Thiehel Sebe is a village not too far from Goudoude where I found euphorbia being used for live fencing. Amadou had told me about this village and we took a ride down into the Ferlo to discover what I consider to be a gold mine. X marks the spot. We met some folks who gave us the go ahead to take all the cuttings we want. Cha-ching, cha-ching. Next month when I start my tourney of trainings for the communities I surveyed, I will come here to this source to get cuttings to offer farmers throughout Matam.
All of the cuttings I give to farmers throughout the region will share the same origin. When you propagate using vegetative cuttings, you are essentially replicating the mother plant. The new plants that flourish are genetically identical to the original plant. This can be a great thing if you are looking to create an army a clones. But I’m not trying to take over the world. Or am I? Environmentalists like myself tend to value genetic diversity in any given population of a species. But for my purposes, giving farmers a simple, easy way to protect their crops naturally and increase their food security, teaching euphorbia propagation through cuttings will be just fine.
What is great about the euphorbia at Thiehel is that the branches are straight and will make excellent cuttings. Sometimes, you stumble across euphorbia plants whose branches are a gnarled, tangly mess and those are more difficult to work with as well as to obtain cuttings from.
This is part of the remains of an old euphorbia live fence. A glaring issue with this fence is that the cuttings were planted too far apart, leaving tremendous space for livestock to pass through into the field. Although one cutting will eventually grow into a wider euphorbia plant, you want the original cuttings to be about a hand’s width apart because they’ll take some time to get wide. You want to close the animals out after your first or second season so you can reduce the need to construct dead fence as early as possible.
This is the team of trouble makers I brought from my village to come help me collect cuttings. They were champs and did all the work. I just “directed,” if you will. Of course we had to pose with the machete.
Our ride. #villagelife. My brother named his horse after me, so now we have a horse named “Bear.” It happens.