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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Calcium Sulphate for Basil

I've always had problems keeping my basils safe from bug attacks. All sorts of pests love basils: leaf mealies, root mealies, whitefly, Japanese beetles and this odd looking insect with a hard shell. Then there's me: the biggest pest of all.

I eat so much basil that I dared not use insecticides on them so I had come to accept that my basils will inevitably die after a while. I noticed however, that just before pest infestations start, my basil leaves will begin to look wrinkled. I thought, like people, basil leaf wrinkles were a sign of inevitable age.

Then I discovered calcium sulphate. By adding a teaspoon of calcium sulphate into the soil every 2 weeks, new leaves actually look as smooth as a baby's backside. See these leaves just here?



The wrinkled leaf on the left is from the plant before I added calcium sulphate. The smooth leaf on the right is a new leaf that formed on the same plant after addition of calcium sulphate.

The wrinkled leaf on the left is bigger because I had used a high nitrogen fertiliser. The leaf is large and flabby soft to the touch. The leaf on the right is as a basil leaf should be - smooth and well-toned to the touch. It's the difference between my calves and Little Boy's calves. I was happy enough with the results of my calcium sulphate experiment to go back to the Chinese Medical Hall to buy 4 packets of calcium sulphate for the rest of the garden.

The other plants all responded very well. Even the wrinkled chilli leaves smoothened out, and pests have left these pest magnets quite alone.

The nice thing about calcium sulphate is that it contains sulphur too. Sulphur enhances the sweetness of edible plants and increases protein levels in leaves and fruit. Adding calcium sulphate saves me the trouble of having to add sulphur flakes to my garden too.


11 comments:

Malar said...

Dear Petunia,

i'm a bit away from basil blog entry. i read abt ur rosemary info. My son is 3yr old. He lost his appetite for months aft taking antibiotic for his throat infection.Do you hv any idea if i can gv him Rosemary tea? I do give him Yakult.
Malar

Malar said...

Dear Petunia,

I'm off ur basil blog entry.I read abt ur rosemary tea goodness. My son is 3yr old. He lost his appetite for months aft taking antibiotic for his throat infection. Do you hv any idea if i can gv him Rosemary tea?
Malar

petunialee said...

Hi Malar, he feels too bloated to eat? You could try the remedy I posted at: http://petunialee.blogspot.com/2010/02/rosemary-tea-and-digestion.html

I used it for my husband. Rosemary tea is safe to take for about one week daily. After that, one must stop in order to prevent overdose.

For children, maybe give 3 days in a row and then stop for 2, and then 3 days again. That should clear it up.

petunialee said...

Ooops! The link doesn't come out right. You can do a search in the search box at the top right corner. Key in "rosemary" and view the post entitled "Rosemary tea and digestion".

Chawanmushi said...

hi pet
thanks for sharing this ....
at the chinese medical hall, what would you ask for in chinese?
Sori I can't read chinese and I don't think the uncle there would know if I ask for calcium sulphate.

petunialee said...

I ask for "shi gao fen" for making tofu. Bear in mind that magnesium chloride is also used for making tofu so unless your packet looks like mine in the pic... you had better test on an expendable plant. Magnesium chloride will make your edibles flop over dead quite fast.

Malar said...

hi Petunia,

He will practically lost his appetite and eat very little... Usually we know how much our kids eat rite....
Anyway i found your remedy! I have dried rosemary in bottle. Can i make only rosemary infusion tea? how much to put in? Thank you very much for your help!
Malar

petunialee said...

Hi Malar, I think about half a teaspoon of dried rosemary leaves to 200ml of water is quite good to start with.

You can make it stronger if you think it isn't strong enough.

Add a wee bit of honey and you child should enjoy it.

Wen-ai said...

Hi Petunia

Thanks for this wonderful tip! Im the girl previously who asked abt ways to get rid of trip flies. Unfortunately, that basil plant had died. But, I've bought another pot from Jason's and currently, this 2nd pot of basil is doing much better. Hopefully in times to come, I can be a good gardener just like you. Your blog gives me a lot of motivation!

petunialee said...

Me? A good gardener? Nah! I don't think my plants will agree with you... Hee! Have you read about all my fertilising mishaps? My garden has gone through periods of life and death.

Cianoy said...

Very good results. I don't know where to get calcium sulfate here though. Know of any natural sources?