Thursday, December 27, 2007

Experiment - fertilizing naturally or not, what makes a better looking, healthier bamboo?

In my ongoing renovation of my backyard, I began focusing on the southwest corner of my yard. I planted four (likely will be five by tomorrow) bamboo, f. murileae "Umbrella Bamboo", t. crassinodus "Kew Beauty", t. crassinodus "Merlin", f. robusta and the fifth will be b. fungosa.
Trying to grow using more natural methods, I opted to use compost from my bin (pictured) which now has a good mixture of leave and grass debris and recently (3 months or so) we began including kitchen scraps from fruits and vegetables. Needless to say after finally being good about turning the compost, we are starting to get some rich compost.
So, for the past couple of years, I have been using Osmocote to fertilize my bamboo as a slow release and have been fairly happy with the results. However, becoming more aware of the impact of synthetic fertilizers, I am going to try something different on these five newly planted bamboos.

When I planted them, I put a thin layer of compost on top, not only to protect the root structure from frost, but as a natural fertilizer.

Pictured are the subjects of the experiment (from left to right) t. crassinodus, "Kew Beauty"; f. murileae "Umbrella Bamboo" and f. robusta.
Let the experiment commence!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Great bamboo resource and a venue to trade (and buy)) bamboo plants if your a collector

Aptly named, I am a "bamboo geek." I collect bamboo, like it were stamps, comic books or coins. With hundreds of varieties in the U.S., there is plenty to collect and living in California (with great weather, comparatively speaking) allows me the opportunity to collect running and the mostly sub-tropical clumping bamboos.

A great resource for the beginning collector to the expert nursery operator is Partially funded by the American Bamboo Society, it is a great venue to get advice on growing bamboo, pests and diseases and the best part, trading (or buying/selling) with private collectors.

I recently completed a transaction with a fellow collector in the south bay area and I was happy with the results.

This is the site to check out if you appreciate bamboo, like I do -

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bamboo looks like a candy cane?

Took this photo today of my h. damarapi "Candy Stripe" bamboo plant. This is why I love bamboo, way more than a typical plant. Looks like a candy cane....


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Composting and growing bamboo indoors

Composting renewed, at least at our household. We have had a compost bin that we purchased some time ago. We originally used it for grass clippings leaves, etc. We largely let it sit unturned and ignored and got mixed results. As of late we have really began to try to incorporate sustainable practices in our household. Pretty consistent and diligent recycling practices, have led us to really look at composting as a way to reduce waste. The results are quite amazing.

With doing the obvious, like recycling newspaper, glass, aluminum, plastic; along with things like cardboard from food boxes (like cereal boxes, etc.) we have reduced our can load from full every week to now 3/4 to 1/2 full every week. For us, our efforts have paid off, at least as far as our conscience.

The other to seriously reduce waste is composing vegetable and fruit food scraps which has really made our compost bin quite productive. Rich and black compost like I've never seen it. Plan on using it to top dress my bamboo plants over the winter (to feed naturally and protect against frost).

Curious... any advice on composting from readers of this blog... please do share.

I recently was posed the question, is there a bamboo that you can grow indoors. The books I have read have all reported sparse success. In Paul Whitaker's Hardy Bamboos, he cautions against it, but if you insists he offers the following suggestions:

b. mulitplex (all species)

bambusa ventrosica (pictured to the left)

chusquea (all species)

drepanostachym falcatum

himalayacalamus falconeri

pleioblastus forunei (dwarf)

pleioblastus pygmaeus (dwarf)

pleioblastus shibuyanus "Tsuboi"

pseudosasa japonica

shibataea kumasasa

All experts I have read, suggest direct light and you may have to place it outdoors from time to time. From my readings, most bamboos react to low light conditions by dropping leaves after several months and weakening. Any stories from readers on experimenting with growing bamboo indoors?

Till next post!