Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Seashells? Grow plants with them.

Many people think that plants from cold countries will not grow well in our sunny climate. That is why one of my neighbours had been planting his daffodils from Netherlands in the shade. To encourage the plant to bloom, he fertilized it so much that there are baby bulbs growing all around the giant main bulb right in the centre of the pot. He gave up growing them when they failed to flower and I became the lucky new owner.

I did a search on daffodils and discovered that if the main bulb keeps developing new bulbs they will not have as much energy to develop leaves and flowers, so, over fertilizing the plant will not help the blooming process. Also the plant only blooms in its home country only in Spring. So, I separated the smaller bulbs from the main one and placed the plant where it will get the sun and not too long after that, my daffodils started blooming.

In Netherlands, Jaap Leenen grows his daffodils not in soil but in 2m square trays of 5cm thick layer of seashells that have been thoroughly washed. Why use seashells? Unlike soil, they are bacteria, worms and fungi free thus enabling his company to harvest the cleaner bulbs for pharmaceutical use. And the daffodils grown this way also produce longer lasting blooms. The bulbs are sold to companies who used them to prepare galantamine that can be used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

So, take time to talk to the older folks in the family to see if they have any hand me down herbal remedies that use bulbs from plants. Then pop by Wayne Schmidt's Flowering Bulbs web page to learn how to grow them properly.

Once you are able to grow them in large quantity using seashells, of course, then head down to Kedah BioResources Corporation Sdn Bhd to see if they can help you commercialise your herbal formula.

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