By Sophia Ruiz

You may have noticed a lot of “meals” for sale individually and in some pre-mixed soils available at the grow shop. A meal is simply a ground, crushed or milled, pulverized pile of whatever ingredients went into it. Some meals are steeped, or hydrolyzed to make nutrients and supplements more readily available or even fermented to promote microbial and probiotic growth. That said, various meals are processed in different ways to maximize the potential benefits to your garden and each meal offers a unique blend of basic and supplemental nutrients to promote vigorous growth from cutting to finished flower. So, what are all these meals and what are they made from? And furthermore, why are they in there and what does each offer my plants? This brief article will give you a 30,000 foot aerial view of the meals that might be working in your organic soil mix.


Alfalfa meal is a great fertilizer and soil

conditioner. Know where your alfalfa was grown and milled to ensure it has the appropriate nutrient value for your cannabis–not to mention there is a lot of GMO alfalfa out there. Alfalfa meal has the perfect carbon-to-nitrogen ratio for starting compost piles. 5-10 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Blood meal is an excellent source of readily

available nitrogen to encourage vigorous vegetative growth. Blood meal is a dry, inert powder made from blood used as a high-nitrogen organic fertilizer and a high protein animal feed. It is one of the highest non-synthetic sources of nitrogen. It usually comes from cattle or hogs as a slaughterhouse by-product. Follow application guidelines and remember less is more with this classic meal–careful not to fry your plants. 2-4 pounds/100 Square Feet of garden soil.


A house favorite for size and potency. The

traditional, classic start and finish, bone meal is a mixture of finely and coarsely ground animal bones and slaughter-house waste products. As a slow- release fertilizer, bone meal is primarily used as a source of phosphorus and protein but also offers calcium, promoting strong roots and fruits and adding noticeable weight and arguably increased trichome production. 3-6 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


The marine bi-product that promotes plant

growth and enhances soil microorganism populations and calcium bonus. Its coarse texture is ideal for improving aeration and drainage in the rhizosphere and it’s great to recycle those otherwise useless crab carcasses. 5 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Feather meal offers slow release nitrogen for heavy

and long feeding. Derived from ground poultry feathers and comprised mostly of a protein called keratin,this meal is typically hydrolyzed to make it more readily available to your plants sooner, but we suggest getting this one in the compost pile ahead of time to further promote keratin breakdown and make even more nitrogen available to your plants immediately. This strategy will also keep that nitrogen from lingering in quantities during flowering since keratin is the same protein found in hair and nails and hoofs, you can imagine it takes a minute to completely break down. 2-5 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.



Fish meal is an excellent natural source of nitrogen,

phosphorous and calcium for starting young clones or transplants and also for heavy feeding bulky indicas. 2-4 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Fish bone meal is a marine bi-product alternative

to slaughterhouse bone meal. Rich in phosphorous and calcium with small amounts of nitrogen. Great for starting vigorous roots and promoting bigger cola growth in the latter half of flowering. 6 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Kelp meal is a powerful stress mitigator for plants.

Cold ocean harvested and finely milled kelp seaweed is a rich, natural source of rapidly available, soft doses of mostly potassium. This is a safe choice to getting a sick plant the essentials. 1-2 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Neem seed meal is made from the ground up cake left

over from the extraction of oil from the seed of the Indian Neem tree. It is a slow-release, nitrogen-rich fertilizer for young and old vegging plants. It can be mixed into the soil or top-dressed for slowest time release effects. 2-5 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


A bi-product of the ocean shrimp harvest, shrimp

meal helps plants develop healthy immune responses and stimulates the growth of beneficial soil micro- organisms. Rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and calcium, it is similar to crab meal but with a finer texture and it is slightly more rapidly available. 2 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Soybean meal is the material that is left behind after

the oil has been pressed from soybeans. An excellent option for an immediate nitrogen boost–it can be used effectively on starts or freshly transplanted plants– mixed in the soil or top-dressed during veg. 2-5 pounds /100 Square Feet of garden soil.


Yucca meal is a natural wetting agent and supplement to any nutrient program or foliar spray regimen. A wetting agent is beneficial to nutrient solution absorption as well as foliar spray applications by reducing the surface tension of the liquid making it more effective at spreading out over the rhizosphere or leaf surface on foliar application. When used in potting soil with fresh peat moss it can help the potting soil take water and help break the hydrophobic tendencies of peat moss.