Bone of contention
Q I accidentally bought a tub of bone meal instead of fish, blood and bone. If I mix part of it with some wood-ash (potash) and coffee grounds (nitrogen) in equal proportions would the result be an acceptable general fertilizer? Paul Dean, Berkeley, Glos.
A By all means add wood ash and coffee grounds to the bone meal – it will improve the texture of the soil and nourish plants.
Avoid using wood ash around rhododendrons and other ericaceous kinds as it has an alkaline end reaction, which is detrimental to growth.
If you apply bone meal in spring and autumn it will break down over several months and feed plants for around three years. Admittedly, fish, blood and bone meal is quicker acting and nourishes growth within a week or so, but bone meal, though slower acting, also adds invaluable humus to the soil.
Bone meal is a long-term feed