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natural farming approach to bamboo infested area  RSS feed

 
matt davey
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I am in Kysushu, south-west Japan, and i have just started renting a plot of land off one of the neighbours ( for about $100 a year (!) )
It was used for a market garden until a few years ago, and has been left to go wild since then. And by 'wild', i mean that there is basically tonnes of low growing 'sasa' bamboo everywhere.

At home here, i have a small garden, and have been able to keep this type of bamboo under control by cardboard sheet mulching over it long enough to kill the roots off.

But, after recently reading Mr Fukuoka's books, i would like to take a more natural, aikido style approach with my new plot of land if possible.

What do you guys suggest?
 
frank larue
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It may well not be Fukuoka's suggestion but running a couple pigs through the areas will sort out the bamboo nicely. My buddy in North Carolina got some land with dense thickets that blacked out midday light. In a couple months he had space to extend his food forest and his pigs are happier for it. I'm not sure what kind of space you have or whether pigs are an option but there are some small heritage breeds that can handle smaller spaces.

Running bamboo is a hard thing to suppress. You will always fight it if it is present. It can send runners 3 meters, some I've read more than 5. Some will break non-reinforced concrete (if thin enough) too so your options are removal or maintenance. Is the variety edible? perhaps you can push it back to an edge of your space. Put up a fence (you have the material), and eat/kick over any shoot that appears beyond your visual line. The fence doesn't need to be bear either, encourage existing plants or put in some choice ones. I like hops and passiflora incarnata (maypop) because they are climbers that die back each season, making them easily harvested without trellising. hmmm, beer, pork and bamboo shoots, and fruit...

 
matt davey
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Thanks Frank,

there's another area i'm looking at leasing, and it's quite a bit bigger, so pigs may even be an option there. I'll keep that in mind.

For my current area, i'm just going up there every day and gradually digging the roots out. It's quite a small bamboo, growing to not much more than 1/2 inch across even when mature. However, it puts out a lot of roots, and i really think now that i just need to dig those out first before i get the garden started. I just do a little bit every day, so it's not too strenuous. Once it's done, i can move on to a more natural farming approach, but with the exception of a full forest canopy, there really isn't anything much in the plant kingdom that can out compete with bamboo.

There's a lovely little weedy pathway winding up to my plot though, and i have been making seedballs and scattering them along that every now and then. We're just at the start of spring now, so things should start popping their heads up soonish i hope.

 
frank larue
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Please let us know how the seed balls go. I'm working on a Von Bachmayr drum and curious to see how successful seed balls are, as I've had mixed results.

Best of luck!
 
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