It’s Feeding Time

It’s time to feed the monkeys here at Aichien Bonsai Zoo.  Some of these trees are so hungry they are practically jumping out of the pots.  Normally we will do multiple rounds of this process during the growing season.

Row of shohin trees with fresh fertilizer.

Row of shohin trees with fresh fertilizer.

The entire process takes about 2 full days.  One full day of preparation work and another day to apply the fertilizer.  This will be the second round of feeding for this year.  The only thing different between the first round and this round is that we will be fertilizing all trees including the white pines.  During the previous round of fertilization all white pines where skipped in an effort to prevent the needles from getting too long.  Now that the white pine needles have hardened off, it’s safe to fertilize without risk of growing undesirably long needles.

The prep work process is quite simple.  We first prepare the fertilizer, mostly just ground rapeseed and a dash of synthetic fertilizer.  Then we toss a spoon full of the mix into fillable tea bags and that’s it.  Then repeat the process a few thousand times.

A flat of fertilizer bags.  Filled up and ready to use.

A flat of fertilizer bags. Filled up and ready to use.

Now that the prep work is done we can put bags to soil and get these trees fed!  We hold the bags on to the soil with wooden skewers.  Some people use tooth picks instead.  It all works.  These skewers and empty tea bags are common items and can be found at most asian grocery stores or ordered online.

Removing the old used bags from the soil surface is the first order of business when applying new fertilizer.  While we’re at it, let’s take the time to pull any weeds growing in the pot as well.  Some of the trees are holding on to the bags as if it’s the last meal they’ll ever have.  Especially the deciduous trees.  One of Aichien’s ficus trees is ridiculously hungry and practically eats the bag!

Removing old fertilizer bag from ficus tree.  Its full of roots.  This tree is hungry!

Removing old fertilizer bag from ficus tree. Its full of roots. This tree is hungry!

Depending on the size of the tree and pot, a different number of bags are used.  As you can probably guess, bigger tree means bigger hunger which means more food.

small trees

small trees

medium trees

medium trees

 

big trees.

big trees.

And then…Snack Time!

Adzuki bean stuffed in a fish shaped waffle.  Delicious!  This may be Nagoya's closest match to a bean burrito.  Haven't seen any Mexican restaurants here. yet

Adzuki bean stuffed in a fish shaped waffle. Delicious! This may be Nagoya’s closest match to a bean burrito. Haven’t seen any Mexican restaurants here. yet

After snack time we continued the fertilizer bag installation.

completed row

completed row.  sorry, bad photo.

another completed row

another completed row and another bad photo.

Then we give them all a nice cool drink to finish the job off.

this water is really wet.

this water is really wet.

And thats it.  Now all 8 billion (this may be a slightly exaggerated figure) trees at Aichien have been fed.  In another 5 or 6 weeks we will do the entire process again.

An arial view of the previously mentioned 8 billion trees.  This actually only shows some of them.

An arial view of the previously mentioned 8 billion trees. This actually only shows some of them.

Thanks for reading!  More soon.

Danny