Man, this one was a bit contentious. I love the postmortem aspect of it all though. I’ll start by saying that I mostly sided with Ian. I don’t think the entire garden should have been treated as a test bed. A select few trees in different stages of their “bonsai life” could have been used.
The biggest thing that stood out to me was the notion that bonsai is way closer to hydroponic growing than it is field growing. Makes sense given the aggregate nature of the substrates we use in the container. I’ve just never framed it that way in my mind. The fact that when we apply any sort of liquid supplement it essentially just flushes through the container when first applied or gets flushed out at the next watering. Without anything for the supplements to cling onto it just gets washed away.
I’m going to have to listen to the podcast again, but this is definitely going to adjust some of my practices. When I use fish emulsion I’m going to mix in some Super Thrive aka kelp to help the tree uptake the nutrients. I had considered experimenting a bit with chemical ferts in a couple of pond baskets, but it sounds like the negative effects of hitting the soil with a high phosphorous fert just aren’t worth it.
I’ll admit that a lot of the terms were a bit over my head as I’m not that kind of nerd. Hopefully someone more versed in the subject than I can provide even more reflection on the episode.