Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Homemade Bonsai Fertilizer

I obtained a fertilizer recipe from John, who heads our bonsai study group. For the most part I followed this recipe, but I did make a couple changes that I'll explain below. The original recipe from John is available here.

After donning my rubber gloves, I incorportated the following in a bucket:


  • 4 cups bone meal
  • 4 cups cottonseed meal
  • 1 cup baking flour
  • 3 cups fish emulsion
  • 2 cups liquid seaweed

Next, after mixing well, I took my 14" PVC pipe (1" inner diameter) and began sqeezing the sludge into the pipe. I found it was most effective to sqeeze the muck into long, narrow shapes before shoving it in. With the dowel rod (1" diameter), I packed the stuff down to fit as much fertilizer as I could into the pipe.

Then I forced the sludge out of one end by pushing hard on the dowel rod. I have to say that sometimes it really took all I had to force that stuff out. Perhaps I was packing too hard, but I wanted to ensure that the muck wouldn't break apart after coming out. I need firm cakes that will not crumble up after one or two waterings. Whenever 2-3" of stuff came out the pipe, I'd break it off gently and set it down on my screen drying rack.

This batch seemed to make a fair amount of fertilizer to start with next spring. I'll probably make at least one more batch before then.