Beginning of the salad mix on Jadan Ashram organic gardens in October
We harvested 335kg this month which is a blessing since we did not as such prepare a monsoon kheti due to the late rains. 73Kg of the total was the ridge toru. 35Kg was chakki gourd which sadly is not as good as last year and most of the vines dried up this month as with the toru varieties.
We did however collect a tigari full of seeds from the toru gourds from the summer kheti and these we will plant in March. We plan to grow them up fences in the future as they become bigger and there is less chance of worm infestation.
The lemon trees started to produce some fruit this month and 5kg was collected. There were some very nice phoot kakris near our monsoon area and so kept some of the seeds for next monsoon. They came up from seed broadcast in June. Puspa asked for the lemon trees to be irrigated this month and as soon as they were soaked the lemons stopped growing. They will now take 15 days to produce again as it is alright to give water during the flowering stage but now during the fruiting stage.
Only a few chilli plants came up from the initial planting and those seedlings that arrived in August did not survive. The eggplants on the other hand are very very good and started to flower towards the end of the month. The guar phali produced 12kg this month. The NSC seeds were not good quality but at least the ones sown in the summer area were still producing at least until the horses ate them.
On the 31st the bhindi plants in the monsoon area were pruned back. The new bhindi opposite the workshop will be ready at the beginning of November. The lauki vines are also looking very good there. 110Kg of lauki alone was collected this season from our original monsoon areas.
On the same day more of the dried chakki and lauki vines were removed from the monsoon areas exposing the fresh ond healthy vines and leaves of the Brazilian passion fruit underneath them.
NEW VEGETABLES FOR THE WINTER PERIOD
The pooja and planing for our 8 lane winter plantation that was prepared during this month took place on Sharada purnima on the 29th. It was a nice occasion as some karma yogis came at the auspicious time appointed by Swami Phulpuriji and we sat and listened to the mantras before we put in the seeds. The planting was a bit stressful because neither Pojaram or the other lady helping had much of an idea what to do with the seeds but luckliy Prakash the horsevali came to the rescue and then spent one and a half hours irrigating the beds and so by 6pm all the work was done. We have methi and palak in the 1st line, then green onions which arrived early November and then carrots, then mangold and coriander, then a whole line of beets – beets are also around the perimeter of all the other beds, a line of salad varieties, then garlic which went in on November 19th, and finally mooli – 100g of seeds which by some miracle arrived on the afternoon of the 29th by post from Udaipur along with coriander and carrot seeds. So it was a blessed beginning as the weather had really started to cool and so hopefully the biting, munching hoppers will not do too much damage before they start to disappear.
The more precious seeds such as broccoli and parsley as well as tomatoes will be sown mostly in November on the other side of the workshop fence that divides the new permaculture garden and the area towards the eating verandah.
Long beds will be made there and the sprinklers extended so that we can use rain water for irrigation and also water by can. The first of these beds was made on the 7th and in this we planted the 12 papitas grown from seed and some endive 10 days later which can be planted a little earlier than other lettuce varieties.
On the 24th some old palak seeds and dill/saunf were planted in the failed chilli seedling beds near to the poor quality guar phali plants after the ladies had dug and raked them over. The plan was to produce some early palak.
SHIV BAGH LAWN DRAMA
2 men came for work this month and Colonel Sahib made them busy for some days removing grass weeds from the lawn in the Shiv Bagh but after some time it was clear that it was too labour intensive and slow and so he decided that it would be better to put the plough through the worst parts (4th). This made removal of the weeds a lot quicker and then it was just a matter of raking over the uneven parts and running the sprinklers so that the grass got a chance to renew itself. However there were still so many weeds there and the plough had to go through the whole area at least 4 times and we really should find another kind of grass seed. We also need to solve the problem of the grass seed that continually washes into the watering system from the talab. This year we had a type of weed that spread quickly over a huge area.
LUCKY TO GET HELP
We were fortunate this month to have Pojaram and his family for the October jobs because it is usually a hard month to find help. Fortunately the sowing took place on the 29th and after this the work was managed by Prakash and Puspa with some help from some workers borrowed from Om ashram.
Therefore we had as many as 7 workers daily during some days of the month.
CLEANING MONSOON GRASSES
We managed to clean nicely some areas around our residential buildings and one of these was the area behind the office which was very overgrown. A large pile of horse dung stored behind the wood workshop was removed by JCB on the 6th and we started a simple and progressive compost pit there for the bin from the ladies building.
On the 9th and 10th 2 men cleaned up all the monsoon grasses around the valves and the electricity box inside the talab fence near the talab gate as a snake has been sighted in the area and it made it safer to go in and out while starting up the pump.
USE OF THE TALAB WATER
Although we are carefully planning our usage of the rain water from the talab, the level sank down from 5 to 4 metres and the garden team is now under pressure to justify all usage. We usually water regularly this month due to the heat of October though this time it was a little cooler owing to the good rains. However one time we flood irrigated the Shiv Bagh and from then we used the sprinklers and watering cans as for the area opposite the workshop which became beautiful and lush this month with flowers and sabji and some creepers. The water was also pumped out to fill our 200 litre drums so that we can water some seedlings by can and some young trees.
On the 25th we started a weekly action to water the Shiv Bagh beds during the winter with the new 1 inch pipe – 30 metres – which we purchased earlier this year. We need to open 6 sprinklers during the watering and so we can simultaneously soak the garden opposite the workshop, the new seedling beds and papayas and anjeers near the eating verandah and the sitaphal/custard apple seedlings and some grass in the Shiv Bagh. The task takes about an hours and requires one person to water from the front and another to hold and lift the pipe from behind. The pipe attaches to 2 outlets and therefore easily reaches all of the beds.
The advantage is that we can control which areas the water goes so that empty beds are not soaked and therefore do not produce weeds and therefore unnecessary weeds and also that less water falls onto the pathways which again then become full of Bermuda grass. This saves labour time and money and we can use this system until February when again we will need to revert to flood irrigation of the beds.
BEGINNING OF THE SALAD MIX
It was a happy day on the 5th when we began to cut the roquette for the first time. Our people wait for fresh green salad leaves from April to October and then for the ensuing 6 months we are usually able to provide some salad mix. Each cut of the 2 long lines lasts for 1 week and so we needs to wait 4-5 days for regrowth.
GETTING THE HORSE GRASS RIGHT THIS YEAR!
Last year due to pressure from the side of the gaushala we allowed the cows to graze inside our new fenced area and as a result the tall and excellent grasses that were saved as horse fodder were trampled and enjoyed by our happy cows. This year we started to cut the grasses and to make phulis which basically means tying a bunch of cut grass with another length of cut grass so that it can be lifted and carried to a storage area without falling apart. Our ladies started to cut on the 8th all along the imli line and then later behind the main tubewell. All grass had been stored in the upali gaushala in the large storeroom there. The grass was cut a little green so that we can start feeding it to our 10 horses from around Holi.
We continued to enjoy daily toru juice this month daily at 11am and in this way were able to utilise the surplus from our field. It was a good source of green food and some of us felt the alkalising benefits after the 5 week stint once we got used to the taste.
During the 2nd week of November Jadan ashram hosted a wonderful yoga camp for some academics from different areas of Rajasthan and on the 10th and we did a tour of the gardens and some karma yoga which involved cutting back the line of basil plants opposite the workshop and removing the leaves from the stems. The guests very much enjoyed the contact with nature and saw a slide show of the organic projects here and also purchased with great joy some products from our organic store. They are keen to return next year.
CLEAN UPS BEFORE THE NOVEMBER GROUP
The area from the bhakti sagar to the swastika on the other side of the Shiv Bagh fence line was pruned back on the 21st by one of the new men who were cleaning the Shiv Bagh grass. Deshi bor bushes were removed and some beleri/bouganvilleas branches and a large trolley was filled with cuttings. The work was way overdue. On the same day the bouganvilleas near the tin shed were pruned as well as some branches from the mowras.
On the 22nd we pruned the plants around the Shiv bagh and alone the fence on the east side and at the end of the month Colonel Sahib did the rest by himself.
OLD GATE – NEW OPENING
The gate that used to lead from the kitchen path to the white house to the workshop has been welded shut for the last 10 years and because now we are developing seed beds in that area until Mangilalji's gate Puspa asked permission for it to be opened and immediately Swamiji said yes and that He had also been thinking that this would be a good idea. So this month Mangilalji made his plans and we are hoping that it will be ready by the time Swamiji comes on November 3rd.
THE PLANT NURSERY AT KVK, PALI
On the 19th Puspa spent a happy day and fulfilled a long term desire to collect some small fruit trees from the local branch of C.A.Z.R.I. near Pali. She knew that some deshi fig and banana trees were there but had a very nice surprise to find a small and cheap plant nursery there and so also collected 20 papaya trees and two beautiul and ornamental cannas plants, some Indian lillies and a different variety of mint. The people running the research centre there also promised us some deshi rose cuttings and some Napier grass which they said is a very good fodder for horses. They gave us some free lye seeds which is a kind of mustard salad from NE India and this we planted in our salad line on the 29th.
It is always such an inspiration to see the work and to talk to the experts there as excellent developments are going on within their huge shade houses with the help of vermicompost and drip irrigation. They showed us some banana trees which have grown a foot each month so that now they stand 8 foot high and one was even bearing a small bunch of bananas. Their papaya plantation is also very impressive and we bought some of the fruits for a green papita sabji. However the cultivar has been manipulated. It is known as Taiwan Red and does not produce any seed in its fritt. The trees that we purchased were deshi. The fruits will be red and not orange. The manager of KVK – Deeraj Singhji showed us the tameshwari vine which is growing opposite the workship. It is huge and so now we at least know the local name for it. He also offered us other good quality seeds but they were all hybrids and so we will stick to our subsidied and deshi supplier in Udaipur.
We planted all of the bananas and papayas opposite the workshop along the mulch lines and 12 of the fig trees near the eating verandah – a good 6 metres apart. We hope to get figs by October 2013. One fig tree was planted in a vacant lot in the north section of Shiv Bagh and 7 between the rajka kheti and the new winter plantation. They need constant checking as the soil inside the bags is very hard and dried out quickly. All of the 20 fig trees have been mulched with dried grasses.
SUMMER KHETI – A LEGEND
On the 18th we put the disc plough through the summer kheti which was initially prepared in January this month for planting in the 1st week of February. It was trully a tapabhumi for us this year with many chapters of heartache, failure, exhaustion and moderate success at the end with our toru plantation. We collected a nice pile of dried gourds this month for seed saving before the plough went through and left a section of good lauki that regulary produced gourd this months even without irrigation as well as the guar phali section and some smooth toru gourds. The jowar line on the west side was also cut back this month and provided some quality fodder for our horses and cows.
A SMALL RAJKA PLANTATION
On the 23rd the area near the monsoon sabji and the summer kheti which was originally planned for the 2012 chilli plantation was ploughed. This was then levelled and easily furrowed so that we can put some old rajka/lucerne grass seed in as well as some sunflower seeds. The area is big enough for 15 large beds.
PLANS FOR THE AUTUMN ORGANIC STORE
Just a few things were purchased for the store so that we can supply some extra spices and ayurvedic tonics to our guests. In addition, 55 x 100g bags of dried basil leaves were packed., 19x 50g bags of ajwain seeds, 25x 10g bags of dried curry leaves – the first organic store product from Kailash ashram – and 13x 50g bags of fennell/saunf seeds. 56 more 250g boxes of methi seeds were also prepared and dn misri, Himalayan rock/crystal salt and some ashwagandha powder which was packed loose for tea.
We must soon start to pack up 3-4 steel boxes for the 2013 Kumbha Mela and well as to purchase some ayurvedic goods such as cough and cold tonics.
STORAGE AREA FOR GOBAR FOR TRACTOR GRINDING
Before the monsoon we brought some trolley fulls of gobar from the upali gosala and the milch bay and stored it between the chakki and the main tubewell inside the fence line. To this we have added the gobar slurry so that any time the Om workers come and empty the trays there is a fixed site for unloading. The area has a lot of stones in the soil and so is unsuited now to cultivation and there is plenty of room for the tractor to turn around in circles and grind the dried and drying dung. Later the piles can be further sifted by hand so we have an constant supply of well composted and powdery manure that can be added to the beds for the first time as we irrigate the seeds for the first time.