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The planting has started! Happy May 1st!

The rainy season had started here in our area and the so the mountains are open for planting!

We have been growing vetiver in the clinic yard for a year now.  About every 3 months we can plant what has grown and replant new starts.

Vetiver grass is amazing. The thin roots “nail” themselves into the soil by diving straight down (12-15 ft) and rapping together around one another to create a mesh type barrier underground.  This helps washout soil stay on the upper side of the vetiver terrace.  This helps the surface water run down the roots into the watershed instead of running down the mountain taking soil down to the river and oceans.  Crops planting between vetiver terraces produce 30-50% more yields.  Now, I live the environment and all, but that last statement is what makes me lots this plant.  That means 30-50% MORE FOOD for people to eat and sell!  Most substance farmers have a limited amount of land.  They must plant the land every planting season with no time to rest the land to rejuvenate it.  The soil is producing less and less even though they are putting in the same amount of money (seeds), time, and work.  Frustrating, yes.  Life-threatening, most definitely!  So, as with anything, people must see it to believe it and understand it. So, we started with only a few vetiver shoots 5 years ago.  The plants grew, we separated and them, those grew, we separate and planted them, and on and on until we have enough today to really “treat” a ravine.  In principle, you must start from the top of the ravine or mountain and work your way down.  Yesterday, we started from the top.  I can’t tell you how excited that I was yesterday to go work in the dirt and hot sun!  I’ve been waiting 5 years to actually “treat” a ravine to prevent soil erosion.  This location is along the new main road where hundreds of farmers pass daily.  When all that we are planting now grows to maturity, we can collect shoots to plant terraces for willing farmers.  Once these terraces reach maturity, then those farmers should see that 30-50% increase in yield.  Slowly, but surely!

So….here are yesterday’s photos.

Unloading the truck.  The “A” is used to find the perfect horizontal line.

Carrying the vetiver strips to the top to the planting site.

After a few lines of vetiver planted.

working our way down the site.

The start of a “living terrace.”

All in a day’s work.  We hope to finish the rest over the next 2 Saturdays.

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We also planted 50 mahogany trees on a mountside on our new property.  May 1st is celebrated in Haiti as the day to plant trees!

The worst part of the day was having to push the truck every time to get it started.

HAPPY MAY 1ST from all of us in Haiti!   ….even the lizards!

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