Posted by Deano Martin almost 13 years ago
A couple of years ago, I was offerred some bamboo by a friend, for whom I was doing some scything. At about the same time, I watched Martin Crawford's Forest Garden DVD, in which he showed how to harvest and prepare bamboo shoots.
Luckily, most of what I collected were really useful species, and my research added more species that I wanted to grow. By the end of last year I had obtained nine different varieties, and had reserved another four. On Friday the four that I had reserved, somehow increased to six, as I was shown more that would be useful, and beautiful.
The original list was Phyllostachys nuda, Phyllstachys propinqua, Phyllostachys rubromarginata, and Chusquea culeou. I added Fargesia rufa, and a Phyllostachys vivax cultivar.
The three original Phyllostachys varieties were selected primarily for their edible shoots, but all have good culm wood, and can be used for building small structures. I had ordered the Chusquea primarily for it's attractiveness, but I then checked, and found out that it has good edible shoots too.
The P.vivax cultivar that I added was just a pretty colour. All of the P. vivax cultivars are strong growers, with tasty shoots, and large culms. I already have two varieties.
The Fargesia was bought to use as poultry shelter. It will grow to about 12ft maximum, clump tightly, but leans outwards slightly, giving shade in Summer, and shelter in Winter.
For those of you who like facts, I've colected some information for you. Please note that these figures are based on performance in the UK, and growth will be greater with more warmth.
Phyllostachys nuda. Hardy to -23 C, zone 6, but possibly hardier still, height up to 10 meters. Early shooting with excellent taste. Culm wood good quality, used for furniture legs.
Phyllostachys propinqua. Hardy to -26 C, zone 5, height up to 9 meters. cultivated for edible shoots. Culm wood hard, used for tool handles, small construction, and split for weaving .
Phyllostachys rubromarginata. Hardy to -21 C, zone 6, height up to 18 meters. Goodeating, but needs par boiling to remove a slight bitter taste. Culm wood Tough, and splits well.
Chusquea culeou. Hardy to -18 C, zone 6, height up to 7.5 meters. Edible shoots
Phyllostachys vivax f. huanvenzhu. Hardy to -21 C, zone 6, height up to 20 meters. Excellent taste, even raw. The most cold hardy of the timber bamboos, but the culm wood is thinner.
Fargesia rufa. Hardy to -20 C, zone6, height up to 3.5 meters. Tight clumping growth.
The hardiness and growth figures are taken from Taming the Dragon, by Paul Whittaker, the uses come from Bamboo for Gardens, by Ted Jordan Meredith.
Up until now, most of the bamboo has gone into my Forest garden, as it is the one area that is fully meshed against rabbits, but eventually I hope to extend the rabbit protection, and I have planted clumps with individual protection, in other areas.
Is there anybody else out there using bamboo?
You must be logged in to comment.