Thinking of getting into the bamboo business? Excited by the idea of growing the wonder-grass for food or construction projects? Dream of a shady, peaceful zen grove? Whether you are looking to plant for fun or profit, you may want to seek advice from Daphne Lewis. She is the author of several books including Farming Bamboo and Hardy Bamboos for Shoots & Poles that are great reference guides for the beginning farmer. The publications cover the essentials, including species and site selection, irrigation and pest control, as well as harvesting and marketing your crop.
Residents of USDA zones 7 and 8 (click here to see which zone you inhabit) will be delighted to hear that their warm, humid climates are ideal for successful bamboo cultivation. As a rule, if corn will do well in your soil, so will bamboo. This grass likes more summer than winter rain, and soils that are not easily saturated.
Many Southern states are beginning to experiment with bamboo, and Lewis herself has been involved with collecting data on American production. In October of 2010, Lewis moved to Perry, Georgia from Seattle, Washington to investigate how many pounds per acre several different species of bamboo would yield. For those interested in the particulars of variety and pound per acre, visit the ongoing study at her website, bamboofarmingusa.com.
Lewis is involved in all aspects of raising and selling bamboo from germination to fabrication. Through her site and contributions to the American Bamboo Society’s blog, Lewis aims to educate farmers as to the many commercial advantages to their crop. Whether it be selling the young shoots to restaurants for special dishes, bagged for charcoal or kindling, used as fodder for livestock, mulch, or building material, farming bamboo can be a profitable endeavor.
At Bambu Batu we are excited to see more bamboo grown on native ground, and look forward to seeing what her research and advocacy will produce in the future!