As part of our commitment to ecological living and permaculture techniques, we planted some of this plant, called Vetiver on the back manzana of the property. There isn’t really very much there right now as we had a tree get hit by lightning and then a little grove of lime trees bit it…so it was looking a bit empty.
We did a row of vetiver across this back area to act as a soil stabilizer and to create a natural barrier for some pineapple that we plan to plant this coming rainy season. If you read the Wikipedia entry, it tells you all about how it is used in an ecological manner. It also is used in perfumes, oddly enough. Still, the area is still looking very empty.
Well, we know that nature abhors a vacuum, so after a couple of years we have some volunteer madero negro (Gliricidia sepium) growing in the area now. This tree is native to Nicaragua and has the great advantage of being a sort of “first invader” type of a tree, as you can see if you come to visit the farm. An interesting feature of this tree is that it is a leguminous nitrogen-fixer aka “green manure” so that it builds up the soil.
At Farmstay El Porton Verde we are using it as a form of alley farming, protein bank, green manure , support, shade, honey, rodenticide, medicinal, and firewood.
One aspect of this tree is that one of its nicknames is Nicaraguan cocoa shade. We have a few cacao planted in other parts of the farm that are more shady, and they are doing really well. This is what makes chocolate! And like many of our trees and vegetables, it is native to Central America and southern Mexico. So it looks like we will have some new spots to plant more cacao.