fert. cake recipe question

chansen

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I realize that this is a fairly juvenile question, but I want to make sure I get it right.

I'm making 'poo balls' for the first time, and the directions I have read call for the inclusion of liquid fish emulsion. The only question I have with this (and it would apply to other liquid additives), do I add the liquid diluted or straight? So, should I dilute the fish emulsion and add the called for amount as a diluted solution (i.e. 3 cups of diluted fish emulsion), or do I add 3 cups of straight fish emulsion.

Thanks!
 
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Dav4

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Hard to say. All the cake recipes require a certain amount of water to be added, and this might be done with or seperately from the fish emulsion. The amount of water added is relative, meaning you're adding enough to give your mix the texture of thick oatmeal, which can then be shaped into cakes. Could you give us the whole recipe, including amounts to be added...that would help to be sure.

Dave
 

Eric Schrader

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I don't use fish emulsion, I use fish meal and then as much water as needed. They seem to stick together better with fish meal and the really fine powder boiled bone meal. The couple times I tried using fish emulsion I ended up using so much that it got too expensive.
 

rockm

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For what it's worth, I've seen repeated horticultural research that questions the use of bone meal for plants. Here's something typical:

Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor,
Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University

The Myth of Beneficial Bone Meal:
"Add a handful of bone meal to planting holes before installing shrubs and trees”

The Myth

Of all the soil amendments on the market, bone meal seems to be everyone’s darling. Credited with
stimulating root production and improving flowering, thousands of web sites promote the use of bone
meal during transplanting and as a regular fertilizer throughout the year. We are assured that bone meal is
“one of the indispensable soil amendments all gardeners should have on hand” and that usage of bone
meal is “good for reducing transplant shock and promoting extensive and healthy root systems.” Bone
meal, as the name suggests, is made from animal bones and is favored by organic gardeners and
landscapers as a natural source of calcium and phosphorus. There are nearly 10,000 commercial web
sites advertising various formulations of bone meal. How does one decide which is best?

The Reality

Bone meal is primarily calcium and phosphorus, two elements which are usually adequate in non-
agricultural soils. The NPK analyses of bone meal preparations vary, but are generally in the range of 0-
12-0 to 3-20-0. Both calcium and phosphorus are required for plant growth, but both (and especially
phosphorus) can cause problems if they occur in high concentrations. It is important to understand that
neither element, nor any other mineral, will “stimulate” plant growth beyond what is normal for a
particular plant.

Why does the myth of phosphorus-induced root stimulation persist? The answer probably lies in the
effect phosphorus fertilizers have on mycorrhizal relationships. When plant roots are in low phosphorus
environments, they exude organic acids from their root tips. These acids allow mycorrhizal fungi to
penetrate the roots and form the networks that assist plant roots in taking up water and nutrients.
Mycorrhizae are particularly adept at extracting phosphorus from the soil...

The author says adding bone meal to soil where there is already enough calcium and phosphorous can be enough to inhibit mycorrhizal growth...


Here's a list from the University of Washington that references this article and contains some other horticultural myth busters-including some on the supposed "benefits" of organic fertilizers:

http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda Chalker-Scott/Horticultural Myths_files/
 

chansen

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Hard to say. All the cake recipes require a certain amount of water to be added, and this might be done with or seperately from the fish emulsion. The amount of water added is relative, meaning you're adding enough to give your mix the texture of thick oatmeal, which can then be shaped into cakes. Could you give us the whole recipe, including amounts to be added...that would help to be sure.

Dave

I'm using Michael Persiano's, but I'm adding a little humic acid as well. So, do I add 5 oz. of fish emulsion diluted according the the instructions on the bottle, or do I add 5 oz. of fish emulsion undiluted and then add water as needed?

Thanks
 

chansen

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For what it's worth, I've seen repeated horticultural research that questions the use of bone meal for plants. Here's something typical:

Linda Chalker-Scott, Ph.D., Extension Horticulturist and Associate Professor,
Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University

The Myth of Beneficial Bone Meal:
"Add a handful of bone meal to planting holes before installing shrubs and trees”

The Myth

Of all the soil amendments on the market, bone meal seems to be everyone’s darling. Credited with
stimulating root production and improving flowering, thousands of web sites promote the use of bone
meal during transplanting and as a regular fertilizer throughout the year. We are assured that bone meal is
“one of the indispensable soil amendments all gardeners should have on hand” and that usage of bone
meal is “good for reducing transplant shock and promoting extensive and healthy root systems.” Bone
meal, as the name suggests, is made from animal bones and is favored by organic gardeners and
landscapers as a natural source of calcium and phosphorus. There are nearly 10,000 commercial web
sites advertising various formulations of bone meal. How does one decide which is best?

The Reality

Bone meal is primarily calcium and phosphorus, two elements which are usually adequate in non-
agricultural soils. The NPK analyses of bone meal preparations vary, but are generally in the range of 0-
12-0 to 3-20-0. Both calcium and phosphorus are required for plant growth, but both (and especially
phosphorus) can cause problems if they occur in high concentrations. It is important to understand that
neither element, nor any other mineral, will “stimulate” plant growth beyond what is normal for a
particular plant.

Why does the myth of phosphorus-induced root stimulation persist? The answer probably lies in the
effect phosphorus fertilizers have on mycorrhizal relationships. When plant roots are in low phosphorus
environments, they exude organic acids from their root tips. These acids allow mycorrhizal fungi to
penetrate the roots and form the networks that assist plant roots in taking up water and nutrients.
Mycorrhizae are particularly adept at extracting phosphorus from the soil...

The author says adding bone meal to soil where there is already enough calcium and phosphorous can be enough to inhibit mycorrhizal growth...


Here's a list from the University of Washington that references this article and contains some other horticultural myth busters-including some on the supposed "benefits" of organic fertilizers:

http://www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda Chalker-Scott/Horticultural Myths_files/

Rock -

Thanks for the link. I always enjoy scholarly articles on the subject. Being a grad student taking a lot of statistics classes, I like seeing the real research.
 

rockm

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For what it's worth, I have no idea if this research is applicable to bonsai-as we use "soil-less" (more or less) soil. That is, the soils we use may not have the calcium and phosphorous content plants need in the necessary amounts.
 

Tachigi

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Christian for what its worth....

You need to decide what you want the NPK level to be...while fish emultion doesn't add a whole lot to the NPK equation in itself ... it would make a difference being in a concentrated form. Typically fish emulsion is mixed per label instructions and then added as a liquifier for mixing.

One other side note....IF ....you use it straight and undiluted I would suggest a gas mask and expect a brick through your window from the neighbors .... the aroma of your mix will be a tad overwhelming .... Just food for thought
 

Dav4

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I made Persianos' recipe several years ago. If I recall, I added the fish emulsion straight...the liquifier used was full strength Peters or MiricleGro 20-20-20.

Dave
 

chansen

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Christian for what its worth....

You need to decide what you want the NPK level to be...while fish emultion doesn't add a whole lot to the NPK equation in itself ... it would make a difference being in a concentrated form. Typically fish emulsion is mixed per label instructions and then added as a liquifier for mixing.

One other side note....IF ....you use it straight and undiluted I would suggest a gas mask and expect a brick through your window from the neighbors .... the aroma of your mix will be a tad overwhelming .... Just food for thought

Tom -

Thanks for the thoughts. I noticed the powerful aroma when opening the bottle. I made a small batch yesterday and added the fish emulsion in diluted form. I didn't add much at all since I was making such a small batch. I put in 3 cups cottonseed meal, 1 cup blood meal, 1 cup bone meal, 1 cup kelp meal, 2 cups dolomitic lime, and then about 1 cup of diluted fish emulsion, 1 cup of diluted humic acid, and 1 cup of diluted liquid balance fert. (can't remember which brand). I may not have added enough liquid, the consistency was more like tile mortar. We'll see what it looks like when I get home.
 

chansen

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I made Persianos' recipe several years ago. If I recall, I added the fish emulsion straight...the liquifier used was full strength Peters or MiricleGro 20-20-20.

Dave

Dave -

Thanks for the reply. That would make more sense since in diluted form I only ended up adding a very small amount. I added about 1 cup of diluted fish emulsion, so I think I may need more. Good thing I just did a test batch.
 

rockm

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Poo ball 101 notes--more fish emulsion = possibly more maggots...have fun :D
 

garywood

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Why did you add lime?

Dolomite Lime is a double carbonate of Calcium and Magnesium. Lime is Calcium carbonate. Calcium is available in many forms (bone meal) but with Dolomite Lime you get more bang for the buck.
Wood
 

chansen

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Dolomite Lime is a double carbonate of Calcium and Magnesium. Lime is Calcium carbonate. Calcium is available in many forms (bone meal) but with Dolomite Lime you get more bang for the buck.
Wood

Noissee -

Unfortunately I don't have a great answer. I was looking at recipes on the American Bonsai Society website and all of the recipes listed there included it.

Wood -

I hadn't considered that so I'll have to watch for build up. I would think that the soil mix I'm using (Boon's) is free draining enough to not cause too many problems with mineral build up, but I could be wrong.
 

garywood

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Christian, you won't have any problems with that mix. The Dolomite is a bonus.
Wood
 

chansen

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Dolomite Lime is a double carbonate of Calcium and Magnesium. Lime is Calcium carbonate. Calcium is available in many forms (bone meal) but with Dolomite Lime you get more bang for the buck.
Wood

Christian, you won't have any problems with that mix. The Dolomite is a bonus.
Wood

Oh... and here I was worried I over did it :).

Thanks!
 

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