Fertilizer Cakes and Little Maple Re-pot

Over the past couple months I have enjoyed my weekends consisting mostly of attending BIB workshops and working on my backyard.  Yesterday I had some extra time so I decided to make some Fertilizer Cakes.

Here's me making Fertilizer Cakes in my backyard. I have been leveling everything and just put down lots of landscaping fabric.

This is the recipe I used this year, which I got from Boon- I altered it slightly because I had this left over box of Dr. Earth(Fish Emulsion Not Pictured).

3.5x Cottonseed meal

1x Bone meal

1x Fish meal

1x Dr. Earth-made of Cottonseed meal, Fish Bone meal(which is differnt from Fish meal and Bone meal), Alfalfa meal, Feather meal and Kelp meal

50/50 water/fish emulsion.

Boon's Fertilizer Cake Mix: 4x cottonseed meal, 1x fish meal, 1x bone meal, Fish emulsion and water.

I purchased all the ingredients at a Farm Supply store which I found to be the cheapest spot.  I mixed them all together in a tub and used plastic wrap to cover the top of the tub  letting everything sit for two days.  Last year I let everything sit for two weeks and the fertilizer grew this crazy white substance all over.  This is the first year I did not add flour in the mix because if possible, I figure it's better off without the filler.  The combination of lots of fish emulsion and leaving everything mixed for two days, made the cakes stick together nicely. 


Here's a close up of the cakes I made this year.  In order to keep the cakes from drying out while sitting on the soil surface, I decided to make them in this shape.  The idea is that the water will pool in the in-dent and help keep the cakes moist.  This very well may be unneccessary, but I figured I'd give it a shot.


Here's how I made the shape.  I took some of the fertilizer in between my pointer finger and thumb, then with my other hand I support the back and compact the cake with my hands.


Then I stick my thumb in to make an indent in the cake.  Like I mentioned before, this might just be a silly idea, but with some extra time I figured hey why not try it out?    I'm curious how do you make your cakes and what ingredients do you use?


I also wanted to share this awesome little Japanese Maple, I got to re-pot at a BIB workshop(this is not my tree).

Pot is ready to go, Z clip holding the screen and aluminum wire to tie down the tree.


Here's the tree all potted up.  Thank's for checking out my blog!

8 thoughts on “Fertilizer Cakes and Little Maple Re-pot”

  1. I love that tree! Thanks for showing your fert cakes, I have been making them for a few years now, but have problems with a mouse or rat stealing them at night. I’m working on a new recipe that they hopefully will not like. I think I might be going with fish emulsion this year until I can get cakes that won’t become a midnight snack!

    1. Thanks Lonnie, I’ve heard of a few people having issues with critters taking them. I guess i’m lucky I have not ran into that problem yet. I’m sure your going to meet up with Peter Tea on March 19th. Hope you guys have a blast!

  2. I remember the days of making my own cakes, it stinks…now I just go grab a bag full of pre-made ones, it’s so much easier. We have two types, one for decidious trees and one for everything else. I have a feeling that I will be using the same type of fert when I have my own nursery. Have you seen any bags of pre-made cakes around your area? I bet its pretty expensive if it is the imported japanese type. Good Luck!

    1. Yes it literally stinks:) yah, I think it’s much cheaper to make your own here. I think I would use Bio Gold, but it’s pretty pricey. I wonder the differences in NPK that your nursery has for the Deciduous compared to everything else? Do you think they are mostly made of different meals-like cottonseed meal, bone meal, fish meal? thanks Tyler

  3. Jeremiah,

    I did it that way you’re doing it a few times before I got frustrated with how long it took to make them. Now I just mix it wet, let it sit for an hour and then use a stainless steel sorbet scoop ($15, Williams Sonoma) to scoop them directly onto the surface of the soil. This saves the gloves, shaping and the drying stage. Water the trees and scoop the balls onto the soil right after, they’ll have dried enough in the sun by the next time you water to stay together. And, BTW, I’ve found since switching to RO water (which I believe you use?) that these cakes are a bit lacking in trace minerals. You might want to up the proportion of Dr. Earth premix that you’re using. I started using CalMag and SulPoMag to supplement along with liquid kelp mixed with the fish emulsion. I think the CalMag is what’s really making the trees green because it has chelated iron as well.


    1. Hey Eric

      Thank you for all the suggestions, I will be taking them all around. I just ordered a quart of Cal-Mag on ebay and I plan to add more of a balanced Dr. Earth next time-I use liquid kelp as well. Yes, I do use RO water and so far have had good results with it. Forming all those cakes by hand took a long time, I really like the idea of using a scooper and think I will pick the one you mentioned up soon. Really appreciate your help and comment, thanks!

  4. Hello I´m Henry from Spain. Could you please help me ?. I do the same fertilizer cakes but I have the problem that the cakes are filled with fly eggs and larvae. How I can avoid this?. Mi recipe is rapeseed and rice bran. Maybe i have to chage it?

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