Bamboo Building Course 2020
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
Bamboo course at Finca Morpho was a great experience. The jungle, community at the finca, food, the education and so many other positives... where to begin!? I want to start by thanking everyone i met during this course and Finca Morpho for holding space.
It was a long beautiful drive down the pacific coast of Costa Rica to nearly the very end of the Osa Peninsula...
The finca is near Corcovado national park where sightings of scarlet macaws, toucans and many other animals are an every day occurrence. There, nature, los maestros, and the finca crew welcomed us. Many passionate students dreaming to build a better tomorrow using a natural grass, gathered here to learn more and share ideas.
Here is a little information about this beautiful plant.
Bamboo is amazing in so many ways. To name a few, it regenerates quick, you can even eat young bamboo shoots! just like the pandas do. It also helps to prevent soil erosion, and sequesters a lot of carbon into the ground. In some species, this spectacular grass can grow almost 1 meter every day! Reaching over 30 meters of height and full regenerative mass in only 6 months. This plant is made to be strong. Unlike wood, bamboo has no knots so it has the ability to withstand a lot of stress. It is 3 times stronger than timber and can produce 15x more material than regular wood in 30 years.
There are 1675 species of bamboo and in Costa Rica, the most common ones are Asper, Dendrocalumus Gigantus, and Bambusa. The best time to harvest these fast regenerative trees are when its sugar content is low. Bamboo contains a lot of starch (sugars) which fungi, borers and other parasites thrive for. Good harvesting practices are great for bamboo to retain its strength. So it is very important to understand why and when is the best time to harvest. During rainy season, its sugar content is lower (this is due to new shoots consuming nutrients) and the moisture content in the culms is high. At this time, it increases the possibility of bamboo to be damaged and split after harvest. That said, it is recommended to harvest bamboo at the end of rainy season and the beginning of the dry season at the right moon (waning gibbous and last quarter) and ideally before sunrise or in the early morning hours. This has its advantages as the bamboo is less attractive to insects, less heavy to transport and dries faster. But wait!, there is one more to it after harvesting.
We can not forget the curing process. Also a very important step. Bamboo, like any other wood, has a good chance of being attacked by insects. Which is why is crucial to treat it correctly. Boron salts are used and very effective against borers, termites and fungi. A perfect mix of Boric acid and borax is the most commonly used treatment to cure bamboo. Learn more at the next bamboo course with Natural Building Costa Rica coming up in April of 2020.
In this course we experienced great vegan and organic prepared meals by chef Alex. His passion and love for cooking shows on the food he creates. Very creative using different seeds, spices, colors and textures to create beautiful delicious meals. During the course, one of the most interesting and fun ways to make food was showcased. Did you know that on the open fire, you can prepare and heat up meals inside bamboo culms? Yes, This happened during the course. Alex and the team prepared us a wonderful dinner. It consisted of sweet plantains with some seeds and spices as well as some arroz y fríjoles. Healthy and delicious with a kick of bamboo smoked flavor.
In summary, the overall experience at Finca Morpho was excellent. We weaved great connections and made relationships that showed interest in participating with some of EcoMaste's projects. One of the folks we hope to collaborate in the future and stay in touch with is Wyly Brown. Very talented architect building structures that are out of this world. Here are some of his links: http://www.lbgo.de and http://wwwhandshouse.org. We invite you to click on these and see for yourself why some of the projects Wyly has been involved with, are increíbles!
One of our goals at EcoMaste is to help and collaborate with passionate entrepreneurs that are involved in helping out this planet. One example is Trey, founder of Natural Building Costa Rica and co-founder of Bambu Mundo. He is a hard working individual actively learning, applying permaculture design principles, and sharing with the community. EcoMaste and Bambu Mundo, are currently establishing a relationship to work towards manage and re-forestation. We hope to continue to collaborate together in the coming years.