Thursday, May 30, 2013

Worms returning and hope for bamboo

I spent the whole day today digging and weeding, whew, I certainly feel it now. Although it is dirty work getting my hands in the soil when it is damp it is great to find the worms returning after the dry. They must have had to tunnel very deep to find moisture during this past summer. I know these are only small worms but at least they are coming back.

Worms do such a good job in the soil, not only fertilising it as they live and eat, but also allowing water and nutrients to run deep into the ground via their tunnels.

A couple of years ago I bought some bamboo seeds. The type is 'Black Asper' which I chose for a few reasons. The most important is that it is a clumping bamboo so it won't spread. Most clumpers don't handle frost well as they are tropical but this one should be able to cope with our light frosts. I had them in my polytunnel to protect them last winter.
The second reason is that it is a multi-purpose type of bamboo. It produces large and good tasting shoots but the timber is also large, and of a good type for building and making things, though I don't think we have the climate to let it grow to the huge size that is reputed to grow.
Like tree wood, different large bamboos have different wood qualities. This one has thick stems (culms) that don't split too easily in use.
The third reason I chose this one is that it looks great with its dark, almost black stems.

I know that many people are afraid of bamboo because they only know of the rampant spreading types but I think that it is too useful a plant to ignore. Just think of all the things that can be made from it. I am also hopeful that I can use it as wind shelter and shade for some tender plants as they grow.

I have learnt why bamboo plants are so expensive to by though. The seeds are hard to germinate and the seedlings die if you look crossways at them. I have managed to get three plants to this size (about 1 metre tall) and I hope they all survive now that they are more mature. I have one still in a large pot, one planted in the back block and one planted on J block. I hope that as they grow I will be able to divide them to produce a couple more plants.

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