Updated: Jan 6, 2019
One of the most amazing plants must be Vetiver, a type of grass, originally from India.
Its roots go up to 4 meters deep and is therefore very effective against erosion which is a big problem worldwide.
And because it roots that deep, it brings up minerals other plants can’t. The adjacent vegetation profits from that and it makes the cuttings (it can be pruned 3-4 times per year) a very good and abundant mulch to fertilize the soil and surpress the weeds.
Its massive root system functions as water storage. Neighbouring plants need up to 50% less irrigation.
In the pictures below you see two avocado trees, planted on the same day 2 years ago, one without (left) and the other one (right) next to Vetiver grass.
But there is more: Vetiver is probably the best water purifier known. It takes up all the harmful bacteria, heavy metals and other pollutants to such an extent that it might make our ridiculously expensive sewage system obsolete one day.
Furthermore, from Vetiver roots essential oils are made (antiseptic, calming, etc.) and it is used in the perfume industry.
It is non invasive, it only grows where you plant it. It absorbs a lot of CO2.
I went to buy 200 slips in Sayalonga, on the east side of Málaga, where Anna and Dave (www.vetiverspain.com) have been growing Vetiver for 8 years. It was a warm welcome and they showed me their property and all the benefits that Vetiver has brought them. They also do experiments, grow it on extreme, almost vertical hill sides, grow them in shadowy places etc.
Anna:” I have been working with Vetiver for 8 years now and really tried to find a negative aspect but have not been able to”.
I planted the slips in our reed bed filter and on a steep hill which we are preparing for avocado and mango trees.
According to David, the type of soil doesn't really matter, it grows everywhere but faster in the sun and in a warmer climate. It doesn't need fertiliser but reacts positively to ashes.
We will keep you posted on how it grows.