Benefits Fertilizing Tomatoes With Horn Shavings/Horn Meal

Benefits Fertilizing Tomatoes With Horn Shavings/Horn Meal

Fertilizing tomato plants is an essential part of care, as well as the choice of the appropriate fertilizer. Therefore, those who want to grow their tomatoes as organically as possible, should use an organic fertilizer, such as horn meal or horn shavings.

Horn fertilizer is particularly popular among amateur gardeners and is very often used in tomato cultivation. Rightly so; because on the one hand, this is a completely natural product and on the other hand, overfertilization is virtually impossible. Another advantage is that the organic fertilizer has an effective period of several weeks to several months. However, not all horn fertilizers have the same effect, because even here there are different variations.

Differences of horn fertilizers


The horn fertilizer is rasped or ground hooves and horns from slaughter cattle. It is therefore a purely natural product and can even be organic, provided that the cattle comes from an organic farm. The organic fertilizer is available in different types, which are distinguished primarily by their size:

  • Horn meal: smaller than 1 mm
  • Horn grit: 1 to 5 mm
  • Horn meal: about 5 mm
  • Horn shavings: from 5 mm


Ingredients of horn manure


Tomatoes are highly nutritious, which is why they require a constant supply of nutrients. Essential for the tomato plants are mainly nitrogen, phosphate, potassium and magnesium. Mineral fertilizers usually contain all the important nutrients in a balanced ratio, so that the tomatoes’ nutrient requirements are covered. However, especially in the spring, a nitrogen-rich fertilization is worthwhile, because without nitrogen no plant growth is possible. Therefore, horn fertilizer is very popular here, because it is one of the most valuable organic nitrogen fertilizers:

  • Nitrogen content above 10 percent
  • enriches the soil
  • supports the growth of plants
  • expresses little or no phosphate
  • overfertilization with phosphate therefore impossible
  • has a pH-neutral effect on the soil


Note: Since this is a nitrogen fertilizer, primarily only the nitrogen needs of the tomatoes are covered. However, since the tomatoes need other nutrients, horn shavings and horn meal are not suitable as the sole fertilizer!

How does horn fertilizer work?


Organic tomato fertilizer is broken down in the soil by microorganisms and by fungi and bacteria. During decomposition, nitrogen is released and goes directly into the soil, where it is freely available to the roots. However, the effect can be promoted by different factors, but also impaired. How the tomato fertilizer actually works therefore depends on the following circumstances, among others:

  • Soil temperature
  • Soil moisture
  • Soil aeration
  • Grain size


Duration of the effect of horn fertilizer


In general, it can be said that horn fertilizer is one of the slow-release fertilizers. However, the duration of the effect depends on the grain size. For example, horn meal is particularly fine and can therefore be easily absorbed by the soil. It therefore acts comparatively quickly, but not as long. Large horn shavings, on the other hand, take a little longer to rot, but this also has a corresponding effect on the duration of the effect. The different horn fertilizers usually act over a period of:

  • Horn meal: a few weeks
  • Horn meal and horn semolina: several weeks
  • Horn shavings: up to 3 months


Fertilize tomatoes before planting

Benefits Fertilizing Tomatoes With Horn Shavings/Horn Meal

A key advantage of horn fertilizer is that it can be used throughout the year. However, in tomato cultivation, this fertilizer is used mainly in the spring, before the tomatoes are planted. This is because horn fertilizer is ideal for preparing the soil for the tomatoes. The tomato plants are thus supplied with the necessary nitrogen during the growth phase, so that they grow and thrive accordingly quickly. If you want to fertilize the tomatoes in the spring with this tomato fertilizer, it is best to proceed as follows:

  • Work horn shavings and/ or horn meal into the soil.
  • about 100 grams per square meter of soil
  • or 100 grams per 100 liters of substrate
  • best together with compost
  • alternatively, crushed eggshells are also suitable
  • the soil should be moist


Horn shavings and horn meal as liquid fertilizer


Fertilizing with horn fertilizer is particularly easy, because overfertilization is almost impossible. For this purpose, the fertilizer can simply be spread around the tomatoes. However, it is even better to always work the tomato fertilizer into the soil. Alternatively, it is also possible to convert horn fertilizer into a liquid fertilizer. Here it is best to proceed as follows:

  • Fill the container with lukewarm water
  • Add horn shavings or horn meal
  • Let the mixture stand for a few days
  • mix about one capful into the watering water


Note: The conversion to a liquid fertilizer is especially worthwhile if there are dogs in the household. Because the four-legged friends like this tomato fertilizer so much that they sometimes even eat it.

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