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 Post subject: Bamboo?
PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 03:53 
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Anyone grow bamboo? What is its value as timber, fuel, food? How is it grown? How fast does it grow? Ive been reading sites on the net for a few hours and im still confused about it. I think bamboo may be a good addition to my permaculture system.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 04:26 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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I've got some bamboo growing. There are different types to do anything from ground covers to screens to giant specimens. It can be a running variety (which are the kinds that people complain about taking over the neighborhood or there are the clumping variety that are more appropriate to sub tropical landscaping and can be quite spectacular with some large culums. I don't know much about the timber bamboos but you had better have a large space to grow them (perhaps on the order of at least an acre or more for the grove) to make it worth while if your climate is right for it.

And there are many eddible shooted bamboo types.

I've been keeping the running bamboo small and in containers here as the climate and soil could spell this bamboo taking over the neighborhood if I don't contain it. I also have some nice clumping bamboo that the culums of a mature clump can be on the order of 3-4" in diamiter.

I find the bamboo useful for garden stakes if harvested and cured properly. I know there are many uses for bamboo so keep doing some research to figure out what best suites your situation. There are bamboos that can handle many climates. In Nevada, I suspect your limiting factor will probably be moisture. It is possible to contain a running bamboo by only irrigating where you want it and leave a large space of non irrigated area around it. In wetter climates it often requires a trenched in barrier or huge (30-50 feet, bamboo can run under a paved street even) mowing strip around it.

Bamboo (especially the running variety) can grow very fast once established. It will generally take several years to get established and then for wood/craft/pole purposes I think 3-5 year old culums are what people want to harvest. Too young/green and they don't cure well, too old or already dead and they are not as sturdy. Harvest should be done during a dry season and there are several methods of curing them. I have tried Simply air curing and also using a camp fire to heat it till it sweats a little and then use a cloth to rub the oils into the surface. Don't over heat green bamboo or you will burst it open. Throwing bamboo into the fire often results in sounds like firecrackers.

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 Post subject: Re: Bamboo?
PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 07:00 
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Hi MC

Bamboo is such a versatile material, as you have probably research already it has thousand of uses as food, building materials, etc..
It loves a bit of water and compost material. I have seen it used in China as scaffolding on tall buildings. If you have the land and water I would grow a grove of the giant stuff. It is quick growing tooo..They have used it as a torture method, by tying down people on a young shoot which would grow through the person. :shock:
LB


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 09:00 
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I have a large patch of running bamboo in the backyard. It was planted 30 years ago to prevent erosion. It does that well, and grows to 25 feet (8 meters) tall or so.

Good points: Pretty, sounds cool, handy for cutting stakes for the garden.

Bad points: A huge flock of messy-noisy-stinky-grackles nest in it every spring, it requires aggressive containment.

We tried eating it one spring. Taste was reminiscent of asparagus, but it left us terribly thirsty, so perhaps preparation was incorrect.

All told, I would only plant the clumping stuff. I really hate the grackles, and I think they are attracted to the dense evergreen nature of the bamboo. A large hawk has recently determined that our backyard is hers, and she regularly plucks her meals from atop the swing set. I hope she likes the taste of grackles when they migrate back in. :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Bamboo?
PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 11:33 
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There are SO many different types of bamboo, many of which I don't think you'd be able to find in standard nurseries. Janet, how did you track down the edible bamboo that you mentioned..?

I'd love to have the land to grow one of the giant species, they're amazing & beautiful to boot. Some other pretty species (examples: green leaves, black stems, miniature 'forest' types) would be fun, but as mentioned previously, would need serious containment.

Even planted in pots, their roots will bust through the pots (a friend had one planted in a really thick concrete planter; it wasn't watered very well and even then grew enough to crack the pot & start sending out seeking roots!), so IMO would probably need regular root trimming (regardless of whether clumping or running..).

Live Beyond wrote:
Hi MC

They have used it as a torture method, by tying down people on a young shoot which would grow through the person. :shock:


LB, I don't think I even want to know how you know that! :? :lol: ew.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 11:52 
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I have read alot about how it will spread, but i live in the desert, so all I have to do is not water the edges to contain it.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 15:48 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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What on earth is a grackle :?

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 17:40 
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Type of noisy bird would be my guess. hopefully her hawk finds them appetising.

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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 18:32 
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be careful what type you plant, that stuff will spread and you'll never be able to get rid of it.
as a crude building material it's quite good, and some types have edible shoots.


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 Post subject: Re: Bamboo?
PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 21:43 
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Hello again mean Coyote. I have planted a clumping bamboo this time. Did not water enough during winter and looks dry. Last time I tried one with the edible shoots. never did get shoots before it died.


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PostPosted: Mar 17th, '08, 21:48 
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A grackle is a noisy type of bird. The males are a glossy iridescent black. The females are not so flashy. I usually think of them as small blackbirds though they are not crows. During mating season they are noisy and when nesting they will attack birds much larger than themselves. I have seen them harry a red tailed hawk. They fly at the larger bird from above and behind and swipe at the back in such a manner that the larger bird won't be able to turn and retaliate before the grackles have flown off.

Very noisy.

Bamboo is good though.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '08, 01:38 
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Description catalog for bamboos
http://www.bamboodirect.com/bamboo/catalog/timberctlg.html

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mar 18th, '08, 08:57 
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The bamboo came with the house. I'm not really sure that it is the edible type; I didn't know there was a non-edible type.

I keep my bamboo "contained" by mowing off new shoots in the lawn.

My hawk is a little larger than a red-tailed hawk. I hope she can manage.

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PostPosted: Mar 18th, '08, 11:47 
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Great link DanDMan! Cheers! :)

Janetpelletier: bamboo-a-la-house! I like it! :) heheh.. & best of luck to the hawk; go get'em! (& by edible bamboo, i just meant species that are considered better for eating, by humans, than others)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mar 18th, '08, 16:37 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Are they the same thing as a starling (grackles that is) or only just as anoying.

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