Category Archives: Projects

04Jun/12

Vetiver Grass

Example-of-the-soil-wash-that-Vetiver-prevents 512x384Here is a good example of the soil wash that Vetiver grass is designed to prevent.
This photo was taken (May 23, 2012) at a farm in Kajulu two days after a very heavy
downfall. The farmer has recently planted a Vetiver nursery so that he will have grass
to protect his soil in the future. The Vetiver nursery should have spread to produce enough
slips for planting a hedge across the land by the beginning of the short rains in September.

 

 

 

Vetiver-grass-holding-back-soil384x512

Vetiver Grass holds back soil. This photo is taken in the REAP garden in Kajulu. In the last 18 months
this hedge has been collecting soil behind it which otherwise would be lost to the streams and ultimately
the lake. The land on the right is now about 2 feet higher than that on the left!

 







 

 

Using VetiverUsing-Vetiver-grass-round-a-fish-pond 512x384 grass round a fish pond. The brother of Pastor Simon, who is assisting us in promoting
Vetiver planting in Kajulu, is active in promoting fish ponds in the area. He has included
planting vetiver to reinforce the ponds into his own teaching.

14May/12

Planting Medicinal Plants

REAP is focusing on just a few well proven medicinal plants that can be used locally for treatment of common ailments.

These plants can be divided into three groups

  1. Large trees that should be planted somewhere in the compound
  2. Plants that can be planted in a specific medicinal garden
  3. Plants that are either growing wild or are a part of the normal farm environment

Trees.

The following four trees are recommended:

  1. Neem
  2. Guava  (also Mango and Avocado)
  3. Frangipani
  4. Moringa stenopetala

Medicinal garden

The following plants are recommended for a basic medicinal garden

  1. Moringa oleifera
  2. Pawpaw
  3. Passion Fruit (can be planted to climb in hedges)
  4. Lemon grass
  5. Ringworm Bush – Cassia alata
  6. Aloe Vera
  7. Artemesia
  8. Roselle
  9. Garlic
  10. Ginger

Uses

REAP is seeking to encourage basic uses that are not too complicated.  The following table shows the main uses of these plants.

Medicinal Plant Main Use Secondary Uses Other Factors
Neem Lice, Scabies, Athlete’s Foot, Skin problems Fever, tooth brush Insecticide
Moringa Dietary supplement, Anaemia Diarrhoea, diabetes, skin infections Vegetable, Water purification,
Guava Diarrhoea, Scurvy (Vitamin C deficiency) Wounds Fruit
Frangipani Herpes (Opportunistic infection of AIDS) Ornamental
Pawpaw Wounds, intestinal worms, indigestion Amoeba, Asthma Meat tenderiser, Fruit
Lemon Grass Fever, bronchitis, Bad breath Tea
Ringworm Bush – Cassia alata Ringworm, Athlete’s Foot and other fungal infections Constipation
Aloe Vera Burns, Wounds, Conjunctivitis, Laxative, Intestinal worms
Artemesia Malaria Eye infections,
Passion Fruit Asthma, Sleeplessness Anaemia, Nervousness Fruit
Roselle Urinary infections (Diuretic), High Blood pressure Sleeplessness Herbal Tea
Garlic Boils, coughs, cold, fungal infections, Blood pressure, diabetes, amoeba Flavour
Ginger Nausea (incl travel sickness), cough medicine Rheumatism oil Flavour
Asthma weed

(Euphorbia hirta),

Amoeba dysentery.  Ashtma A tea made with pawpaw, mango and guava leaves

As a start the following species are recommended for planting, to be added to later:

 Neem

Neem is a relatively large tree.  It is normally started in a nursery from seeds.  The seeds need to be fresh as they do not maintain viability long.  The tree is not conducive with crops so is perhaps best planted as a shade tree near the home

Guava

Guava is a familiar tree that can either be grown separately or in a hedge.

Frangipani

Frangipani is a medium size tree with attractive flowers.  It is best grown where it can give shade and beauty to the compound.

 Moringa

The are two types of Moringa.  Moringa oleifera  is the smaller one from Asia and Moringa stenopetala is larger native to Africa.  Both have the same basic uses.  They are planted from seed, though cuttings can also be taken from mature trees.   Moringa oleifera is a small tree best grown as a hedge as it is also good to prune it so that it does not grow too tall

Cassia alata

This is a small shrub that has attractive yellow flowers.  The leaves are very effective for treating fungal infections, and especially Ringworm

Pawpaw

Already abundant locally.  Plant as for fruit.  Papaine already known in Gambogi area.  Pawpaw should be included in a medicinal garden and can be planted around the edge or implanted with the other plants.

Passion Fruit (can be planted to climb in hedges)

Passion fruit are already abundant locally.  Plant some in the hedge

 Lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus)

Grows as a clump grass.  Planted as slips.  A bunch is separated and a row of grass can be planted.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera branches directly from the base.  It does not have a tall stem like Aloe ferox and Aloe arborescens.  The plant sends out slips from the side.  These have small roots and can be carefully dug out and planted as a separate plant.  Plant a row.

Artemesia (Artemesia annua)

Artemesia annua grows into a bushy plant.  They can be grown with difficulty from seed, but are easily planted from cuttings when already established.  Cuttings are sometimes available from REAP.  Once plants are established care for them and take cuttings.  Plant cuttings in a seedbed or bowl.  Transplant when the roots are well established.  Plant a row with plants about 2 feet (70 cm) apart in the row.

Roselle

Roselle is a short lived herb that is grown from seed.  Seeds are available from REAP.  Plant in an area about 50-70 cm apart.

Garlic

Garlic is a bulb that has many segments (cloves).  Plant separate cloves 15 cm apart in rows 30 cm apart.

Ginger

The part of ginger that is eaten is the rhizome.  It is planted from sprouted pieces of rhizome.

Euphorbia hirta (Asthma weed)

This grows wild and favours places like short grass and alongside roads and paths.  It is normally collected from the wild.

Other possible species for planting include Warburgia, Tephrosia diversifolia, Prunus Africana, and Mondia whitei, Other medicinal plants are probably readily available and may not need to be planted.  These include Eucalyptus, Chilli pepper, Asthma weed (Euphorbia hirta), pumpkin.

08Jul/10

The REAP plot in Kajulu near Kisumu

Photo of REAP Plot

On 15 June 2010 REAP completed the purchase of a plot of land in Kajulu, just outside Kisumu in western Kenya. The final payment was made and the title deed is in the name of REAP. The land will be used as a place where we can give practical teaching, showing practically many aspects of what we teach, as well as developing new ideas and as a source of planting materials.
The plot extends from just left of the big tree – the border is the sugar cane which is in the next plot – to the line that goes from the building on the right just in front of the bananas.

The back boundary is a path/dirt road that passes behind the house on the right and in front of the hedge in front of the house in the middle. The front boundary is a stream which passes just beyond the maize field in the foreground.

This land is sloping so has proved ideal for demonstrating the use of vetiver grass on the contours. It has a stream along the bottom and a pool just beside the tree so has good water for agricultural use. We have dug a fish pond which is stocked with Tilapia fish, but otherwise we are focusing on plants. It was cleared land when we took it over but we have converted it with hedges and other trees to become a very different sustainable piece of land.

The Vetiver hedges across the land have meant that the soil is protected from erosion. In the first 18 months since the hedges were planted up to 2 feet of soil has been caught by the hedges leading to terraces developing. Most of the plants we encourage and the ideas we teach have been incorporated into the farm, and we have established seed trees and planting material so that visitors can go home with not only new ideas but relevant planting materials.