' group. If they are in harmony you will have good plants if they get water.

    Remember also that the more you fertilize, if things get dry, the greater the chance of you 'burning' the crop from it wanting to grow but no water to use so it will actually use its own water, sometimes you can see cornfields where farmers get too aggressive, and the field will be brown from too much fertilizer.

    Good luck & have fun in the garden!
  5. elkwc

    elkwc Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2007
    It is best to add manure in the fall or early spring. I have added it in the late spring with good results. The secret is not over applying. I have never in over 40 years of using horse manure burned any plants. I did over apply fresh feedlot manure and burn some once. If applied now I would apply no more than an inch. And you should be fine in my opinion if mixed in well. I also just add mine to the top during the summer and add mulch over it. Some areas I don't till anymore. Do the asparagus bed this way also. My horse manure is a mix of fresh and up to six months old applied as I take it out of the pens. Never aged in a pile. Jay