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Can you improve your onions with homemade Bonemeal?


By mrv


I was out and about last week in Croydon with my youngest son, Adam, trying to find him a new pair of jeans and exchange a bracelet for my good lady. After these chores were done I had a quick look in one of the many pound-shops and picked up and onion set (Sturon) that seemed in pretty good nick. Casting my mind back to last year, and my worst ever show of onions, I thought it best to pick up some Bonemeal.

The thought occurred “Why buy Bonemeal?”. Apart from the obvious reason that onions like Bonemeal and plenty of water when they start to swell. Surely I can make it!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to cook and I don’t like waste. For example, I make my our own chicken stock from the left over chicken carcasses and freeze it. I generally do this in batches, I put the left over carcass in a bag in the freezer and when I have two or three I put them in a big pot and away I go.

So what actually is Bonemeal? Well, simply it is ground-up dried grey bones that adds phosphorous and nitrogen to the soil as an organic slow-release fertiliser.

Not only does it sound easy, but it is easy. Having made the chicken stock you are half way there!

Here’s a quick guide.

1 Once you’ve drained your chicken stock, leave the left over solids to cool so you handle it without scalding your fingers then pick out all the chicken bones removing any attached bits.

2 Set the bones aside to start drying (I put them in a aluminium pie tin uncovered) and in our case, out of the reach of our three cats.

3 Whenever you use your oven and have finished cooking, put the bones into the cooling down oven. After a couple of goes the bones will be totally dry.

4 Grinding the bones is probably the tricky bit. We’re fortunate to have a vicious liquidiser. I simply fed the bones in in batches – the job was done in seconds. Or you could try whacking them with a hammer or with a brick. Make sure you do this safely though – protect yourself from any bits that may fly about or hurting your hands. If you are going to use a liquidiser – make absolutely sure it can do the job.

What you are left with is a blend of course and fine chicken Bonemeal. And of course, if your chicken was organic – so is your fertiliser.

Unfortunately I have been a bit ill for the last month or so – so I am a little behind in preparing my veg patch, so I’ve done my initial planting of the onion set in modules. Once these start to get going I’ll prepare the rows with a lovely dose of my homemade Bonemeal. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Happy Gardening,


Copyright 2011 Mark Ketteringham

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