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By now garden season is well underway, and many young plants are in their rapid initial growth period, meaning they are craving nitrogen in high amounts, along with many other nutrients. Cottonseed meal is a wonderful nitrogen-rich fertilizer for young plants because its nitrogen releases slowly enough that it won’t burn young plants. It is a byproduct of cotton and cottonseed oil production, and is just what it sounds like – ground up cotton seeds.
In addition to the nitrogen, cottonseed meal offers some phosphorus and potassium, as well, to help plant reproduction and hardiness, too. Trace elements like zinc, copper, manganese and molybdenum are also typically found in this fertilizer. The nutrients break down over 3-5 months, and the fertilizer itself provides a good food source for soil microbes. The pH is slightly acidic, making it a good choice for acid-loving plants like azaleas rhododendron and blueberries; cottonseed meal is the primary nitrogen source in our Acid Adoring Signature Blend.
Cottonseed meal is a plant-based, all-natural fertilizer, so it is less likely to attract animals to your yard than animal-derived nitrogen sources. However, the cotton industry does make use of both pesticides and GMO seed, so if you are maintaining OMRI or other strict organic gardening practices, Cottonseed meal may not be right for your garden –soybean meal is an excellent substitution. While our cottonseed meal is in conventional form, we offer soybean meal in both conventional and certified organic versions to satisfy a variety of gardening philosophies.