Typical NPK analysis 6-2-2
Cottonseed meal is a by-product of the cotton industry. After the cotton is pulled (ginned) from the boll the seed is crushed to extract the oil, what remains is further processed to become meal and is used as animal and plant food.
As a granular fertilizer it is an excellent source of organic plant nutrients. When incorporated into the garden soil it decomposes slowly releasing its rich supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, potash and numerous trace elements.
Because it is a slow-release, organic fertilizer, cottonseed meal is safe to use in all garden situations. It has a high organic matter content which helps to improve soil texture and build humus, it is good for loosening tight heavy soils and helps light sandy soils. It holds moisture and nutrients well, thus promoting long lasting plant growth.
Knowing the pH of your garden soil before adding fertilizer is always a smart move, especially with certain organic fertilizers. Cotton seed meal is one of these because it can lower the pH level of soil.
Cottonseed meal might be alright to use for permanent potted plants but as with many other slow release solid organic fertilizers they are not the best solution for fast growing vegetable seedlings.
It can be used alone or mixed with other organic or inorganic fertilizers. Alone it can be applied in liberal amounts because it will not burn even young seedlings, however if mixed with other ingredients that could change depending on the the properties of the ingredients added.
To help conserve soil moisture and prevent unwanted weeds cotton seed hulls can be used to mulch around plants.
Although the nitrogen in cotton seed meal is not fast acting it is still invaluable in the heap to supply some of the nitrogen needed in the decomposition process, with the added advantage of contributing phosphorus, potash and the numerous trace elements present in the meal.
While it is always better to soil test before adding fertilizer to the garden, below are some rough application rates for different garden situations.
light application for a garden that has been well maintained fertilizer wise is to till in 1-2 lb per 100 square feet.
Medium application for a garden that is in need of a boost is to till in 4-6 lb per 100 square feet.
Heavy application for a garden that is in poor shape, preferably applying after soil test, till in 10-12 lb per 100 square feet.
In all cases, work the meal into the soil with a tiller or spade in preparation for planting.