Wanted to pick y’all’s brains! I live in North Central Alabama (just north of Birmingham). We have been dying to buy a bit of land and start practicing some eco friendly, sustainable homesteading. I really want to build our home to promote passive cooling as much as possible as well as use natural materials. We loved the look of earthbags but have heard some conflicting thoughts on how they would handle the high humidity and heavy rainfalls. After obsessively studying house structures of other Subtropical countries, I decided upon an elevated home built from woven bamboo and daub walls, as well as having a cupola on the roof. My worry now is if this will be too cooling for the winter months? I plan on having a rocket stove for the heat in the winter and an outdoor kitchen for the Summer. It will definitely be a smaller home but we are a family of 5, so not too small. We haven’t really built anything more than fences before, so will probably employ a friend to build a pavilion of sorts, and then we’ll come in with everything else. Any suggestions on building materials and designs to handle humid heat as well as chilly winters? Any suggestions for the daub mix to withstand all that water? Another issue deals with our very common seasonal tornadoes. Spring and fall have regular tornadic activity. Would a circular structure be better for weather like this?Thanks so much!
Time of harvest is critical for bamboo. If you have a pronounced dry season, that's a good time to harvest, since you won't be starting with saturated material. Bamboo with lots of sugars is much more attractive to borers and other pests. So it's best to harvest at dawn, before sugar levels rise.
Boron and borax are not too terribly toxic as long as we don't swallow it. Treatment with that, can increase the lifespan many fold. YouTube shows plenty of backwoods methods of doing this that are not terribly expensive.
And I guess the most important thing is to use mature canes. Bamboo can shoot to the sky and be at maximum height in 2 months. But it's still going to take three or four seasons for it to be completely mature, depending on species. Not only are young canes not as strong, they are also much more prone to decay.
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2020 Permaculture Design Course for Scientists and Engineers, June 14-27