How to Grow BambooWritten by Hans Dekker
Bamboo is a mysterious and elusive plant that baffles taxonomists who try to contain it within a botanical class and gardeners who try to contain it within a limited garden space as they learn how to grow bamboo. For many years, bamboo was thought to be a primitive grass but recent DNA testing has shown it to be one of most highly evolved forest grasses. There are over 1200 forms of bamboo that grow in a broad spectrum of color including familiar green and gold as well as burgundy, blue and even black grasses. Some varieties of bamboo can grow up to a foot a day and ultimately reach 130 feet tall while smallest bamboo cultivar attains only six inches of growth.
The first step in learning how to grow bamboo is picking a cultivar and beginning to unravel its many mysteries. While most of us picture tall stands of green and golden canes growing in tropical bamboo forests, bamboo cultivars range from temperate to tropical. As well as diversity in cultivar, bamboo has over 1500 documented uses that range from use in construction to making of acupuncture needles and from agricultural fodder to making of musical instruments. Until they are cut, bamboos stems are properly called culms and not canes. In India bamboo plants are commonly called "Wood of poor" and in China the” friend of people". To add to confusion, a cultivar commonly sold as “lucky bamboo” isn’t bamboo at all but a type of lily from Dracaena family!
How to Grow AsparagusWritten by Hans Dekker
Asparagus is a perennial plant with erect, edible stems and tiny branches that bear even tinier flowers that become red berries that contain black Asparagus seed. Formerly in Liliaceae family, botanists have realized that Asparagus is in a class by itself and have repositioned its 120 species in Asparagaceae genus. Asparagus is a high-end gourmet food item, but if you know how to grow asparagus, it becomes an inexpensive way to add a delicate flavor to your meals.
Knowing how to grow asparagus dates back 2500 years ago when it was first cultivated in Greece. In fact, asparagus is from Greek word for stalk or shoot. Long before it was used as a food item, asparagus was lauded for its medicinal properties. There are many reasons to grow asparagus. Once an asparagus bed is established, asparagus is first vegetable that is table ready in springtime and will provide your family with a firm and fresh vegetable treat for up to 20 years, each crown in your bed producing up to ½ pound of spears per year. Although supermarkets stock both canned and frozen asparagus, neither compares to unique flavor you get from freshly harvested and picked asparagus.
As asparagus plants grow, they produce a mat of long, tubular roots that spreads horizontally rather than vertically. This one-year-old root system is called asparagus crown. Although asparagus can be started from seed, it’s most often begun from transplanting crowns purchased from a reputable crown grower. Those who wish to learn how to grow Asparagus must have an abundance of patience, since it takes an asparagus bed three years to be established from crowns. The second year of growth, asparagus ferns emerge with a few spindly spears. At third year, although your bed will produce thicker and more robust spears, they shouldn’t be harvested for more than one month to allow roots and crowns to become further established.