Bone meal is good for cucumbers when they are developing. Mixing bone meal through the soil before planting cucumber seeds or seedlings is a great way to boost the nitrogen and phosphorus level. This will support the cucumbers to strong vines, lots of flowers and fruit.
Bone meal is made from steamed bones and can also contain blood and muscle material. Depending on the product it and how it is made it can be high in nitrogen. Adding too much to the soil can stop cucumbers from producing fruit, prioritizing leaf and stem growth instead.
Adding a small amount when planting seedlings will add nutrients without delaying fruit production. Some formulations of bone meal will have a higher ratio of potassium, and all will contain loads of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
This article will explore how to use bone meal on cucumbers, the best time to add it and how much to add for the best cucumber vines and loads of fruit.
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Adding Bone Meal to Cucumbers
Cucumbers are quick growing vines, which grow best when the soil is full of organic matter and free draining. They need some nitrogen but too much can slow the growth of flowers and cucumbers.
Add a small amount of bone meal to your soil before planting cucumber plants. After 4-6 weeks feed them with a high phosphorus fertilizer like sulfate of potash to promote flower growth. Some bone meal mixes will have a higher potassium to nitrogen ratio so can be applied again 4 weeks after planting.
Nutrients in bone meal that benefit cucumbers
Bone meal is full of nutrients and minerals that support strong plant growth. They are essential for good stem growth, healthy roots, flower development and fruit. If the plants are lacking these nutrients, their growth can be stunted, and they will grow less cucumbers.
One of the main minerals in bone meal is calcium. The crushed bones are full of calcium which will slowly incorporate into the soil and can be absorbed by the plant. Adding this to the soil before planting will give the soil bacteria and worms time to break down the calcium further, mix it through the soil and make it available in a way that the plant roots can absorb.
The phosphorus content of bone meal can differ depending on the formulation. Some mixes that contain more blood and muscle tissue will be naturally higher in nitrogen, while those with a higher bone content will contain more phosphorus.
Most bone meal fertilizers have an NPK ratio around 5:15:0, meaning they are low in potassium, high in phosphorus and contain some nitrogen.
How to apply bone meal to cucumbers
Bone meal comes in powdered form that can be sprinkled or spread across your garden soil or over the top of raised garden beds.
Before planting cucumbers apply around 1 cup of bone meal for every 30 square feet of soil. This is about a cup for 5×5 foot garden bed. Mix it through the top of the soil thoroughly with a garden fork. You can also add compost and aged cow manure at the same time to add extra organic matter.
When to apply bone meal to cucumbers
Mix bone meal into the soil around 4 weeks before planting if you can. This will give it the time to start to break down and release nutrients into the soil. If you don’t have this time and want to plant your cucumbers straight away you can.
They will not be burnt by the fertilizer but it will take a little longer before they are able to access all of the nutrients.
How to apply bone meal to cucumbers
Wear garden gloves and a mask and gently sprinkle the bone meal over the soil with your hand or in a small cup. You can measure it out first and gently and evenly spread it across your soil.
Use a rake to gently move it across the soil and make it even. You can then mix it through the top foot of soil with a garden fork.
Another way to apply bone meal is to mix it with compost. Add around a cup of bone meal to a wheelbarrow full of compost. Mix it through and add the whole lot to your garden bed. This will be enough to cover a 5×5 foot space.
Do cucumbers need bone meal?
Cucumbers do not need bone meal but it is a useful way to add nitrogen and phosphorus to the soil. Bone meal contains loads of minerals so only add it to your soil once or twice per year. This will be enough to add the minerals your plant needs without overloading it with phosphorus or nitrogen.
What plants love bone meal?
It is very good for plants grown for their leaves. These leafy greens like lettuce, spinach, silverbeet and kale all love lots of nitrogen. It encourages lots of leaf growth and good crops.
Avoid adding bone meal to root or bulb crops – this will give them lots of leaves and smaller roots and bulbs. Avoid adding it to peas and beans because they make their own nitrogen so won’t need it.
For more on adding bone meal to your soil, check out this video here.
Is Bone Meal Good for Cucumbers? | Summary
Bone meal is a great, natural way to boost the nutrients and minerals in your soil before planting cucumbers. Plant cucumbers in spring in soil with added bone meal for strong vines and loads of fruit later in the season. Take care to add bone meal sparingly because too much can slow the production of cucumbers.
Bone meal is a great, organic way to add calcium to soil. This is essential for fruit production and will support the next years crops of tomatoes and peppers. Bone meal can be purchased from most garden centers or on Amazon. Most gardeners will have a bag in their too shed, ready to apply at the start of each season for their leafy crops.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.