The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Uses for Bamboo

Shannon wrote in last month with some excellent suggestions about bamboo:

Have you guys considered bamboo as a sustainable resource?  Every year, about 15 new shoots come up from a 3" diameter and 15-30 foot long bamboo patch in my yard.  I harvest the ones that have been around for 2-3 years and use them for everything from grape vine trellises, to bean plant supports, to lumber.

BambooI am already thinking about how I can put together a chicken tractor or rabbit hutch with the excess I have this year.  It is rot resistant, strong, etc.

I am going to take a trip to a local grower one day.  They have varieties that are everything from 1/4" diameter and 8 feet long, to 12" diameter and 80-120' long.  I want to plant some of the bigger variety soon.

Another great use for the bamboo once harvested is the dropped leaves make a pretty good natural mulch.  I cut down the bamboo, drag them where I want them and then strip off all the branches in a pile.  The leaves drop off the branches in about two weeks, then I get a rake and rake up all the leaves and put them in the garden.

Bamboo is a wonder plant as far as I am concerned.

I'd add to Shannon's advice that it's worth checking out the native North American bamboo, River Cane, first.  Be careful, because some non-native species can turn invasive.  We're looking into planting some River Cane and some non-invasive timber bamboo.

This post is part of our Readers' Tips lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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