Bambusa balcooa, Dendrocalamus asper, Bambusa oldhamii, Oxytenanthera abyssinica, Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa multiplex, Phyllostachys nigra…
Bamboo is incredible, it has the potential to deliver a sustainable balance between habitat and community. This family of flowering perennial evergreen plants are some of the fastest-growing plants in the world. They are very versatile and used as a food source, for construction, scaffolding, crafts, paper, furniture, biomass fuel wood, crop supports, windbreaks and screens.
Bamboo will grow easily in a wide range of soils and conditions. They do best with sunshine and regular watering but will not enjoy waterlogged soils.
How to Plant
For a perimeter hedge or windbreak plant then 3m apart. You can intercrop the clumping varieties with other plants for the first 2 to 3 years. Make a hole 30cm x 30cm, fill the hole partially with compost so that the plant will be level, carefully remove the bag, plant and press the soil around the plant.
How to Water
When you plant the bamboo create a watering basin of about 1m around the plant to contain water. Give the plan about 2-5 litres of water when planted and every week after that until they are established (about 1 year).
Bamboo make an excellent windbreak and screen. They can be intercropped with nearly anything for the first couple of years, after that they can provide a shady area for mushrooms or other shade loving plants, as long as you leave some space to access the bamboo for harvesting.
How to Propagate
Seeds are available but they are a little tricky to grow, if you have a supplier you can buy small plants (these are usually grown in a laboratory) or you can divide existing plants too.
How to Harvest
Only clumbs of 3 to 4 years are harvested (during the dry season) after that they can be harvested each year. During the wet season when new shoots emerge mark the new shoots, each year with a different colour (string, paint etc.)
Bamboo shoots, shavings, sap and leaves are used.
Only a few types of bamboo produce edible shoots, the shoots are cut and prepared fresh by boiling them, then peeling them before adding them into a variety of dishes.
There is quite a bit of literature on traditional recipes that include bamboo, so once I have experimented and spent some time studying it I will come back and update this section!
According to Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, no systematic evaluation has been carried out, so it is difficult to determine which of the identified compounds might be among the primary active constituents which include selenium, potassium, acetylcholine and flavonoids (e.g., vitexin and orientin) used as antioxidants.
Traditional Chinese forumals for bamboo include treatments for reducing irritability, inflammation, promote circulation, inhibiting allergies, helping with coughs and excess sputum, and much more.
A research study from 2013, Bamboo shoots: a novel source of nutrition and medicine, discuss Various edible species and exotic food products (fermented shoots, pickle, vinegar etc.) and recipes of bamboo shoots (bamboo beer, bamboo cookies). (28)