Boon's (fertilizer) Cake Mix

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Why is there such an aversion to mold on "natural" fertilizers? Mold and bacteria are part of the process that breaks down the fertilizer into useable form for plants...

This is so true. Thanks for the links. When I was in Japan studying at Taisho en, Mario Komsta and I discussed this. It was important they said for the organic fertilizer to decompose naturally on the surface for the maximization of the active ingredients in the fertilizer. Yes it can clog the soil a bit faster but we tend to repot a little more frequently anyway (at least using akadama in the soil). At the end of the season (or even during the season), if there was any caked muck on the soil surface that impeded drainage, we would simply clean it off or loosen up the soil a bit.
 

Adair M

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These days, he doesn't bother making balls. He (or rather, his apprentice Paul) puts a couple tablespoons of the dry powder into little bags. He uses the bags they use at weddings to give guests a bit of rice to throw. These are pretty sturdy, and hold up to the weather. The benefit is containing the mix in the bags prevents it from clogging up the soil.

As for commercial poo balls, he prefers the ones that come in the big metal tins.
 

JudyB

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I'm actually with John Romano on this one, I just keep it on the surface and clean it off as needed. Seems to me that the mold is a good thing...
 

Bonsai Nut

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I've got a bunch of tea bags that I'll use for the purpose. I was having fly problems with leaving it out on the soil.
 

Adair M

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I saw those but they looked a little big(?) 4" x 6" would cover half of some of my trees' soil :)
I didn't look at the size! The ones Boon uses are about the size of a tea bag.
 

Adair M

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Has anyone tried making this recipe, drying the mix and then crumbling it up into pieces they can work into the substrate repots?
You don't want to add it to the soil, silly! It just would block up the open spaces in the soil mix!

That's why they make cakes. When watered, the nutrients are leached out dissolved in water. Most of the solids stay in the cake. Teabags are even better at keeping the dregs out!

Plus, you can remove the cakes or teabags to remove the fertilizer.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Has anyone tried making this recipe, drying the mix and then crumbling it up into pieces they can work into the substrate repots?

Trust me, you DON'T want to do this. If you add organics to your mostly aggregate soil it will look like it "breaks down" into the soil and disappears. What it actually does is sinks into your aggregate and creates the bonsai equivalent of concrete. The organics clog the open space between your aggregate and binds them all together. Does it sound like I am speaking from personal experience? :) Learn from my mistakes and don't do this. Keep the organic matter out of your soil unless it is chunky like bark pieces. The reason you put it in bags is to let it make fertilizer tea every time you water.
 

GroveKeeper

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Haha, Well that is an interesting response. I haven't tried mixing poo ball recipes into my soil but I have used osmocote and lawn fertilizer without problem. However, I am still growing out a lot of trees and repotting yearly. Adam Lavigne does seem to work ferts into his soil without issue, though. And I live in further south than he.
 

Bonsai Nut

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For an experiment take two pots. Fill one with 100% aggregate soil mix. Then take another pot with the same aggregate soil and mix a fair amount of organic fertilizer into it (like what fertilizer balls on the surface would amount to). Water normally. After a month, see if you can detect a difference in water retention.

In one month it's likely that you could take the fertilizer soil and pop it out as a solid cake while the aggregate only soil will still be loose.
 

GroveKeeper

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For an experiment take two pots. Fill one with 100% aggregate soil mix. Then take another pot with the same aggregate soil and mix a fair amount of organic fertilizer into it (like what fertilizer balls on the surface would amount to). Water normally. After a month, see if you can detect a difference in water retention.

In one month it's likely that you could take the fertilizer soil and pop it out as a solid cake while the aggregate only soil will still be loose.

Err, I've been doing that with several plants unintentionally lol. I bought a bag of milorganite back in January and worked it into several pots. I haven't noticed any trouble watering those trees.

I do live in Florida and global warming has been giving us 80 degree weather for months. But I haven't had any trouble with the organic ferts yet. Things tend to be wonky in Florida though, so I might not be the best test group.
 

parhamr

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I hear that much of BSOP has stopped using this recipe because birds, rodents, and pets like the smells.
 

Bonsai Nut

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milorganite

I'm sure the residents of Milwaukee say "Thank you!" :)

I'm used to dealing with organics like rapeseed cake or cottonseed meal. They have high nutrient content but also a fair amount of by-products like insoluble plant fiber. Because of the source there may be a higher percentage of unusable content than organic material sourced from sewage treatment - which may be 100% dissoluble.
 

GroveKeeper

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I'm sure the residents of Milwaukee say "Thank you!" :)

I'm used to dealing with organics like rapeseed cake or cottonseed meal. They have high nutrient content but also a fair amount of by-products like insoluble plant fiber. Because of the source there may be a higher percentage of unusable content than organic material sourced from sewage treatment - which may be 100% dissoluble.

The resident's of Milwaukee need something. Anthony Pettis is 1-4 in his last 5 and CM punk lost his debut. Either milorganite or Sergio Pettis will bring honor back to their great city.
 

Anthony

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Still using - 5 mm inorganic 2/3 by volume to 1/3 organic [ aged compost sifted ]
No problems. 39 years.

Have some rapeseed oil expelled cakes on the J,b,pines 2 weeks and with the dry weather, it is just moist.:)

Bnut, never had any clogging etc.

Next test Soybean meal fermented as discussed by Paul and Michaell [ Australia ]

We have also gone down to 3 mm inorganic for more finished / older trees.

Rains expected May / June.
Good Day
Anthony

* Inorganic is silica based or crushed porous earthenware brick or both.
 
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