As the Year Closes, Jadan Gardens Enter a Productive Yet Dormant Season in December 2018
One can feel this month, the moist and cool of the soil around our trees and plants and it seems that they are in a state of relief from hot winds and heat.
This month the mercury fell beneath 30 degrees during the day, which for most of us means that it is not necessary to get hot under the collar in any sense! One searches for the heat of the sun and the friendly flames of the fire. Sugar is suddenly more appealing, as is hot halva and ghee-soaked parathas. Yes – the winter season is here and we had some pretty chilly mornings and one or two foggy ones. Whereas in Delhi this month where the air quality has become so compromised that it seems risky to draw a new breath, here in Jadan the sky was stunningly clear and bright, and the air invited us to take huge gulps – so invitingly fresh and pranic it felt.
Our winter veggies are coming up very well in the Big Garden – large leaves, which is a sign that the soil is perfect for the plants. Turnips and daikon radishes (mooli) and European radishes were harvested, and more than 30kg of lettuce, as well as spinach and plenty of fragrant coriander leaf. The beets, spring onions and carrots should be ready for harvest by the first week of the New Year.
117kg of lemons were harvested this month, bringing the total this year to around 300kg – one quarter of what was produced in 2017, but this year we shall still be harvesting in January. There is talk of some maalis (local gardeners) coming to give the orchards a thorough going over, which includes digging and removing the mesh-like yellow roots at the base of each tree and repairing the gamlas, and some heavy pruning.
This large garden area is already carpeted with yellow neem leaves and this unique leaf-fall will continue throughout the ashram for 3 months, creating deep piles of litter.
The Shiv Bagh flowers have started to bloom slowly and there are some beautiful shades of pink to be seen.
This month, we finally made the long north to south channels opposite the workshop. Late in the month, some chrysanthemums were donated for the area and later we added 2 rows of our zinnia seedlings that have been grown from seed, so soon the area will be more colourful. Some calendula seedlings will also be transplanted there in early January.
There is still weeding to be done on the west side of the Shiv Bagh and the rose bushes need to be pruned. The golden hedge was nicely pruned and the old boundary beds/channels were repaired and cleaned of tree litter, which makes flood irrigation much more efficient. Moreover, we finally completed a long-needed clean up of all the mulch along the east side, beneath the banana row and a row of rose bushes. Now there is no more mulch in this area and garden litter such as branches that are pruned from shrubs and leaves, are either burned or carried out of the area.
There is enough composted soil to last for quite a while, which was the original aim of this 2 year action. Now the grass is tamed a little more and plants are more visible.
In short – by the end of this very busy year, some kind of status quo presided in this huge garden that lies between our residential buildings. The pathways were all weeded and cleaned and it genuinely looked maintained throughout, which does not happen too often.
The Organic Store is very well stocked for the New Year – freshly dried tulsi and moringa leaves are available, as well as curry leaves. Powdered babool pods are also available, as well as Brahmi leaf powder and powdered shataavari root.
The talab (reservoir) rainwater is a daily blessing, given that the rainfall for 2018 was very poor. Our wheat field is abundant and we have green lucerne grass for our horses and winter produce until April next year. This is a miracle and blessing of Gurudev – this secure continuity of agriculture and kitchen garden which gives life and comfort to all livings beings of Jadan Ashram. It gives inspiration and confidence to all those who reside in this area, as they see how divine love can work in a practical way that supports culture and economy and the spirit of the poor and defeated farmer and labourer.
2019 promises to be the year of the final construction phase of the Om Ashram and in January the world will be equally blessed by the Holy Kumbha Mela at Prayagraj. Let us move forward into this New Year with clean hearts and minds and pray that Gurudev’s wishes for the completion of this epic masterpiece be fulfilled.
I wish all bhaktas a restful festive season and a very very Happy and Successful New Year.
7th January 2019