Monday, June 22, 2009

The Bamboo Forest

Warning there is nothing about knitting in this post but lots about bamboo.

About ten years ago I decided to plant some bamboo. Not knowing much about this I just liked the way bamboo looked. At the time I did not really know the difference between "running" bamboo and "clumping" bamboo. I thought oh good running it will propagate and multiply and I will have lots of bamboo.

Ignorance is bliss, I should have known when a few people would just roll their eyes and sort of wish me good luck. Over all it has been pretty good though a lot of work. Each spring and early summer I have to cut back the new shoots and I think last year I just did not feel like doing this there was too much knitting to do. And there was the SeaSocks excursion to Alaska so who had time for bamboo trimming?

I'm paying for it this year, even though I would love to start knitting more socks to get ready for the Sock Summit in a couple of months and some projects that are screaming to be finished, no can do. I have to work on my bamboo forest because if I skip one more year I may not be able to get out, the bamboo may have over taken me and my whole house.

This is what I learned: There are many many different types of bamboo there are more than 400 kinds. I think I have about 4 different varieties in my garden.
Did you know bamboo is a grass?
Did you know there was a Bamboo Society? I almost joined.

I will let you in on a secret: how to tell if a bamboo is a running or clumping kind.

In the picture below is a clumping "Buddha's Belly" and the way you can tell is that the stalk is perfectly round like a plastic straw.

The picture below is "Hawaiian Golden" bamboo and it is the running kind. See the groove right where the joint is? This means that it's running bamboo.

Smooth stalk = clumping
Groove in the stalk = running

This bit of knowledge took me lots of research checking books reading etc. and finally this little Japanese lady at a nursery on Sawtelle showed me. Now you know.

BTW I have used bamboo fiber yarn and it was terrific very soft and easy to knit with. The uses for bamboo is endless.

Oh I know I said there would be nothing about knitting in this post but I could not help myself. This is the project I knit with bamboo fiber. I called it "Worms".


1 comment:

Ellen Bloom said...

Oooo...nooooo...invasive bamboo....the roots can get really deep. If it's close to your house, it can totally mess up your plumbing too.

I LOVE how bamboo looks, but Larry won't let me plant any. Sigh. Good luck with your machete!