Saturday, July 6, 2013

Flexing my green thumb

(Post is backdated because I'm a lazy mofo)

Today I finally got around to doing something about my barren, desolate patio. (Pretend the pots in the corner aren't there yet)

I started pretty early in the day to avoid the heat, and set out to a garden center in search of bamboo. The first place I tried had some, but none of it was suitable for the planting I had planned. It was either too wide, too tall, or too invasive. The story was much the same at the second place, but they off hand mentioned that there's a bamboo specialty grower over the hills in Aptos, so after mulling it over a bit I decided to take the plunge and head on over.

I initially made my way over to 17 to get across the hills to Santa Cruz, but given it was the 4th of July weekend, the traffic was backed up all the way past 85, so I quickly ducked off again and took highway 9 instead. I have to say that 9 is a very, very pleasant road, and for future reference looks to be quite bikeable.

It didn't take me too long to get through Santa Cruz and over to Aptos, and just after lunch I arrived at Bamboo Giant. After discussing the various options with the staff there, I settled on getting 3 small pots of Alphonse Karr bamboo, and loaded up to head home.

On the way back, highway 1 was a bit clogged up heading towards Santa Cruz, but 17 was basically clear sailing all the way back into the valley, so that was nice.

Finally arriving home sometime mid-afternoon (around 3:30 according to the timestamp on the first picture), after a quick stop off at Home Despot for some appropriate tools, I set to work getting the bamboo into the ground. It would be a simple matter of turning the soil, dividing the 3 bamboo into 6, and then planting them.


Turns out that the dirt along the fence where I was planning to plant the bamboo hadn't been dug up since sometime in the 60s or 70s when this apartment complex was first built, and was additionally used as a bit of a construction dump for the plasterers to dump their excess materials. Lovely. Digging up that 20 cubic feet of dirt took a solid 2 hours of work, but once it was done I was only left with the relatively simple task of dividing and planting the bamboo.

I say relatively simple, since this bamboo grows a rather tightly bound wad of rhizomes that was a hell of a challenge to cut through. I did manage, though, and the results can be seen here below.

If the label on the side of the pots is to be believed, these will eventually grow into a lovely 10 foot wall of green, giving me a nice bit of screening that the low fence rather lacks. Hurray! Provided, of course, that it doesn't object to growing in a bunch of barely organic construction debris. Oh well, if it dies I'll go get some compost to turn into the now much looser dirt and try again.