Bone of con­tention

Amateur Gardening - - Ask The Ag Experts! -

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

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