there will (not) be blood (meal)

Yesterday I posted a list of experiments that I want to try in the 2015 vegetable garden. There was one listing that I finished writing, then deleted.

It wasn’t an experiment per se; just something new for me. Blood meal.

I decided against trying a test of blood meal as I wrote down the idea. I’d like to start steering away from the ‘just throw on an amendment’ mindset that’s so tempting to contemplate on slow winter nights.

Last year after getting results from a soil test, I determined that blood meal might be a good choice. The Extension Agency recommended adding nitrogen, and blood meal or cottonseed meal seemed like a precise, easy organic solution.


But as I made the list last night, it hit me that on a small scale, this was probably the same thought process that led to the synthetic fertilizer boom in the mid-20th century.

Wow, this is getting a little deep. Hold on and I’ll try to ‘splain, Lucy.

Quick, precise, easy amendments. Farmers and gardeners wanted something that worked fast, could be precisely measured, and was easily transported. I don’t think I want that, even if it’s organic. Nature spanks quick people. It makes a mockery of precise. And it generally favors diversity.

What occurred to me is that the money I intended to spend on an organic nitrogen supplement might better be used on another soil test. Since the last test, I’ve added tons of compost, some coffee grounds and a green manure crop to the soil. There’s a real possibility that those nitrogen requirements have already been met in a bulky, imprecise kind of way.

If not, I’ll rethink. There’s more compost in the bins that should be ready to go at planting time, and I just like the slowness and bulk and goodness of that.

Although I really hope this year’s test shows a potassium deficiency. All that free banana meal, you know?

9 thoughts on “there will (not) be blood (meal)

  1. Good thinking. Adding something back to the soil is necessary since you’re taking something out every year, but your right. Getting it tested again is not only wise, but I bet it will be interesting to see the difference if there is one.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree, your winter cover crop should have provided the soil with ample nitrogen so why add more. You can always add it to individual crops as needed if you see signs of deficiency anyways. Let us know the results. I also did a cover crop and am already seeing some VERY deep green romaine and very robust and vigorous growth after a few weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

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