World Bamboo Day is a day of celebration to increase the awareness of bamboo globally. In the week leading up to World Bamboo Day I’ve been harvesting bamboo inside the very large stands of one of the smaller kinds of bamboo here.
It’s very pleasant inside the bamboo. The light and breeze is gently filtered through the leaves. It is quiet and peaceful.
The best time to harvest, as recommended by Cusack* and Guadua Bamboo, is early in the dry season. This is the time when moisture and starch are at their lowest levels and the resulting harvest will be less prone to attack from powder post beetle.
Early in the dry season has been a little tricky to pick this year though. The wet season here in North Queensland was not very wet and the time when it would ‘normally’ start to dry out has been quite wet. We’ve just had a few weeks of ‘unseasonal’ rain, so I’ve chosen now to harvest some of the smaller bamboo.
Mature culms are identified, marked with high-vis tape, and cut with an old fine-toothed saw. To reduce starch content, post-harvest transpiration is promoted by keeping the cut culms upright (but not touching the ground), with the branches and leaves attached for 4-6 weeks.
Harvesting the small bamboo by hand is a lovely task – except for the tick I pulled out of my head one night. It looked just like the paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus, reminding me that I share the stands of bamboo with bandicoots.
About World Bamboo Day
From the official website: “World Bamboo Day is a day of celebration to increase the awareness of bamboo globally. Where bamboo grows naturally, bamboo has been a daily element, but its utilization has not always been sustainable due to exploitation. The World Bamboo Organization aims to bring the potential of bamboo to a more elevated exposure – to protect natural resources and the environment, to ensure sustainable utilization, to promote new cultivation of bamboo for new industries in regions around the world, as well as promote traditional uses locally for community economic development.”
* Cusack, Victor. (1997). Bamboo rediscovered. Trentham, Victoria: Earth Garden Books.