The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Planting Meadowsweet and Bamboo

The weather was decent, 60 degrees with a little wind and beautiful sunshine, so I decided to get a few plants in the ground that had been lingering in pots for over a year. I know, that isn't the ideal place, but that is where they had to live for a while.

Meadowsweet, mine does not look like this now
I had bought some Meadowsweet a year or so ago and tried to plant it over by the chicken house. But the next day they discovered this small plant and decided it was tasty. So before it totally disappeared, I dug it up and put it in a pot until I had a better place for it. A few days ago, I was reading more about medicinal herbs and came across the benefits of Meadowsweet again. I had read this before, that is why I bought some to begin with, but it had been a while. Rereading this information gave me the motivation to go out and find it a permanent home. 

My meadowsweet looks like a pot of dirt.
I will probably order another plant to add to the mix and see if I can get a good, permanent planting established so that I can harvest and dry my own supply. In the meantime, I ordered some from Monterey Bay Spice Company. We will be adding this to a celery seed, chamomile tea combination that we have added to our daily medicinal intake. My hope is that I can grow enough for our needs this summer, that way I won't have to depend on another source.

The benefits of Meadowsweet listed in my medicinal herb books include:
  • salicylate properties similar to aspirin
  • astringent
  • anti-inflammatory
  • diuretic
  • antacid and calming for overactive digestive system
  • acid stomach, heartburn, ulcers, hiatus hernia
  • helpful for rheumatism and arthritis
  • clears sandy deposits in urine 

Meadowsweet prefers a moist area with semi shade. This location is on the edge of a small branch that is wet much of the year. It will go dry during a hot dry summer, but is generally fairly wet. I hope it will thrive in this area.

The other plant that has been living in a pot on the porch for too long is a sweet, edible bamboo. I did quite a bit of research on bamboo to find one that produces edible shoots and is hardy in planting zone 7. The one I bought is a sweet shoot bamboo, Phyllostachs Dulcis.
This is a running, spreading type that will have plenty of room here to grow. It will also provide some natural camouflage for this building. Many bamboos cannot tolerate the cold weather here and I was glad to find one that could. 
But, I think the really cold weather we have had recently has killed off part of this plant so I want to get it in the ground to see if it can be saved. This is another one of those little chores that was postponed for too long. But the plant seemed to be doing fine on the porch until just recently.

My motivation for investigating edible bamboo was the effort to find some perennial vegetables that I could get started here that could provide some food on a consistent, yearly basis. In this day and age, the types of food that are perennial are not usually part of our diets. Jerusalem artichokes, bamboo and asparagus don't go with many things that we eat regularly. At least, we don't. But we do have all three of these things growing here. And if the time comes that we need to depend upon what we can produce to eat, they will add a few more meals to our table. 

Sun chokes
Both the bamboo and Jerusalem artichokes (which we call sun chokes) in some circles are considered to be nuisance weeds because of their invasive, spreading nature. But I like things rather wild and unkept looking, so they will suit me just fine. Besides that, the more they spread, the more food they provide. The sun chokes are good for people and livestock. The nutritional content includes protein, inulin, potassium, iron, fiber, niacin, thiamine, phosphorus and copper. 

There are so many things we can grow that are beneficial and amazingly productive, even if you baby them with total neglect. Do they taste like potato chips, donuts and ice cream? No. Will they lend a hand to provide excellent nutrition with little to no effort on my part? Yes. The more I learn, the more amazed I am at the tremendous sources of life that are right at our fingertips. Isn't that just great? Learn something new today. Something that makes you smile and increases your ability to provide for your family. 

Until next time - Fern


  1. Great Post! How will you preserve your Bamboo shoots? Could they be dehydrated?

    1. My hope is to can them. We will see. The new spring shoots are the ones to harvest and I will have to see how this plant does. I may leave it to get established for a year before I start to harvest anything.

      Good questions.


  2. Yes, have lots of room for bamboo. And if you ever want to eradicate it, good luck.

    1. You're right. That's why I put it in this 'out of the way' place.

      Thanks for the comment.


  3. Hello Fern, jsut saw this post of yours and I was wondering how your bamboo is coming along. It would seem that the plants would be spreading, and putting you in a good position for harvesting some shoots in the spring.

    1. Thank you for asking, Milton. An update on the bamboo, sunchokes and meadowsweet is in the works. I do hope to harvest some shoots in the spring. It would be nice to even try canning some in small jars. We like to buy the small cans at the store to use for stir fry. Thanks again.