This homemade bamboo greenhouse really piqued my interest:
I’m sorry I don’t have a photo from further back. The farmer and his children were standing next to the structure and I’m trying to respect their lives by not including them on the Internet. A lot of people here are not connected to the World Wide Web and even view people with cameras as somewhat suspicious. I’m sure the various waves of tourists have been less than respectful in the past. I try not to be “that guy”.
How Was This Bamboo Greenhouse Made?
This entire structure is made from just three things: bamboo, palm fronds, and some purchased greenhouse plastic.
The bamboo for the roof was split in half and the rounded sides face up towards the plastic. Massive stands of bamboo grow by the rivers here, providing the locals with plenty of free building material. Private property is sometimes a vague concept. To put it simply, if someone is not working the land… you are free to wander it, tether your goats, harvest bamboo, pick fruit, climb the coconut trees and take what you like, or hunt.
I don’t really see this as a bad thing. Though I am a huge advocate of private property, a lot of the land here is sitting around and may be held by some far-off investor. Meanwhile, the jungle grows up and mangoes fall to the ground. We don’t have a problem with people wandering through our property. We live here, we tend to the cocoa, we plant corn, and we have made friends with our neighbors.
Back to the bamboo greenhouse. The joints are not tied with coconut palm fronds; rather, they are from some sort of a local palm of which I cannot pronounce the name.
The farmer assured me that they last for years, as does the bamboo since it’s under cover.
The high labor part of building this greenhouse was dragging all the bamboo stems up the hill and then splitting them.
As you probably saw, my own bamboo splitting skills are less than impressive:
Fortunately, this local farmer knows what he’s doing. And amazingly, he still has all his fingers.
So, why in the world would you want a greenhouse in the tropics?
As you notice, it has no sides. It never gets cold here. The problem is, the pounding monsoon rains will wreak havoc on flats of seedlings. This greenhouse gives them protection while still allowing the sunlight in.
Since the weeds grow very quickly here, I noticed many people start seedlings first, then clear the ground, then plant the seedlings when they are tall enough to have a head start.
I’ll bet this entire greenhouse cost about $20. Considering the amount of seedlings the farmer is able to start in it, it probably paid for itself in the first couple of weeks.
I asked how long it took to build and I believe he told me a couple of days. Not bad. Better than spending a grand on a prefabricated plastic structure!