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What is Bonemeal?

Here’s a detailed explanation of what bonemeal is, its uses, and its benefits in a small homestead setting:

What is Bonemeal?

Bonemeal is a natural organic fertilizer made from ground-up bones. It is created by grinding or crushing animal bones into a fine powder. The bones used to make bonemeal come from various sources, like leftover bones from meat processing plants or bones collected from butchers or farmers. Once ground into a powder, it becomes a nutrient-rich substance that can be used to improve the soil in gardens and farms.

What is Bonemeal Used For?

Bonemeal is mainly used as a fertilizer to provide essential nutrients to plants. When plants grow, they take nutrients from the soil, and over time, the soil can become depleted of these nutrients. Bonemeal is like a special treat for the soil, adding back the nutrients that plants need to grow strong and healthy. It is especially beneficial for plants that need more phosphorus, which is an essential nutrient for root development, flowering, and fruiting.

Benefits of Bonemeal in a Small Homestead Setting:

  1. Natural Nutrient Boost: Bonemeal is a natural and organic source of nutrients for plants. It enriches the soil with phosphorus and calcium, which are vital for healthy plant growth.
  2. Stronger Roots: Phosphorus in bonemeal helps plants develop strong root systems, making them better able to take up water and nutrients from the soil.
  3. Better Flowering and Fruiting: Plants that receive enough phosphorus tend to produce more flowers and fruits, leading to a bountiful harvest in the homestead.
  4. Long-Lasting Effect: Bonemeal releases nutrients slowly over time, ensuring that plants have a steady supply of nutrients throughout their growth stages.
  5. Environmentally Friendly: Using bonemeal supports sustainable farming practices, as it recycles waste from the meat industry and reduces the need for synthetic chemical fertilizers.
  6. Easy to Use: Bonemeal is straightforward to apply. You can sprinkle it around the base of plants or mix it into the soil before planting.
  7. Cost-Effective: For a small homestead, bonemeal can be an affordable option to improve soil fertility and enhance plant growth without the need for expensive synthetic fertilizers.

Application Tips:

  • When using bonemeal, follow the instructions on the package to avoid overapplication, as too much phosphorus can be harmful to some plants.
  • It is essential to work the bonemeal into the soil or cover it with a layer of compost to prevent it from washing away during heavy rains.
  • Use bonemeal during the initial planting or as a top dressing for established plants during the growing season.

In summary, bonemeal is a natural and beneficial fertilizer that can help improve the soil in a small homestead setting. It provides plants with essential nutrients, promotes healthy growth, and contributes to a successful and fruitful garden or farm.

How to make Bonemeal

Making bonemeal on a small farm or homestead is a simple process that can efficiently recycle animal bones and create a nutrient-rich fertilizer for the soil. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making bonemeal:

Materials Needed:

  • Animal bones (from leftover meat or collected from butchers or farmers)
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Heavy-duty gloves
  • Durable plastic bag or cloth sack
  • Blender or food processor (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide:

  1. Collect and Prepare the Bones:
    • Gather animal bones from your farm or from a local source. Ensure that the bones are clean and free from any remaining meat or tissue.
    • If the bones are large, you may need to break them into smaller pieces to make the grinding process easier. Use a hammer or mallet to crush the bones into manageable sizes.
  2. Drying the Bones (Optional):
    • If you have the time and want to ensure the bones are completely dry before grinding, spread the crushed bones out in the sun on a clean surface. Allow them to dry thoroughly for a day or two.
  3. Grinding the Bones:
    • Put the dried or crushed bones into a durable plastic bag or cloth sack. Make sure the bag is securely closed to avoid any spills during grinding.
    • Using a hammer or mallet, carefully crush the bones inside the bag until they turn into a fine powder. Alternatively, you can use a blender or food processor to achieve a finer texture.
  4. Sieve the Bonemeal (Optional):
    • If you prefer a finer and more consistent bonemeal, you can sift the powdered bones through a fine mesh sieve or strainer to remove any larger particles.
  5. Storage:
    • Transfer the bonemeal into a clean, airtight container for storage. Mason jars or sealed plastic containers work well. Keep the bonemeal in a cool, dry place.


  • When using the bonemeal as fertilizer, sprinkle it around the base of plants or mix it into the soil before planting. Follow the instructions on the package to ensure proper application rates.
  • Remember that bonemeal is rich in phosphorus, so use it primarily for plants that require more of this nutrient, such as root crops, flowering plants, and fruit-bearing trees or bushes.

Safety Precautions:

  • Always wear heavy-duty gloves when handling animal bones to protect your hands from sharp edges.
  • Ensure that the bones you use are free from any harmful substances, such as chemicals or pesticides.

By following these steps, you can create your own bonemeal on a small farm or homestead, recycling animal bones and providing your plants with a natural and nutrient-rich fertilizer.

Instruction video:

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