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Cake: Feeding the trees

I feed organic; let them eat cake…and fish. For the last 6-7 years, my recipe has become simple and the results have become predictable. I check the forecast to look for a few sunny days…then it’s time to get stinky!

From the kitchen:
Foil, pan spray, gloves, flour


From Lowe’s:
Plant-tone 5-3-3, Maxicrop (or other micronutrient such as EcoVie), bucket and shovel for mixing


Cover some plywood boards with aluminum foil, and spray the foil with pan spray.

Add the 8-lb. bag of Plant-tone, 1/2 cup of flour, and 1/2 cup of micronutrients to the bucket. Add water and mix with a shovel until it is the consistency of oatmeal.

Press it out onto the greased foil so it’s 3/8″ or so thick (this is 2 bags of Plant-tone):


Let it set up for a couple hours, then cut into 1″ or so squares:



After a day or two, I turn them out into my soil-sifting screens and gently turn them for the next few days until they’re dry:


Then I store them dry in plastic tubs. This batch should last this season and next!

I use inorganic soil, and organic feed; I’ll apply approximately 1 cake for each 1.5-2″ of pot width (a 16″ pot gets 8-12 cakes) from April until October. Then, once a week I’ll hit everything with Neptune’s Harvest fish and seaweed, 2-3-1, mixing about 2 oz. per gallon. Stinky, but the trees go “The Distance”!

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. backcountrydan #

    Great post! I’ve been using little cups with holes driled to let the nutrients from my food (similar to your plant tone) through, but I think I’ll have to give this a try! I’ve thought about it before, but this is a great straght forward recipie. Thanks!

    May 18, 2013
  2. I may have to try this. I have been trying to find a better way of fertilizing my trees. Thanks!

    June 1, 2013
  3. phil shimko #

    did u use 1 one container of liquid seaweed per bag of planttone or did you use 1 container of seaweed for both bags? or does it even matter?

    May 13, 2014
    • I use about 1/2 cup of micronutrients per bag.

      May 15, 2014
  4. Brian,

    Thanks for the post. I’m a noob. So, please excuse my naivete. What is your beef with just applying Plant Tone to the surface of your soil? Is that too much of a food hit for the trees, whereas the cakes are a slow release?

    August 8, 2017
    • Applying the powdered Plant Tone to the soil surface tends to make the soil hydrophobic, and seems to slow down air exchange. I can actually apply more material to each pot in cake form, and allow the cakes to steep in slower over time.

      August 11, 2017
      • Brian,
        Thanks for the reply. It does make the soil surface hydrophobic. (I know because I’m currently feeding granular fertilizer this way.) It can also make the soil appear moist when it is not.

        August 22, 2017
  5. Filho Fernández #

    Hi, I did this recipe once. I have a question about it, mines grew a lot of mold, is it normal or I didn’t let them dry enough. Thanks for this recipe is great for the trees

    January 4, 2018
    • Probably didn’t get dry enough. It won’t hurt anything.

      January 6, 2018
      • Filho Fernández #


        January 12, 2018
  6. Gary McCarthy #

    Hi Brian. THANKS for the recipe. I’m going to try it this coming growing season. Before I make up the recipe I’m just curious if you’ve changed it or tweaked it all. Do you still supplement with the Neptune’s Harvest?

    March 1, 2018
    • You’re welcome. No changes, and yes, I use a lot of fish fert along with the cakes, around 6 oz to a gallon, every 5-7 days throughout the growing season. I feed my trees very heavily.

      March 3, 2018
  7. Great. THANKS!

    March 3, 2018

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