Bone meal, is my preferred source for longer term and the slower availability of, P (phosphorous), Ca (calcium), and some N (nitrogen). Today’s advice is mostly relevant to those of you leveraging the living soil to grow your cannabis. Bone meal packs a real decent amount of Ca (calcium), which is primo, and balances the pH effects of the P; & proteins.
True Living Organics (TLO) style growing fully relies upon the living soil. It is an all-natural (Supernatural) style of growing that uses no bottled or synthetic nutrients. Here’s a link to my latest book on the subject: True Living Organics 2nd Edition by The Rev. TLO style uses nature’s guidance, indoors. It leverages the natural powers of nature, producing highly superior cannabis results. Okay then, on with the show…
Types of Bone Meal
I’m Not a Fan of Steamed Bone Meal
There are some choices when it comes to your sources. My favorite at the time of this writing is, Fish Bone Meal, by Down to Earth brand (above). There are many good ones out there. Espoma is another brand I prefer. My reasoning regarding my dislike for the steamed version, is my belief that it is in fact, a bit too available. This has a negative effect on the soil life. Anything, any nutrient that is too available in any real amount, will have this negative effect. It is quite unnatural.
Ever overfeed your fish in an aquarium before? Anytime you add too much food to a closed ecosphere, like a growing container, fish tank, or whatever. Chaos and death ensue. Too much P available, looks a lot like too much food available (see photo below). It’s an overdose. It’s the problem most of you have, that I see. Any deficiency of, lock out of, or overdose of any one needed nutrient, will negatively affect all the other nutrients’ availability in short order.
One of my all-time favorite emails was like 10 years ago. The grower asked me if he could grind up moose skulls to make the bone meal, that he needed for his TLO soil mix. I said, “hells yeah you can.” About a year later he emailed me again telling me how awesome it was working, and thanked me. No thanks needed, heh heh. Grinding up moose skulls is what I call adapting to your own environment, in a big way. Homemade moose skull bone meal. I love it 😊
P Number Runs High for Bone Meal
It seems like the bone meal would have way too much P present, at 15%, assuming say a 3-15-0 as far as N-P-K numbers. However, it is slow release. Essentially due to the fact it is bound up in bones. This is something the soil life will make available. It also isn’t normally just bones ground up. There are some other things, like entrails, that can be included. N-P-K numbers can vary quite a bit. Just make sure it’s organic/all-natural.
Don’t be confused about P being available to your plants in a living soil mix, per your soil’s pH. The pH of your soil itself is not really too relevant when compared to the rhizosphere zones. The microlife in concert with the plant roots adjusts the pH locally in the rhizosphere. Microenvironments, at various pH values. Not to mention the fact that mycorrhizal fungus is well able to make P available to the plant. So, while your soil may overall pH at around 7.0, phosphorous will still be made available, thanks to the living nature of your soil. Specifically, within the rhizosphere.
You may think to yourself… “self, my liquid fish fertilizer only has a 5% P value. So, that means it’s even safer to use than bone meal.” You’d be dead wrong. It’s all about FORM. In liquid nutrients, any P value is liquid phosphoric acid. SUPER DUPER highly available! And SUPER pH diving! So, SUPER deadly to much of your soil life when introduced to your soil—except when used in nano doses. Like two drops per gallon nano.
Never use a liquid bone meal product! Anytime you add pH altering fertilizers, or even classic high PPM living teas to your plants, you are wreaking havoc upon your soil’s microbial life. It takes them about 2 weeks to get back to work at full power. Losing 2 weeks during flowering is tragic.
Bone meal P value, even at a 15 (15%) is highly friendly to the soil life and the plant. It becomes available slow and steady. Just as the plant prefers to get it. Same goes for the Ca present. Bone meal is also fairly fat with protein, which further enhances your soil life. Further enhancing your plant life.
How We Do
There are a few great ways to incorporate bone meal into your growing dynamic. First and foremost, if you build custom soil mixes, it’s a must add, in my opinion. I use it as an amendment to my custom recycling soil mix, always. It also makes for a good top dressing. I would recommend using it lightly this way; say like, ½ teaspoon per 3-gallon container, at a time. At least 10 days apart. Stop applying this Halfway through flowering.
My favorite way to use bone meal in my supernatural dynamic, aside from in my soil mix build, is using layers. Without fail, I always drop some bone meal onto the floor of any container, before adding soil to that container for growing in. Use about 1 level tablespoon of bone meal in a 3- to 5-gallon growing container, on the floor of that container. I lay it out in a few thicker stripes of bone meal, rather than spreading it out too much.
I have used bone meal in teas before, and it works decently. As with everything else, don’t overuse/overdose bone meal. You don’t need a ton of it. As long as your plants have access to it their whole lives, they will store up a lot of P they can use during flowering. No need to goose them with a bunch of anything that is high P when they go into flowering. Just keep it slow and steady baybee. Your yields will increase. Yep, I said that. And it’s so true.
- Bone meal supplies long term mild levels of P, which is how nature meant it to be used.
- A lot of Ca also present makes it a pH buffer/raiser. This is particularly helpful when building soil mixes. This buffering/raising also favors bacterial life; cannabis thrives in bacterial dominant soils. Bacteria thrive in soils that run around 7.0 pH (6.8 to 7.2).
- In a true living soil, your P will still be available to the plants, even if that soil has a pH around 7.0, which normally renders P mostly unavailable.
- The N/proteins present from the occasional entrails and whatnot in the bone meal, makes it particularly pro-biotic, as well as highly nutritional.
- Can be used in teas, but in nano amounts. Like, 1/8th teaspoon per 5 gallons of tea.
Bone meal is an excellent companion addition for layering, and top dressing. Bone meal and alfalfa meal, make for one bad ass, all purpose, cannabis growing blend. 1-part bone meal, to 2-parts alfalfa meal. Try it as a top dressing, and see the power! Check out this other Rev article about blood meal. Looking for some exotic cannabis seeds? Check out KOS baybee! Cheers.
- REvski 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.