Sunday, March 16, 2008

Natural or Not? Results of fertilizer experiment in my garden.

On December 27, I began my very un-scientific experiment to see what yielded better results on my bamboo. A slow release Osmocote or the natural alternative, rough compost (that is a slow release natural alternative). Now, I know that Osmocote's release is governed by moisture and temperature; however, after using Osmocote for years, I am familiar with the results even in the ideal release conditions for Osmocote.

The results are in and so far, by mere observation, the all-natural compost is yielding the best results. The most evident is on my potted Moso (Phylostachys edulis) bamboo. I counted 13 new culms that burst from the ground, that's compared to my other 3 potted bamboos that just had Osmocote applied. Now granted there may be variations in species that may influence the results (like time of year they shoot), but looking at my three clumping bamboos that I also applied compost to in December, I am seeing similar favorable results. That said, this experiment has brought me to the conclusion that going all natural in terms of fertilization seems to yield healthier more vigorous plants.

One a related note..... yesterday, in an effort to "heat up" my compost bin, I purchased a box of blood meal (13-0-0) from the E.B. Stone Company and applied it to my bin. I also applied some to the soil of my bamboo plants. I'm hoping the shot of nitrogen, which bamboo can't get enough of, will really encourage new growth and green the plants.

Time will tell.....



Melanie Chopay said...

This is good news as my compost heap has reached epic proportions this winter. I've been working hard to get it up to snuff but it still could use some heat so I'm going to join you and get some bone meal too.

kate said...

Have you started with vermi-composting yet? I wanted to stop by and report that my worms are looking healthy - they started out pretty small, but definitely are growing. I wish I had a tap to drain off compost tea.

Today I started a new compost method, Bokashi ... will write about it more once I've tried using it.It has two buckets, the first one drains into the bottom one so that I can use the liquid as tea as well.

I love the candy stripe bamboo pictured on the right side of your blog.

Mad Man Bamboo Nursery said...

The bin is doing well, I'll be tranferring the worm bin at work to its permanent bin and taking the temp bin and using that at home. My wife and I are very excited.

My wife may even do a demonstration booth at a local Earth Day festival in April, were so in to it.

Bokashi, funny you bring that up Kate, the bin at work that will the perm home for the worms is a stackable tray style with a bottom tray to capture the compost tea.

Thanks for the kudos on the candy stripe bamboo pic. It looks even better now as the temps have warmed in CA.



Unknown said...

Have you tried using blood meal as a top dressing? If so, how much did you use? I bought 25 lbs of blood meal that I'm going to try on both my in-ground and in-pot bamboos, but I've heard there is a slight risk of burning and don't want to apply too much.

Mad Man Bamboo Nursery said...

It could be hot by itself, but I have applied it mostly dissolved in water. Hope that helps. Thanks David.