Soil Solutions- Fixing Nitrogen Deficiencies With Feather Meal

What You'll Need
Safety Glasses
Work Gloves
Potato Rake
Garden Spreader

One of the most detrimental things that can happen to your soil is a deficiency in nitrogen. Plants require this mineral in order to live and will be weak without enough of it in the soil. If adding nitrogen, feather meal is a popular organic material and is easy to work with.

Step 1- Work in Sections

For best results, lay out sections for treatment. Ideally, 10 foot by 10 foot sections are the best, as that corresponds to the recommended treatment size of 100 square feet. It is not necessary to mark out the sections, however doing so is very helpful in getting the proper coverage. Many additives that you put on your soil are powdered and therefore working in small areas helps you get the soil mixed before wind or rain can interfere.

Step 1: Prepare the Soil

Turn the soil with a potato rake. Some people use a motorized tiller, which that is acceptable, however many gardeners insist that using a tiller promotes drying of the soil, which results in vital nutrients being blown away by the wind. Besides, your garden is no longer organic if you are treating it with the carbon emissions of a gasoline engine.

Step 2: Add Feather Meal

Regardless of the soil types being treated, low soil nitrogen is easily treated. Using a garden spreader, evenly distribute 5 to 10 pounds per 100 square feet. Be careful of wind gusts, as the powder can be blown away rather easily. If you do not have a garden spreader, wear work gloves and broadcast the feather meal in the same way that you would broadcast seeds, taking a handful and spreading it in wide, flowing tosses.

Step 3: Turn the Soil

The next step in treating your soil content is to turn the feather meal into it. Mix the soil and feather meal well. If you are using a motorized garden tiller, go over the area twice; once across the area and the second time along the pattern your rows will take. A potato rake is the best method and turning the soil is accomplished with long, raking motions that mix the soil to a depth of around 6 to 8 inches.

Step 4: Around the Plants

You can also treat existing soil. To do so, wear work gloves and sprinkle the feather meal around the plants. Lightly water the area to prevent wind gusts from blowing away the meal. Results from broadcasting the feather meal among growing plants may take a few days longer than pre-mixing the soil before planting.

Step 5: Preparing Compost

You can also treat your compost with feather meal. Mix in about 1 cup for every square yard of compost. Mix the compost well. Allow the compost to set for a few days, and then distribute it on your soil as you normally would, adding nitrogen along with many other vital plant nutrients.