Bone meal is a mixture of finely grounded animal bones and slaughter house waste. It is the best example of slow release fertilizer, which is insoluble in water. So, how can cucumber plant roots absorb this organic fertilizer?
This fertilizer is broken down by soil life and it gradually releases phosphorus that is easily absorbed by your plant.
Is bone meal good for cucumber plants?
Yes. Bone meal is packed with phosphorus, calcium and nitrogen that will benefit your cucumber plant. These nutritional elements will benefit your plant to grow its root system and improve foliage.
But, remember to soil test before using bone meal. If your soil pH is higher than 7.5, using bone meal won’t help your garden.
Essential Nutrients for Growing Cucumbers
Edible plants like cucumber are heavy feeders that need essential nutrients to grow and produce healthy fruits.
According to Haifa group, cucumber crop needs Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur, Manganese, Iron, Boron, Zinc, Molybdenum and Copper.
In this, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium are essential elements.
- Your plant leaves gets its color from chlorophyll, which is responsible in converting sunlight energy to plant usable energy. Nitrogen is the nutritional element that can easily help plant to produce this essential pigment (chlorophyll). Apart from edible plants, even flowering plants will get benefited from nitrogen value in fertilizers.
- Deficiency or excess use of nitrogen will result in stunted plant growth.
- Phosphorus is responsible for production of root system. It is also essential for formation of flowers, seeds and fruits.
- Demand for phosphorus will be high in early stages of your cucumber plant. Phosphorus deficiency results in weak plant root system and older leaves turn bright yellow.
- Potassium in your fertilizer helps cucumber plant to produce high yield. It also enhances resistance ability of the plant to fight disease and to survive in low temperatures.
- Cucumbers need more potassium then nitrogen and phosphorus, if you’re growing them in green house. (Source)
Also Read: Fertilizing Cucumber Plants: How Often to Fertilize?
Benefits of Bone Meal for Cucumber Plants
- Bone meal consists of high amount of phosphorus. Its NPK value is 3-15-0. As mentioned earlier, phosphorus nutrient helps the plant to grow string in their early stage and to develop root system.
- Apart from this, phosphorus also improves formation of flowers and seeds.
- This element can make your cucumber plant resilient towards diseases and makes your cucumber plant stronger against winter. (Source)
Bone meal is a mixture of finely grounded animal bones, normally of beef and slaughter house animal waste.
Its great source of phosphorus as mentioned above.
- Calcium in this fertilizer will help to prevent blossom end rot and produce better cucumber fruit.
- If you’re buying organic bone meal from store, then you may find essential element like nitrogen added to it. Nitrogen helps to produce healthy foliage and make the plant strong.
- Most amendments in the garden consist of high amount of nitrogen levels, and using bone meal will help to balance the inequalities.
- This is a slow releasing fertilizer, which means it supply cucumber plant with enough phosphorus throughout the growing season.
- Bone meal is particularly used for its high phosphorus content. Using this fertilizer will improve the yield.
Also Read: How Often to Water Cucumber Plant?
How to Use Bone Meal for Growing Cucumbers?
For 100 square feet of your vegetable garden, you’re recommended to add 10 pounds of organic bone meal.
It’s very easy to add bone meal to your cucumber plant. Add 1 tablespoon of bone meal to planting hole.
This fertilizer will be slowly released to the soil, throughout the growing period of your cucumber plant.
Add to Compost
You can add bone meal to your compost pile. High amount of phosphorus in this fertilizer will improve NPK ratio of your compost.
Adding bone meal, blood meal and other fresh manure to your compost bin will enhance nutrients in your compost.
Also Read: Are Banana Peels Good for Cucumber Plants?
During Growing Season
As mentioned in above lines, high amount of phosphorus in bone meal will help you to produce more flowers and seeds. It also makes your root system strong.
So, sprinkling bone meal at the base of the plant and covering it with thin layer of soil will help you to increase the yield during harvest.
Fertilizing Cucumber Plants in Containers
Add bone meal to the growing medium, along with perlite and dry compost
This small amount of bone meal in the container will improve root system of the cucumber plant and help you to increase the yield.
Note: You must mix this bone meal with other fertilizer amendments. Because, it is nearly impossible to find fertilizer that have universal nutrient profile.
Also Read: Cucumber Plant Leaves Turning Yellow
How to Make Bone Meal Fertilizer at Home?
One of the most popular fertilizing amendments used around the world is bone meal.
Filled with phosphorus, calcium and some traces of nitrogen, bone meal as been used by farmers for hundreds of years to improve flowering and stimulate root development of their crop.
You can find organic bone meal fertilizer at any store that sales fertilizer. But, you can also make your own bone meal at home. Let me list out the process in points.
Animal bones are boiled or cooked, steamed and then pulverized. Most bone meal fertilizers include cow bones; however you can use other animal bones.
If your garden soil is low in phosphorus, then adding bone meal to it will certainly benefit your backyard garden.
- De-meat bones and boil the bones for about 6 hours. You can use pressure cooker or instant pot to cook bones under high heat for about 2 hours.
- You can see thinner bones will literally fall apart in your hands, but to break large cow bones you might need to take help of little hammer.
- You can either dehydrate or then pulverize later. Else, you can first pulverize and then dry the grounded bone meal.
- To get the perfect dry bone meal powder, you might have to use mortar and pestle.
- Using mortar and pestle to grind the dried bone pieces to get the fine powder.
There are many ways that you can use to make your own bone meal fertilizer for cucumber plants.
Also Read: Are Cucumbers Self-Pollinating?
Difference between Bone Meal and Blood Meal
They both are amendments that can be added to your garden to improve its fertility.
While bone meal is nothing but cooked, dried and pulverized animal bones. Blood meal is dried, powdered form of animal blood.
Bone meal is rich in phosphorus and includes traces of nitrogen, calcium and magnesium.
Blood meal consists of high concentration of nitrogen.
Both fertilizers released the nutrients slowly throughout the growing period of the plant.
Is Bone Meal Good for Plants?
Yes, it’s safe to use bone meal in your garden to improve the yield and blossoms of flowering plants.
However, you may think about the BSE (Mad Cow Disease) associated with animal bones. You don’t have to worry about this, because the animal bones used for bone meal production are tested. Apart from this, your plants can’t be able to absorb the molecules that cause BSE.
According to a report, soil with pH 7.5 or higher can’t benefit from amendments high in phosphorus. This is because; the calcium binds with phosphorus to form calcium-phosphate, which is insoluble compound.
So, it’s recommended that you conduct soil test before using bone meal. Else, with high pH higher than 7.5, using bone meal won’t help you.
Also Read: Are Eggshells Good for Cucumbers?
What Can I Use Instead of Bone Meal for Plants?
Unlike chemical additives, bone meal and blood meal have low to zero cons. However, few gardeners don’t prefer adding animal bones or blood to their vegetable garden.
Don’t worry you’ve alternate fertilizers.
Initially, test the soil to confirm the essential nutrients needed for the garden.
In case of bone meal, you can replace it with rock phosphate.
- Rock phosphate has NPK ratio of 0-3-0.
- Soybean meal has NPK ratio of 7-2-1.
- Crab meal is with 5-2-0.5 of NPK ratio.
- Poultry manure has higher concentrations of phosphorus.
- Bat guano is excellent source of phosphorus. It has NPK ratio of 4-13-1.
Bone meal is made of powdered animal bones, is great source of phosphorus for your cucumber plant. However, you must use other fertilizer amendments along with bone meal. Did you ever use bone meal for cucumber plants or any other vegetable plant? Share your views in comments.