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Blood meal

Organic Blood meal by Burpee similar to what is available on various online stores in many countries

Blood Meal and Its Use in a Permaculture Farmstead:

What is Blood Meal? Blood meal is a natural, organic fertilizer made from dried and powdered animal blood, typically sourced from slaughterhouses or made locally. It is a byproduct of the meat industry and provides a concentrated source of nitrogen, one of the essential nutrients for plant growth.

Use in Permaculture Farmstead: In a permaculture farmstead, blood meal can be a valuable addition to the nutrient management system. It is used to enrich the soil and provide plants with an easily accessible source of nitrogen. Permaculture emphasizes sustainability and regenerative practices, and blood meal aligns well with these principles as it utilizes a waste product from the meat industry, turning it into a valuable resource for plant growth.

Benefits of Blood Meal:

  1. High Nitrogen Content: Blood meal contains a high concentration of nitrogen, promoting vigorous leafy growth in plants. It is particularly beneficial for leafy greens, vegetables, and fast-growing annuals.
  2. Quick Release of Nutrients: The nitrogen in blood meal is readily available to plants, providing an instant nutrient boost to support their early growth stages.
  3. Organic and Sustainable: Blood meal is an organic fertilizer, making it a preferred choice for permaculture practitioners who prioritize natural and sustainable gardening practices.
  4. Soil Improvement: Adding blood meal to the soil enhances its fertility, structure, and microbial activity, which contributes to overall soil health and nutrient cycling.
  5. Versatility: Blood meal can be used as a soil amendment, as well as a component of compost or compost tea, enriching these organic matter sources with nitrogen.

Risks and Precautions:

  1. High Nitrogen Concentration: While the high nitrogen content of blood meal is beneficial, excessive application can lead to nitrogen burn in plants, causing leaves to yellow and damage to plant health. It is essential to follow recommended application rates.
  2. Attracts Pests: The strong scent of blood meal may attract animals, such as dogs, jackals, rats or mice. To prevent unwanted visitors, apply blood meal beneath a layer of mulch or cover it with soil.
  3. Environmental Impact: Blood meal production may have environmental implications, including energy-intensive processing and transportation. Sourcing locally or using alternative nitrogen sources can mitigate this impact.
  4. Bloodborne Pathogens: Blood meal is sterilized during the production process, but it’s absolutely necessary to handle it with care to avoid any potential contamination. Always wear gloves when handling blood meal.

Application Tips:

  • For permaculture practices, use blood meal sparingly and integrate it with other organic fertilizers, such as compost or aged manure, to provide a balanced nutrient supply.
  • Follow the recommended application rates, usually indicated on the product label, and monitor plant responses to avoid over-fertilization.
  • Incorporate blood meal into the soil before planting or side-dress around existing plants, then water thoroughly to help nutrients reach the root zone.

Used thoughtfully and with an understanding of its benefits and risks, blood meal can be a valuable tool in enhancing the fertility and productivity of a permaculture farmstead.

Using organic blood

Using blood in a permaculture homestead or rural village setting involves careful and responsible handling. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Materials Needed:

  • Animal blood (from humane and ethical animal slaughter)
  • Clean, non-toxic containers or trays
  • A strainer or cheesecloth
  • Organic compost or garden soil
  • Mulch (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Humane Slaughter:
    • If you raise animals for meat on your permaculture homestead or in your rural village, prioritize their well-being and humane treatment throughout their lives. When the time for slaughter comes, ensure that the process is done ethically and humanely, following proper animal welfare practices.
  2. Collecting Blood:
    • After the animal is slaughtered, collect the blood in a clean and non-toxic container or tray. Handle the blood carefully to prevent contamination.
  3. Straining:
    • To remove any impurities or clots, strain the collected blood through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a clean container.
  4. Composting or Soil Incorporation:
    • If you have a compost pile, you can mix the strained blood directly into the compost. Blood is a good source of nitrogen, which will help accelerate the decomposition process.
    • If you don’t compost, you can incorporate the blood directly into the garden soil. Dig shallow trenches in the garden bed, pour the blood into the trenches, and cover it with a layer of soil.
  5. Mulching (Optional):
    • If you prefer, you can cover the blood-incorporated soil with a layer of mulch to prevent any unpleasant odors and to provide additional nutrients as the mulch decomposes.

Safety Precautions:

  • Always handle blood with care to avoid contact with open wounds or mucous membranes. Wear gloves when handling animal blood.
  • Clean all equipment used to collect and strain the blood thoroughly after use.


  • Remember that using blood from slaughtered animals should be done with respect and responsibility. In permaculture, the goal is to create a sustainable and balanced ecosystem, which includes recognizing the interconnectedness of all life.
  • Blood is a valuable source of nitrogen, but its use should be in moderation to prevent over-fertilization and potential environmental issues. Combining blood with other organic matter in compost or soil will provide a more balanced nutrient supply for your plants.

Making blood meal

It may be more practical to make blood meal and use that in your soil rather than applying blood directly.

Here’s how you can make blood meal at home from collected animal blood:

Materials Needed:

  • Animal blood (collected from humane and ethical animal slaughter)
  • Non-toxic container with a lid (to collect the blood)
  • Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
  • Large shallow pans or trays
  • Oven or dehydrator
  • Blender or coffee grinder (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Collecting and Straining Blood:
    • After the animal is slaughtered, collect the blood in a clean and non-toxic container with a lid to prevent spills and contamination.
    • Strain the collected blood through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer into another clean container to remove any clots or impurities.
  2. Dehydration:
    • Pour the strained blood into large shallow pans or trays. The thickness of the blood layer should be about 3 to 6 millimeters.
    • Place the pans or trays in a well-ventilated and dry area, preferably outdoors behind a fly screen or in a dehydrator if you have one. Allow the blood to dry completely clear of flies and animals.
  3. Grinding (Optional):
    • Once the blood is completely dried, you can use a blender or coffee grinder to grind it into a fine powder. This step is optional, as dried blood can be used as is without grinding.
  4. Storage:
    • Transfer the blood meal into a clean, airtight container for storage. Mason jars or sealed plastic containers work well. Keep the blood meal in a cool, dry place.


  • Blood meal is a potent source of nitrogen, so use it sparingly. Follow the recommended application rates for your plants, and avoid over-fertilizing to prevent nitrogen burn.
  • Sprinkle the blood meal around the base of plants or incorporate it into the soil before planting. Water thoroughly to help nutrients reach the root zone.

Safety Precautions:

  • Always handle blood with care to avoid contact with open wounds or mucous membranes. Wear gloves when collecting and straining animal blood.
  • Clean all equipment used to collect and process the blood thoroughly after use.

Making blood meal at home allows you to create a valuable source of organic nitrogen fertilizer from the byproduct of humane and ethical animal slaughter. Properly used, blood meal can contribute to the fertility and productivity of your permaculture garden or farmstead.

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