Fertilizer Cakes

digger714

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Hello everyone. I am making some fertilizer cakes, and am trying to figure out the NPK ratios for different mixes. I know i need to get an average, but am getting confused. If i use

4 cups of Cottonseed 6-2-1 = 24-8-4
1 cup of Blood Meal 12-0-0 = 12-0-0
1 cup of Bone Meal 6-9-0 = 6-9-0
1 cup of Tree tone 6-3-2 = 6-3-2
Binder
(48-20-6 - Total). Now, do i divide this by the number of parts (7) or by the
number of ingredients (4). Not sure why it not computing in
my head, lol. It would either give me an analysis of 6-2-0 or
12-5-1?

Hope this makes sense. Thanks for any help
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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NPK is a percentage of the total by weight...but assuming they all weigh about the same, I'd calculate it like this:

6-2-1 (4/7 of the total weight = 3.4-1.1-.6)
12-0-0 (1/7 of the total weight = 1.7-0-0)
6-9-0 (1/7 of the total weight = .9-1.3-0)
6-3-2 (1/7 of the total weight = .9-.4-.3)

Sum: 6.9-2.9-.9

Rounded: 7-3-1

Any particular reason for the combination listed?
 

digger714

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Hi Brian. Thanks. So more or less, i divide by the number of parts. I was thinking if it didnt come out to at least a whole, then it would be 0. This mix is what one of the students in my club learned from Boon. The mix my teacher uses as a general purpose mix is similar, but he uses equal parts of each four components, and substitutes holly tone for the blood for flowering trees. As you know, im new to this, so any input on this mix would be great. Thanks again.
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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My preference is to keep it simple, so I use a bag of Plant-Tone (5-3-3), micronutrients, and a little flour to hold it all together.
 

Kirk

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My preference is to keep it simple, so I use a bag of Plant-Tone (5-3-3), micronutrients, and a little flour to hold it all together.
I do the same thing. I mix the Plant Tone with a little flour and use a fish emulsion dilution as the liquid. Works like a charm.

Kirk
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I don't put the fish emulsion in the cakes themselves because it attracts bees, but I do feed with it once a week...do you have problems with bees regularly with fish emulsion in the cakes?
 

Kirk

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I haven't noticed any bees being attracted to the cakes. Are you using the less funky smelling emulsion? I think it's Alaska brand or something close to that. It smells more like the wharf and less like a rotten fish.

In any case, it probably doesn't make a huge contribution to the nutritional value of the cake. I just wanted to make every little bit count.

Like you, I still use the emulsion as a liquid feed.

Kirk
 

Smoke

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I do the same thing. I mix the Plant Tone with a little flour and use a fish emulsion dilution as the liquid. Works like a charm.

Kirk

If I may ask.....What is the purpose of all the fuss of making the cakes? I see this all the time at so many forums and I have never heard a sound reason to bother making all this goop, portioning it out when a 1/4 cup of the granules or powder could be placed on the pot and water it in. No birds to pick at it and no large lumps of fertilizer in a convienant form for dogs and squirrls to cart off.


Any sound reason out there?????:confused::confused::confused:
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Slower dissipation into the soil over a longer period of time...
 
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Slower dissipation into the soil over a longer period of time...
Well, perhaps, but all of the ingredients (with the possible exception of the Tree Tone--not quite sure what that is) only slowly break down to a form usable by the plant anyway, so I doubt slower dissipation is an issue...

Oliver
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I use only Plant-Tone in my cakes, so I won't comment on the other ingredients.

As for dissipation rate, you're right...it is not an issue when I can see it sitting on top of the soil for several weeks dissolving slowly as opposed to watering in and allowing it all into the soil at once. That also prevents squirrels and allows water to penetrate easily into the soil without running over the edges of the pot for the first few passes.
 

HB Smith

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Cakes are a lot easier to remove after decandling a pine as well as getting rid of during a top soil change as opposed to being washed deeper in the pot.
 

Kirk

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If I may ask.....What is the purpose of all the fuss of making the cakes? I see this all the time at so many forums and I have never heard a sound reason to bother making all this goop, portioning it out when a 1/4 cup of the granules or powder could be placed on the pot and water it in. No birds to pick at it and no large lumps of fertilizer in a convienant form for dogs and squirrls to cart off.


Any sound reason out there?????:confused::confused::confused:
I can't claim that my reasoning is terribly sound or based entirely upon my study of plant phys. I have an entire professional greenhouse full of award winning (non-bonsai) plants that I only feed with a chemical fertilizer. No fuss, no muss. One day during a private session with Kathy Shaner, she asked what I was feeding my trees. I told her I was using a chemical feed. She asked why and I responded that I didn't want all of that goopy mess clogging up my soil and mucking up my pots. She gave me THE LOOK and said that I needed to do what was best for the trees. I said, "Yes, Ma'am". Now I make stinky poo ball fertilizer cakes. It's the cleanest, organic, non-mucking method for me. Just a personal preference. It hasn't been inconvenient, critters haven't messed with them and the trees are happy. It has also prevented my receiving THE LOOK.
 

digger714

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The way it was explained to me is that if your growing your trees out to gain size, then a chemical fertilizer is best. It has a higher NPK levels, so gives you more growth. The only time to use cakes is if you want a continual slow release fertilizer every time you water or it rains, sometimes twice a day. Its such a low concentrate, that the frequent feeding doesnt burn the trees, but gives them a steady amount of nutrition, instead of a strong shot every week or two. This is what keeps them as healthy as possible. Most of my trees are in the ground, but i do have a few in mica training pots, and some tropicals in refinement stage. It makes sense to me, but ill let ya know how everything works out. I do know the chemical fetilizer works great on my inground or in large container trees. My tridents are already biting into the wire that was put on in winter.
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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Don't over complicate things...fertilizer doesn't "make" trees grow. Growth is through photosynthesis; sunlight and water. Fertilizer is like giving a tree a multivitamin. Providing it a regular supply of whatever it may need so it's available whenever they may need it is the goal.

Solid Organics stay in the soil and feed the microorganisms which make nutrients that become available to the tree. Chemicals wash through, and because most chemical ferts are chemically salts, they can leach water from the roots if used in too-great a concentration, or if the pots are allowed to dry.
 
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