Last August, after doing a bit of research and getting our ducks in order, we started our bamboo plantation. The experience has been very interesting but we now know that it was the best decision we could make for the land that we had. Considering the internal rate of return is over 30% (Source here), it was a far better choice than growing rice as was previously done by the former owner.
Things were not always smooth. We had to find the right kind of bamboo, elevate the land, and even tolerated a six week flood. We lost our Nana bamboos to the flood and our Aspers were stunted because they weren't established yet, but the bulk of the plantation survived. Future flooding will have no effect on the remaining plants as they are now getting fully established and the remaining species can survive months of flooding.
|August of 2016|
|April 2017 - 8 months later|
Anyway, this morning I was out on the field and took some pictures of the plants. In just eight months and despite the setbacks, the bamboo have started to send up huge shoots. These shoots don't normally get this big until the second year, but I guess the plants love the soil and growing conditions we have. I used a large 18 baht Pepsi bottle as a reference so that the size and girth of the bamboo can be estimated. Its hard to tell from the pictures above as it is shot from an elevated position. The pictures below are more detailed.
|Perspective at ground level - tallest bamboos are over 15 feet now|
|At the base its larger than a Pepsi bottle|
This is still planned as a 5 year project as the bamboos in the back part of the field are 3 months newer and haven't had a chance to develop like the ones in the front half of the plantation. Things look a bit rough now as we haven't 'cleaned' the bamboo culms yet of the side branches, etc. We wanted to let them grow a bit to get their roots established as that is where the future growth is going to come from. Besides, the leaves will be absorbed back into the soil after serving as a ground cover.
The pictures above show the Jungle Market project, which is next to the bamboo plantation. As you can see, its already started to fill in and provide a physical and visual barrier between the projects. The plants need to be trimmed back, but as with the plantation, we want it to grow some more before we take the shears to the plants.
This country is blessed with lots of agricultural potential as there is so much that can be grown here. All it takes is intelligent and proper management of the natural resources by the government and allowing the ingenuity of the farmers to do the rest. But politics always spoils everything.
|Some of our white Plumeria trees in bloom|
The plumeria flowers are in bloom! Also growing like weeds are these two...
|Ella this morning|
|Marina 2 years ago|
Ella and Marina (from 2 years ago). No doubt looking at them that they are sisters and hopefully BFF. Gosh they grow up fast around here! Don't know how much I will post this week as its holiday week up here and the resort is full.