Horn shavings and horn meal have been used as organic fertilizer by responsible gardeners and organic farmers for many years. Because the right location and the regular supply of moisture alone are often not enough to optimally promote the growth and development of plants. The plants extract important nutrients and minerals from the substrate via their roots. Especially when cultivating plants that consume a lot, the soil often needs additional treatment with fertilizer.

The grain size decides

Horn shavings, flour and semolina are summarized under the generic term “horn fertilizer”. The fertilizer obtained from crushed horn has a long-lasting effect. The particle size of the shavings decides how long it takes to shred. This process can take a few weeks to several months.

Horn shavings are rich in nitrogen, but the fertilizer lacks other important nutrients. In order to refresh the soil sufficiently, the horn fertilizer must therefore be mixed with other organic fertilizers, such as compost or crushed egg shells. There is a quantity specification for fertilizing with horn meal or shavings only in connection with lawn fertilization. However, due to the slow decomposition time, an oversupply of nitrogen is not possible. If possible, take a soil sample and have it analyzed. This is the only way you can supplement deficient nutrients in a targeted manner and avoid overloading with potash, phosphorus and the like.

A nitrogen boost for crops

While frugal plants only need to enrich the soil with nitrogen at the beginning of the main growing season, other plants are much more demanding. Vegetables in particular, such as tomatoes and lettuce, require large amounts of nitrogen-rich fertilizer during the flowering period. Horn shavings are unsuitable for heavily consuming plants, as the important nutrient only partially reaches the roots of the plants. The significantly finer ground horn meal, on the other hand, releases the nitrogen within a very short time.

Other, slow-growing types of vegetables also benefit from fertilizing with the fine horn fertilizer. These include, for example:

  • cabbage varieties
  • eggplants
  • pumpkins
  • cucumbers
  • Lauch
  • Spinach

If you run a mixed culture in your own crop bed, you can easily fertilize with horn shavings and flour at the same time. Because weakly consuming plants benefit from the long-term effect of the coarse horn material, while the “heavy eaters” cover their need for nitrogen through the rapid decomposition of the horn meal. Do not fertilize with the finely ground horn fertilizer about four weeks before the harvest date. Because large amounts of nitrogen would otherwise settle unused in the leaves of cabbage and lettuce and would enter the human organism through consumption.

Note: Only fertilize where absolutely necessary. Some soils are already heavily enriched with nitrogen.

The right stuff for organic gardeners

Horn fertilizer has been used successfully for years as a nitrogen supplier in the commercial cultivation of organic vegetables. Your own garden can also benefit from the organic product with the smell that takes some getting used to. Whether borders, hill and vegetable beds or the living privacy hedge, you can add horn shavings everywhere. This strengthens the resistance and development of the plants. Coarse-grain horn fertilizer often takes several months to decompose completely, depending on the weather, temperature and soil composition.

For lightly consuming plants and ornamental plants, it is sufficient if you mix a mixture of compost and horn shavings under the substrate at the beginning and end of August. For this purpose, the soil should be sufficiently mulched and freed from annoying weeds. The fertilizer itself is carefully worked a few centimeters deep into the soil with a garden tool. Roots and plant shoots should not be damaged during this work. You can use horn meal for additional top fertilization in summer. If possible, do not combine the horn fertilizer with other nitrogen-containing, organic garden fertilizers. These include, for example, coffee grounds and lawn clippings.

Note: Horn fertilizer does not cause burns on the plants when used normally.

The optimal start to a healthy plant life

The organic fertilizer is well suited for the regular preparation of the soil. As a basic fertilizer, horn shavings enrich the soil with nitrogen, which promotes the growth of freshly planted plants. In order to use the long-term effect of the garden fertilizer optimally, the excavated soil is mixed with compost and coarse horn shavings. The coarse pieces of horn can also be sprinkled directly into the planting hole. The environmentally friendly material made from renewable raw materials is also very well suited as a basic fertilizer for ground cover, perennials and hedges.

Microorganisms and other soil dwellers, such as earthworms and woodlice, are responsible for decomposing the horn shavings. As a result of this process, the horn manure is converted into humus and the released nitrogen slowly enriches the soil. In conventional potting soil, on the other hand, a large part of these useful creatures is missing, so that the organic garden fertilizer cannot develop its full effect. When fertilizing your potted plants, you should preferably use other natural nutrient suppliers, such as nettle manure or coffee grounds.

Ideal fertilizer for lawns

Horn fertilizer is not only used as a valuable supplier of nitrogen in the vegetable garden, but also promotes the healthy growth of commercial and ornamental lawns. The crushed horn can be used in different ways on lawns:

  • Horn meal as a fast nitrogen supplier.
  • Horn shavings as long-term fertilizer.

Due to their size, horn shavings are unsuitable for quickly remedying any deficiencies in the lawn. In this case, fertilize with horn meal and use the coarse cattle horn in the spring for a long-term supply of nitrogen. To do this, spread the fertilizer over a large area over the slightly damp green area. The approximate dosage of fertilizer here is about 30 grams per square meter. Over-fertilizing with horn shavings is difficult, so you can also use larger amounts of the coarse-grained cattle horn. Before the entire action, the entire lawn should be cleared of weeds and cut short.

Tips for correct application

The garden fertilizer is easy to use and spread. Promote the health of your plants with the tips and tricks listed here and also counteract infestation with fungal pathogens and pests.

Basic fertilizer – horn fertilizer is free of phosphorus and pH-neutral. Only use horn shavings and meal as basic fertilizer or for a quick supply of nitrogen. In order to promote the development and growth of particularly demanding plants, horn fertilizer should only be used in combination with humus in spring on very lean and dry soil.

When to fertilize – In order not to unnecessarily burden the substrate with nitrate, no fertilization should take place in late autumn with the nitrogen-rich horn shavings and meal. To make the garden and the plants winter-proof, brushwood and withered leaves have proven their worth. Cover the plants generously with these materials and only mix fertilizers such as compost, lawn clippings or horn fertilizer under the soil in early spring.

Pests – Horn shavings have a peculiar odor about them. Many snails avoid plants that are fertilized with this organic material. Spread some of the coarser pieces of horn around the growth to increase the radius of action. However, caution is advised with dog owners: Some animals literally like horn fertilizer to eat and may devastate the entire bed in their search for the strange-smelling cow horn.

The optimal mix

Bark mulch requires large amounts of nitrogen to decompose. If you want to protect your plants with a thick layer of crushed tree bark, you should first mix a layer of horn shavings into the substrate. While the bark mulch reliably protects against weeds and the soil drying out too quickly, the horn fertilizer ensures that the soil is efficiently and quickly converted into compost.

Compost  – Enrich the compost with horn meal and shavings. The horn fertilizer promotes the decomposition process and enriches the humus-rich, fresh soil with important nutrients.

Liquid Fertilizer – Pour lukewarm water over horn shavings and let this brew sit for about three to four days. Then pour a small capful into the irrigation water and water the potted plants with it. Particularly well suited if you do not have any horn meal at hand, but the plants currently have an undersupply of nitrogen.

Raised Beds  – When constructing mounds and raised beds, you can incorporate horn shavings into the layers of compost. In the first two to three years, however, the additional application of horn meal and shavings is not necessary.
horn meal ? If you need finely ground horn fertilizer, you can also crush coarse pieces of horn yourself.

Hydroponic – Horn fertilizer is not suitable for hydroponic nutrient supply. Special products are required for the fertilization of these plants in order to avoid mold growth in the container.

Tip: ‘Less is often more’ – this motto also applies to the application of organic garden fertilizer.

The fertilizer obtained from ground cattle horns and hooves has a high nitrogen content. Due to its organic origin, horn fertilizer is very compatible with the soil and serves as a nutrient for microorganisms and Co. Nitrogen supports the growth and development of useful and ornamental plants. With horn shavings and flour, you ensure a biological balance in the garden without permanently changing the pH value of the soil.

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