Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Tue, 21 Oct 2003 14:44:31 PDT
>So what do the rest of you do? Does anyone still use bone meal? How 
>about the mixes you buy at the stores that are advertised for bulbs? 
>Has anyone done a test with planting using two kinds of fertilizer? 
>Do others feel that bulbs hate phosphorus and if so which ones? Who 
>uses miracle grow and how often? How about manure? We had some 
>osmocote horror stories from Uli's Hippeastrum a number of years ago 
>and from Diana Chapman too if I remember correctly, but are some of 
>you having success with this? How about nutricote which is supposed 
>to release fertilizer slowly and not be temperature dependent like 
>osmocote? Who uses liquid feed only and how often?

I tried bone meal for a couple of years, but didn't notice any 
difference in growth, and like others have said, it attracted the 
dog, so I quit using it.

I used to use Osmocote, but at half the recommended rate, and I quit 
after all that discussion some time ago about the problems it has 
when it gets too hot and things are watered a lot.

Someone back then recommended a different product, called Apex, and I 
finally tracked down, using the Internet, a farm supply chain in 
South. Calif. that carried it. The only problem was that they only 
have stores at the periphery of the L.A. metropolitan area (which is 
huge). So I made a drive out to a store one day, discovered that 
since it comes in bulk, it is *much* cheaper than Osmoscote, and it 
comes in many different N-P-K configurations. I bought two 50 lb. 
bags of it and each bag has lasted a long time, even with all the 
pots I have. Right before Jennifer moved away, I got her to get me 
two more bags of it right before one of Cathy Craig's potlucks.

I got the 21-5-12 plus minors formulation after hearing all the 
things that have been discussed over the years, and it turns out that 
Apex formulates and markets its products for the Australian market as 
well, which uses a different methodology for measuring the N-P-K 
contents. According to the bag label, in Australia, the formulation 
is 21-2.1-9.9 This is supposed to be a good formulation for 
Australian natives as well, according to Apex. They also make 
different lengths of duration for the time release and and although 
it is dependent on temperature, Apex gives a rating table for a range 
of temperatures. I got the formulation that lasts 9 months at 70 deg. 
F. (10 months at 60 deg. F., 8 months at 80 deg. F., 7 months at 90 
deg. F.)

I use it at the rate of 1/2 tablespoon per "gallon" of pot 
size---which is half the rate suggested on the Osmocote packages. I 
apply it when shoots start to appear in the autumn for winter growers 
and in the spring when shoots start to appear for summer growers. 
Everything seems to be growing much better since I started this 
regimen, and one appplication lasts most of the growing season for 
the winter growers. One bag is enough for all my pots and plants for 
more than 12 months of growing seasons. Best of all it only costs 
US$30 for a 50 lb. bag.

I know this is pragmatist's experience, but it seems to square well 
with what others have written from a more scientific poitn of view.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena area, California, USDA Zone 9-10

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