One day in September, a few years ago, I needed to move 
a few clumps of vetiver from the nursery to another location;
I couldn't finish the work in the immediate so I abandoned
the clumps in the parking area.
A couple of weeks later, when I put hands in the matter
again, to my great amazement, I wasn't able to pull the 
clumps from the ground because those had stricken roots
in the mean time and formed a solid block with the
compacted ground.

Today I review that incident with the certainty that I found
the keystone to introduce vetiver hedgerows to the public
authorities who act to safeguard the hydrogeological stability
in the interest of local inhabitants at any level.

Here is the Idea:
Let's take a common jute bag used to produce the typical 
sandbag, let's fill it with sand a little slow release nitrogen 
fertilizer, make a few holes along its long axis and place
in it a row of bare root vetiver propagations.

In no time the plants will strike roots which will escape the
jute bag from the bottom (for this it is advisable to place
them on concrete or plastic).
They can easily be produced in nurseries at any latitude.
In the production period, it would be best to keep low the
aerial part and often prune the roots in order to promote
new tillers and new root growth.
Drip irrigation in hot weather would be needed.
When ready, the bags, can simply be alligned on the ground
on contour lines, along their long axis, to form the much
debated hedgerows without moving a single stone or plough a single centimeter of land.

Total planting cost: ZERO

This rowbags can also be placed on top of other common 
sandbag walls or barriers forming in little time some strong
levee banks at very little cost and effort.

All the rest, given the instrument, is a bio-engineeristic task
for a specialistic team to design; here some examples:
- embankments set in order to favour the formation of 
sand barriers in rivers at risk,
- active defenses to slow down and direct the flow of 
- immediate action (but built to stay)to spread heavy rainfall
in the catchment and prevent flashflood.

With a little fantasy anyone can imagine the huge potential
of this idea, or not?
And many thanks to Nicola for his giving graphic shape to 
my thinking.

1 commento:

KVMAPR ha detto...

Hi Marco,

This is a very interesting idea, but I might have one suggestion, and if it works, could bring the price down even lower. You said you're at zero cost now, but I beg to differ. Jute bags, while cheap, are not free. So there might be a way to get rid of that part of the cost.

Instead of jute bags, it might be a good idea to use the vetiver plant itself to make the planting "blocks" that you describe.

While I haven't tested this myself, it seems like the following approach might work:

Try cutting the long vetiver grass and bundling it into tightly wrapped sheafs, or long bundles of grass. Once you have a tight bundle of grass, maybe 10 cm in diameter, and a meter long, you can use it as a planting block.

Assuming you incorporated a little slow release fertilizer into the sheaf as you were making it, you should be able to insert vetiver slips along the side of the sheaf, water liberally and then see what happens. I bet it starts to grow. And vetiver grass sheafs are pretty durable, so these devices, if they work, should be portable and long lasting.

Give it a shot, if you get the chance. And if it works, please post an update on your blog for us all to enjoy.