Apart from being organic and environmental friendly, bone meal is chock full of nutrients like phosphorus, calcium and nitrogen.
Being an edible plant, tomatoes need good amount of fertilizers to produce best yield. Instead of wasting your money on chemical fertilizers, you can try kitchen leftovers to enrich the garden soil.
Without fertilizers you may not get enough tomatoes while harvesting.
Is bone meal good for tomatoes?
Experts say bone meal has an NPK ratio of 3:15:0.
Higher concentration on phosphorus in this organic fertilizer will boost photosynthesis process in plants and help to produce juicy tomatoes. (Source)
Conduct soil test, if your garden soil has low amount of phosphorus then adding bone meal powder will benefit your growing medium to increase yield.
Note: For a balanced NPK ratio, you must add nitrogen and potassium rich fertilizers to your tomato plant.
Also Read: Is Bone Meal Good for Growing Potatoes
Bone meal nutritional content
This is finely grounded mixture of animal bone and slaughter house animal waste.
Nutrients in bone meal may differ from supplier to supplier. However, normally this organic fertilizer has good amount of phosphorus and calcium. Though it has low nitrogen and zero potassium, gardening experts say it goes well with vegetable plants.
You can also make bone meal powder at home, washing, boiling, drying and grinding.
As listed, NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) ratio of bone meal is 3:15:0.
- Phosphorus helps in seed and flower formation. It is also important for photosynthesis process.
- Calcium in bone meal improves root growth by making it strong. It can help prevent tomato end rot.
- Unlike chemical fertilizers, adding bone meal with help achieve organic vegetables.
- You can use other amendments with bone meal like manure that are rich in nitrogen for best results.
Also Read: How to use bone meal for cucumber?
Nutritional needs of tomato plants
Almost all plants require nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium for photosynthesis process.
Apart from NPK, tomato plant need calcium, sulfur, magnesium and other micronutrients like zinc, copper, iron, boron, manganese and molybdenum.(Source)
At different stages of growth, your tomato plant will need different nutrients.
- No fertilizers are needed at germination level.
- In early fruiting stage, tomato plant requires nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium and potassium.
- While in mature stage, your plant will need high amount of macro and micro nutrients along with NPK.
Using high levels of nitrogen in early stages may result in curled leaves.
Apply 10:10:10 ratio fertilizer 2 weeks before planting tomato seedlings. Balanced NPK ratio is very important to grow successful tomatoes.
How to Use: Bone Meal for Tomato Plants?
Nutrients in bone meal and nutritional elements required by tomato plants are listed above.
A brief take away from above article is adding bone meal to garden soil will help your tomato plant to produce quality yield. But, along with this organic fertilizer you must add other natural fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen and potassium.
A balanced NPK ratio will save your plant from over fertilizing.
Now, how much bone meal is needed for one tomato plant and how to use it?
Bone meal is a slow release fertilizer and works best in slightly acidic soil.
Later in this article I will mention simple steps to make your own organic bone meal at home.
Check this out: Growing Tomatoes in Clay Soil
Using bone meal to tomato plant
It’s important to conduct soil test before using any fertilizer. This will allow you to know the nutrients in your garden soil and how much more nutrients you need.
Slightly acidic soil will allow the nutrients to draw from bone meal to soil. A pH of 7 would be great and tomato plants do well in pH 6.0 to 7.0.
Add bone meal while planting tomato seedlings
- Get tomato seedlings and choose a location in your garden that gets enough sunlight.
- Add bone meal powder to bottom of the hole you dig to plant the seedling.
- Experts recommend adding Epsom salt and sugar to boost the yield.
- If you’re starting with tomato seeds directly, then cover the bone meal with thin layer of soil before sowing seeds.
How to add bone meal fertilizer to established tomato plant?
Take bone meal powder and add to surface of the soil. Cover it with a thin layer of garden soil and water generously.
How much bone meal per tomato plant?
It depends on the nutrients of your garden soil. If it has less phosphorus, then adding bone meal will do wonders.
Anyway, you can add 1 teaspoon of bone meal to the soil while planting tomato seedling or sprinkle 1 teaspoon around established tomato plant and cover it with soil.
- You must use bone meal only when the soil pH is less than 7.
- Add 1 tablespoon of bone meal for 2 square feet of soil.
- Water the tomato plant after adding bone meal, this will help to break and allow the fertilizer to activate. (Source: Masterclass.com)
Also Read: Holes in Potato leaves
Benefits of using bone meal for vegetable plants
Nutritional benefits of bone meal are listed above.
However, let me repeat in brief.
Bone meal is considered good source of phosphorus and calcium for your tomato plant. Trace amount of nitrogen also contribute in healthy growth of most vegetable plants.
- Balanced use of bone meal along with other fertilizers will help to increase the tomato yield.
- With phosphorus and macro nutrients, you’ll get juicy better sized tomatoes in nest season.
- Calcium housed in this organic fertilizer will help to make stronger roots and stems.
- Bone meal nutrients also help to reduce blossom end rot problem.
It also helps improve draining ability of your soil.
Disadvantages of bone meal for vegetable plants
Along with benefits, bone meal use has some drawbacks too.
- As discussed above, soil pH above 7 isn’t suitable for bone meal use as a fertilizer.
- Because bone meal is rich in phosphorus and calcium, you must add other amendments to soil so that the plant gets balanced nutrient ratio.
- This is obvious, too much use of bone meal will ruin plant yield. Your vegetable garden needs a balanced NPK ratio along with other nutritional elements.
- Don’t show immediate results, it is a slow-release fertilizer.
I know, these draw back aren’t worthy to stop you from using in your garden. But, make sure you mark these points.
Check this out: Why Should I Cut Off Yellow Leaves on Tomato Plants?
When to use bone meal for tomato plants?
Add small amount of bone meal along with Epsom salt to plant hole while planting tomato seedling.
After that when the plant starts to fruit, add small amount of bone meal fertilizer after every two weeks. (Source)
Note: Remember to add other fertilizers with bone meal for balanced NPK ratio.
Also Read: Is Wood Ash Good for Tomatoes?
Alternative best fertilizers for tomato plants
Unlike chemical fertilizers, bone meal doesn’t pollute your garden soil. Instead it increases the organic nutrients in the soil. However, if you’re looking for a substitute, below are few best alternatives to bone meal.
- Poultry manure, high in phosphorus. But, make sure the foliage or leaves aren’t contacted. Else, it can cause leaf burn.
- Crab meal with NPK ratio: 5:2:0.5
- Bat guano has 4:13:1 NPK ratio.
- Rock phosphate has 0:3:0 NPK ratio.
- Soybean meal is good source of nitrogen, phosphorus and trace amount of potassium with 7:2:1 NPK ratio.
If you’re wondering, is bone meal good to use on tomato plants?
Don’t worry, you can readily use this organic fertilizer to get quality yield.
Bone meal is made from animal bones. You can either make your own bone meal at home by boiling, drying and grinding left over animal bones. Or you can get it from local store.
Either ways, your garden soil will be enriched with good source of phosphorus and calcium. However, you must use other natural fertilizer along with bone meal to have balanced NPK ratio. This is very important.
Check this video to make your own bone meal at home.
Did you ever use bone meal for tomatoes? What are the other amendments used along with this organic fertilizer.