Bonemeal?? I need straight answers

Bloomin_Onion(2/3)July 18, 2014

Hi there, so can someone please let me know just how long it takes for the bacteria in soil to turn bonemeal into Phosphorous? I water the soil VERY well almost every day as my garden faces the west and gets dry fast. It's just regular bonemeal I bought from the garden centre of the local home depot type of store, it's not fine powder or anything, and I think it's bovine and not fish but I'd have to check the package.
Some say 6 months, someone on another forum on here said 2 weeks and my morning glories would start blooming, other websites say 2 months it's in full swing, 6 months of growing season and consistent watering and the effects have basically been used up. So which is it?? I'm so confused...
I know my soil needs Phosphorous. I fert'd it with a 12-4-8 and now my plants are all huge and green but struggling to push out fruit and flowers. I opted for the organic phos rather than the other stuff as my garden has had enough of that. But CAN I expect ANY results before first frost?? Will it help my tomatoes to finally flower up before October, or am I doomed to wait until next spring (which is the middle of May around here in zone 3 southern Canada, after a 6.5 month HARSH winter which will feel like FOREVER lol)
Thanks in advance!

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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

Bone meal is supposed to supply both Calcium and Phosphorus in soils that are deficient in them. But that depends on many factors including how active a Soil Food Web the soil has.
Most soils have adequate levels of Phosphorus and seldom need additions, although those with a vested interest in selling you something you do not need will tell you differently. How do you know that your soil needed P added? What did a good reliable soil test tell you about that? Who did the soil test?

Here is a link that might be useful: About soils need of Phosphorus

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 6:16AM
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gardengal48

Because it is an organic supplement, it is naturally slow acting and releases phosphorus over a period of time. The complete effect would be closer to the 6 month mark than anything else.

The advise to test before applying is sound. Most soils do contain adequate levels of P and lack of blooms may be more likely attributed to excessive amounts of N from your previously applied ferts rather than insufficient P.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:21PM
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Bloomin_Onion(2/3)

I know, and thanks, I guess I can't expect anyone to just tell me about bonemeal without commenting on my soil or my garden. I just wanted to skip the "why are you using it", but really my particular garden excluded, generally, in any garden, how long does bacteria take to turn bone meal into 15P. I mean, I wish I could find the answer on some kind of chemical site, but I've found nothing. I just want a dry, to the point answer... if you take some soil from anywhere, add dirt, add bone meal and add water, assuming that there's bacteria in the soil which let's just not be difficult about that and assume there is, how long does the process take. thanks :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:28PM
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gardengal48

You received your answer.......it is NOT fast acting so allow about 6 months. You are not going to get anything more definite than that as there are too many variables involved to be precise - soil temperatures, pH levels, irrigation (both natural and manual) frequency, existing populations of the organisms necessary to the break down the bone meal, etc.

As to not commenting on your soil and the need for testing, you should be aware that unless you have correct info on your current soil status - achieved only via testing - bone meal may take even longer to react properly, if at all. That's why any sort of definitive answer is impossible to provide.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:50PM
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grubby_AZ

To elaborate a very little bit on the above really good comment from gardengal, bone meal and other mineral supplements are always long term remedies for problems, but one thing that will make that long term even longer is soil pH. If yours gets up in to the mid sevens, mineral breakdown and uptake rates get clobbered bigtime.

You might check your pH or even (at the least!) do an acid fizz test before exploring other causes of deficiencies, and I never suggest pH tests, but this could be key.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:44PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Contact a soil professional at a local college/university or at a soil testing lab or a soil consultant.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 1:00AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

The reason for asking about soil tests and why you think the soil may need something is because often soils do not need that supplement. One reason many states, today, ban P in fertilizers is because excess P is causing major problems in the lakes, algae growth.
The nutrient levels in my soil has gone from low optimum to high optimum without the use of things such as Bone Meal, or Rock Phosphate, or anything else other then organic matter.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 6:21AM
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magnetico

Bone meal can have very high levels of fluoride in it. I wouldn't use it for that reason. Fluoride is very dangerous. There are several very good books on the subject. It accumulates in the body, especially in the bones, and that's why bone meal can have such high quantities in it.
Fluoride Alert

This post was edited by magnetico on Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 23:06

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:40PM
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Slimy_Okra(2b)

I've asked you before where you live in Canada but you never responded. Here in Saskatchewan, everyone's crops are late because of the cold spring and cold, wet soil. If your plants are healthy, I'd avoid messing with them and just let them do their thing. There's still time, you can always throw a row cover or light blanket over them when the first frost hits, to prolong the ripening season.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 12:10AM
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