Bamboo in the Garden

Over the kids' spring break, we visited a sustainable demonstration farm. I was completely enthralled with the way they used materials from the natural environment for structures and elements in their gardens. Bed borders were made from stacked, fallen banana leaves and bamboo; pinecones served as mulch; and bamboo poles were tied together to create vegetable cages and trellises.
Examples of using sustainable materials at ECHO Global Farm.
I'm not sure why it all hit me as it did, but my world opened up. After years of garden inspiration from magazine pages and Pinterest posts, this simple, natural approach was a breath of fresh air. I loved the idea of creating in my garden with readily available materials (instead of purchased or manufactured materials). So I've started to adapt a few of the techniques I learned about at the farm...
Working together, my husband and I cut several sticks of bamboo from a patch in my backyard. We stripped off all the leaves and growth, and cut them to equal lengths. Then, using garden twine to bind the poles together, we created structures to serve as support for tomatoes and vining plants in both the front and back yard gardens. In some spaces, we set up a seires of tripods, connected at the top with another bamboo pole. In other places, we constructed single tepees of varying heights.
Bamboo structures in my backyard garden :: a tomato cage from 5 connected tripods, and a 6-ft bean tepee.
Growing food in my front yard is a new experiment this season - so I've had to create new garden beds. For borders, I'm trying the stacked banana leaf-bamboo method, using old banana leaves from my own trees. This is a work in progress and I'm only one layer deep so far. I don't have any of the big, thick bamboo, so I'm constantly on the lookout for some trimmed pieces... taking my "curb shopping" tendencies to a whole new level as I now ogle yard waste too!
Bamboo in the front yard veggie patch :: tepee tomato cages; and the beginnings of a bamboo-banana leaf bed border.
The next sustainable growing practice on my list to explore - DIY drip irrigation systems. I'll keep you posted!
Learn more about bamboo and its many uses around the world:


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