April Jadan Garden 2015 - Summer Report
Hari Om all and welcome to another update about the goings on in our fields and gardens. The month began spectacular with rains and storms that went on from the 3rd to the 11th. It could not have been better timing for our young sorghum wheat seedlings which are now standing proudly between our residential buildings at half a metre tall.
After some more replanting nearly all of our vegetable seedlings are looking good and we expect a good harvest now for May and June and bhindi (okra or lady’s fingers) started to appear on the plants mid month.
After the rains the temperature began to climb and from the 20th we had many days over 40 degrees and the hellishly hot westerly “loo” also started which meant that some evenings around 6pm it was still 39 degrees celsius! In such circumstances one can only safely work outside from sunrise to 11am and from 6pm until dusk and beyond when irrigation is necessary. We continued with laborious weeding programmes this month – especially in our vegetable beds – and managed to find some quicker methods for removing the weeds in the new channels in the Shiv Bagh. The ajwain seeds were harvested in the big garden and after cleaning there should be about 10kg this year. Oat seeds have also been saved and flaxseed from one winter bed was also cleaned.
The Strilky marigold plants (originally Indian!) peaked during the first part of the month and the flowers were huge and stunning- orange and different shades of yellow- but now after the heat they have faded to an ashen colour and many are going to seed. However we had prepared new seedlings in March and so we transplanted these to the workshop garden and also some Hibiscus sabdariffa seedlings which will bloom later in the year.
The papaya production continues and there is still much to harvest and we saved many seeds which were sun dried and then sown in one bed to be later transplanted in August. The papaya seedlings in the new channels have grown really well and so perhaps they will be producing fruit by next March. Overall there is a wonderful feeling of abundance and of being in production. Even last year’s karela vines planted from seed in July have started to produce their bitter gourds and last year’s chillies are also going well as is the mangold (Swiss chard) from the winter field. The spring tomato plants survived just beyond the rains and then we removed all of the plants and re-cultivated the areas for summer vegetables. There were some nice cherry tomatoes this year which Swamiji enjoyed in His salads in March.
Many herbs were cut and dried this month and the garlic was also dried and stored away. We should finally start Moringa oleifera leaf powder production this month from the trees that we planted along the west boundary of the Shiv Bagh in monsoon 2012. Sangri and kair production was underway this month too and the karma yogis went out daily to collect these desert vegetables. Gunda (Cordia myxa) is also just around the corner. Our mowra trees near the Shiv Mandir are dropping more of their yellow sweet flowers that ever before and most of our trees have grown beautiful new and shiny leaves this month- all in all Jadan nature is shining although many birds and bees are beginning to search more intensively for water. Without our rainwater harvesting project none of this would be possible as most of these plants require sweet water. Jadan is biodiversifying more and more each year and now for the monsoon period I am dreaming of a small banana plantation and perhaps even some mossami (sweet Indian orange used for juice) trees and beyond that dates and grapes and maybe an olive plantation one day!.....
Please send us cool thoughts for May and June – Indian summers have a special charm so long as one takes one day at a time and many visitors are very surprised to observe how much food can be produced in such a hot climate.
“Oh! The Beautiful Desert with your ocean of sand and scorching sun.
The clouds search for a drop of water from the tears of the Chatak bird’s eyes
Where the leafless tress wish to get shadow of a man who himself is running to get
Their shadow from the scorching heat… where dry rivers hope to get water even from the
Perspiration of the sweating man. Oh! The river Ganges.
You are far away, too far away to flow in the desert."
Jadan Ashram April 2015