Barbara Du Mond

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since Apr 16, 2013
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Recent posts by Barbara Du Mond

1. Get to know different bamboos. There are a lot of different types of bamboo, thought the two main categories are runners and clumpers. Clumpers do grow outwardly, some at faster rates than others. Although it is usually best to use a 30" deep barrier around bamboo, you can sometimes get away with not using it around clumpers if they are slow spreaders. Different runners also have different rates of spreading. Some are extremely aggressive and will run 50' or more under concrete and foundations and resurface. Some will push up through asphalt. You will probably need to use a barrier with a runner, especially if it is near a property edge. Bamboo roots only grow within about the top 24" of soil, so a barrier that is 30" deep is usually sufficient to contain it. But make sure it is installed with a few inches sticking out above ground and that it is properly angled and the right thickness. This is thick material specifically made for bamboo, not whimpy plastic. And you need to make sure that it is properly sealed where it meets. Bamboo roots will find the weak point in a seam and find their way through it. And don't use material that will corrode or break down, no metals. Even tough barriers will need to be replaced at some point.
2. Know where you want to grow it and the environmental needs of your bamboo. Some are drought tolerant but most need moderate to high amounts of water. Most need sun, but some only grow well in shade. Some do well in wind while others will break or fall over. Some will be ok in very cold weather and others will easily be damaged or die if temps drop too low.
3. Know what you want to use it for. There are some timber bamboos that grow to 50' or more and are large in diameter. Most of these are also aggressive runners. If you don't need something so large, perhaps a less aggressive runner or a clumper will do the job for you. There are also bamboos that are specifically used for textiles like clothes, sheets, and towels. And there are others that are best for eating the shoots. And there are also a lot of bamboos that are just grown for their beauty, as visual barriers, to create a forest feel, or for the sound they produce as the wind moves through the grove. Timber bamboo is one of the strongest building materials if properly harvested and cured. But you would not want to try to eat that same bamboo. Some grow only a couple feet high and make great ground covers while others grow 60" plus and make great forests.

So do your research and decide why you want to grow bamboo, where you want to grow it, and how much work you are willing to put into maintaining and harvesting it. Answering these will help you decide what type of bamboo is appropriate for you to grow.
5 years ago
We need a better heating system in our house, but air pollution is a concern. Right now we are heating with a somewhat efficient iron stove and a very inefficient fireplace. There are solar panels on the house which produce enough electricity so we could do radiant heat with electricity or hot water in the floor. I've also suggested that we consider a RMH or a masonry heater. However, we are concerned about air quality and don't want to be adding to global warming via our heating system if at all possible. We are located in the mountains between the ocean and SF bay and have winter spare the air days when no wood burning is allowed (with exceptions for homes that are only heated by wood). We have more than enough wood on our lot, and need to do additional thinning to reduce fire load. So I'm hoping that someone can tell me what gasses are given off from the RMH, especially how much carbon and volatile gasses are released into the atmosphere. I'm open to other ideas about how to heat the space as well.
5 years ago