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The life of Bamboo at Homestead Fresh (with pictures!)

Bamboo on our new property has lived a pretty good life. Starting as a small shoot, it pokes up out of the ground and grows to an excess of 40 feet high. Stealing light and nutrients from all other vegetative life surrounding it, the bamboo grows strong. Reaching high above all other grasses (yes, bamboo is a grass), and enjoying the breeze that gently massages the tops of its leaves. Then, as with all life, it starts to get old. Turning brown in its old age, and cracking with an echoing popping sound, it slowly (very slowly) begins its decay – but not before putting down very strong roots (rhizomes) to spring forth several shoots of new life.

Until we came along. Bamboo has met its match! Make way for the mighty saw! Death comes to all stalks on our property of this selfish, life sucking, green tyrant of all grasses!

Okay, maybe that seems a bit extreme. I actually like bamboo a lot. A fantastic creation with SO many uses. Once cut, we look at this stuff as free building material from fencing of gardens to construction of our outbuildings. So many uses, and wonderful as a sustainable resource if more people would look into how practical it is and all the uses it has. Paper, fiber for clothing and bedding, crafts and building materials, the list is almost endless in what this can be used for. As long as it isn’t on my property.

If any of you have ever had to deal with it, you know that it seems near impossible to get rid of. There are a few things you can try to make this go away:

· Getting big equipment to dig the top 8 inches (or more in some cases) off of your precious land (but you have to make sure to get all of the rhizomes).

· Cut it down, and mow the shoots down with the rest of your grass (don’t take a vacation though – this grows super-fast).

· Blacking out the entire area, for about 1 year (may not always work if the rhizomes have traveled beyond that area that was blacked out… and who has a year to wait anyway).

· Buy a Panda Bear (may not be practical).

· Napalm (this works, but there are obvious down sides).

We, however, have opted for something we are hoping will be slightly more practical for us. We are in fact going to cut it all down. Have already started in fact. The shoots though, take a bit to make their appearance, but once they do – BAM! It’s back, but its now doubled! For every one we cut, it seems to grow two more shoots. We have a plan though – what rhizomes we miss digging up, will be a wonderful snack for… you guessed it - GOATS! A bit more practical than panda bears, easier to get our hands on, and we were already planning on getting more goats. Pandas may like to eat bamboo, but goats, it turns out, love bamboo shoots. The shoots are juicy and soft unlike the full grown bamboo shaft. If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, you have likely eaten these yourself.

So, instead of blacking out the area, instead we plan to fence off this acre that has been taken over by these green giants. Once we get all the bamboo cut down, it will be up to the goats to keep the shoots under control. I’ll let you know how this works. I know not everyone can get some cute, entertaining, lovable, and fun grass eaters with fur – but for those of you that can, this may be an option.

To give you some perspective on how fast this evil grass grows, I decided to include some pictures I took of one bamboo baby shoot over a period of just 10 days (at which point, I killed this beast before it got out of hand).


Yes, isn't it cute... tiny little chubby thing.

Two inches in two days... If only my veggies would grow so well.

Looks to be slowing down... but looks can be deceiving!

Over an inch in one day!

3 inches over night!!!

Okay, this was getting too fast for my liking. Yes, I killed it!

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