Bamboo installation, completed

Last week, Paul and I planted the shadier half of our 50 ft stretch of fence line with bamboo, and yesterday,we were finally able to complete the project. Had we fully considered how difficult it would be removing several tree stumps and trenching and installing bamboo barrier in the middle of winter, we might have reconsidered the length of the hedge or hired a professional.

We planted the lower 25 ft with Chusquea culeou, a relatively short-lived clumping variety. Bamboo Garden started these plants from seed in May 2016, so I very much doubt their 45-year lifespan will be an issue.
Unlike most bamboo, Chusquea has solid culms that lack the characteristic hollow center, and its canes are reportedly much stronger. Hopefully I will have a ready supply of canes for various garden projects in the relatively near future.

And this is what Kona was up to while I photographed the bamboo, chewing on a stick carefully selected from the Olympic Peninsula...

Raised bed construction

Beginning in fall 2017, the big garden project was constructing vegetable boxes and installing them in a sloped, circular bed. The bed was overgrown with 7-ft tall fennel when we moved into the house earlier that year.

Boxes being built inside the garage...

And after completion, upside down and waiting to be dug into the ground in October 2017. Five-month old Kona, enjoying the process more than her owners...

After installing the raised beds and filling them with soil, we quickly realized fences would be necessary to stop the dogs from digging and sleeping in the boxes.

Fence prototype under construction. The panels slot into black PVC pipe pieces buried upright in the raised bed so the fence can be quickly moved for unrestricted access.

Initially, we covered the unused sections of the existing circular bed with mulch. That was a big mistake. With two large dogs running around, it was impossible to keep the mulch and graved from mixing. Completed boxes as of March 2018...

Vegetable garden in early May 2018...

Looking much neater in July 2018 after replacing the mulch with more gravel,

And a winter reality check today,
Sandy is hoping she can snag a collard leaf through the fence.

Bamboo installation

When we moved into our house a year and a half ago, tall trees grew between our house and that of our closest neighbors, providing an effective privacy screen. At the time, we were unsure on whose property the trees grew but later discovered that they belonged to our neighbors. Sadly, the trees had outgrown their spot, and the neighbors wanted to replace the trees with a fence.

Below is the old view of our neighbors' property blocked by the trees.

The same spot, after the tree felling (wish I had taken a photo of this process) and as the fence was being constructed.
The old compost bin is courtesy of the previous homeowners and was temporarily moved to build the fence.
In addition to cutting the trees between the houses, the neighbors also cleared a holly tree and some huge lilacs that provided privacy further along the lot line, making our garden feel very exposed to the neighbors' deck on the right.

After much research, we settled on planting bamboo for privacy, beginning at roughly the corner of the neighbors' deck and continuing along the entire fence line to the left, a 50-ft span. To prevent the bamboo from escaping under the fence, we spent late November through early January digging a 26" deep trench the entire length and installed 30" 80 mm-thick barrier. Thankfully, this has been a relatively warm and dry winter.

Yesterday, we finally removed the last of the tree roots between the houses, amended the soil, and planted the upper 25 ft of bamboo. The bamboo is Pseudosasa japonica, a reportedly tame running bamboo that should grow to about 15 ft, which I hope it does quickly. The light-color mulch at the front is a pruning trench.

The remaining lower 25 ft is sunnier and will be planted with a clumping bamboo, Chusquea culeou 'Aisen 2' seedlings. Hopefully, I will be able to update on the completion of that section soon