I wonder how many of you who read this blog realize that unless we can slow down soil and fertility loss, rehabilitate unproductive land, and bring farm land back into high levels of production, the world will continue to need more land to feed its growing population resulting in more forest destruction – Cancun agreement or not!
Blackberry Hills Retreat & Spa promotes the Vetiver System for many different applications including on farm soil and water conservation. We started using VS some years ago and has good results on our steep land.
The soil on the slope at Blackberry estate was spoiled by ruthless farming practices over several years. Our efforts to plant some vegetables there failed, and then we came in to contact with Mr. Haridas (India Vetiver Network Coordinator) 10 years back, ,who directed us to plant vetiver. Now ultimately the soil has started “smiling”!
We call the method, “Zero Risk Slope Farming” which is very relevant in the high ranges (hills) like Munnar in Kerala. We cannot stop farming because we will have to feed people. We cannot continue conventional practices because it will ruin the earth for ever.
We have used vetiver along the terrace edges as well as as “stand alone hedgerows” – good results from both. Notice also how the strawberries and cabbages are free of pests – pretty clean crops. We also use the cut vetiver leaves as mulch thus helping to improve soil organic matter and reduce weed growth.