Jadan organic garden reports - for May 2013
Sabji report - May 2013 - for Jadan vegetable and ornamental gardens, tree welfare and animal fodder updates.
News of the summer harvest
The temperatures soared for most of May and it was mostly over 40 degrees and at one point over 45 degrees so we watered the veggies every 4 days with our main tube well water. The torus are not performing as they did last year and the chandaliya also slowed down and so the necessity to buy vegetables was there. Fortunately this season we have taken the initiative to buy from KVK and one of our neighbours some produce that is organic thus eliminating our need for produce from Pali market. The farmer to the south of the ashram is producing very high quality and pure vegetables and irrigates from his tube well which has nice sweet water. During a visit to his farm one hot afternoon we were able to observe some growing systems that would very much benefit us. During a visit to KVK this month we were also able to purchase some beautiful tomatoes, chillies and some papayas – both green for sabji and red for fruit. Now we are regular customers.
The kerela started to produce a few gourds towards the end of the month and these were washed and sliced and dried in the sun. They will be sold as karela chips. Some cucumbers came and some are quite sweet and the bhindi is still quite good though many plants gave up the ghost this month.
The lauki that we planted at the beginning of the month opposite the workshop is surviving as are some of the cucumbers and phoot kakri however the cucumbers are very much being attacked by the red pumpkin beetle. The keyhole garden was cleared of the dead pumkin plants this month. Some of them were producing gourds but perhaps it was just too hot for them. The laukis also failed on the raised beds and so we shall wait until the monsoon before further planting on this permaculture beds. On the 27th and 28th the sabji was given sweet Pali water for a pleasant change using the one inch pipe. The water had been leaking near the old gosala and this leakage had not been discovered for a month! It was fixed around the 12th.
Shiv Bagh maintenance
We did a semi-makeover of the Shiv Bagh this month as it is possible with the one inch pipe to water as well as to prune and remove tree litter. Towards the end of the month our helper began to remove some of the deadwood along the west fence line and he also pruned back the roses. As no growth was visible on these a fortnight after pruning we removed them altogether and hope to buy some Ganganagar variety from KVK next month. During the last week of May some of the blanket flowers were removed from the east side and the rest were pruned back in the hope that they will sprout up again. All of the ones transplanted to the south side were removed as they were weak and stalky owing to the lack of sunlight on that side. So again we are left with many empty beds. The large pipe was only used twice this month for the east side and the talab water was pumped for a total of hours which included irrigation by pipe of our 12 anjeers near the eating verandah and the area opposite the workshop.
Fruit trees thriving on the sweet water
The ramphal or Australian custard apples and bananas and papayas are all happy in their home opposite the workshop. We did quite a lot of weeding in that area this month and removed most of the basil there some of which has put down seeds already. The fig trees the other side of the fence are also happy and some have produced some ripe figs as have the ones in the big field. They are sweet and delicious! The passion fruits are also surviving well and on the 28th they received some sweet water. On the 27th one of the fruits was soft enough to open and there were many seeds inside but no juice and the taste was still sour – so perhaps in a month’s time they will be ready to enjoy. We really need some decent fruits for our kitchen as the ones that we buy from the market are sure to be contaminated with heavy chemicals including DDT.
Another 20kg of good quality and large gumberries were harvested from the trees opposite the workshop this month thanks to the efforts of our new helper. On the last tree he could not manage to harvest all because they were very high up. Most of the fruit was cooked, pitted and sundried. Some of the large were pruned after harvested and some large branches sawn off. The trees were planted in 2001 and have grown very well but owing to some initially incorrect pruning some have developing more than one trunk and now some of these surplus trunks can be removed.
The animal fodders
From mid month our horses and cows began to taste our new season jowar and at the beginning of May we cut the Napier grass which is very soft and easy to cut and the cows as you can see enjoyed it very much. The lucerne grass is growing well too and our 3 beds of jowar near the shade house are still growing up and are yet to be cut. Therefore we are supplying at present all the green fodder for the 12 large animals living on campus. The grasses have needed water every 4 days this month owing to the hot winds and temperatures. We have been watering during the cool of the mornings and sometimes up until 10am if the work is divided between and big field and the Shiv Bagh and the needs of the water tankers.
Preparation for the July opening of the organic store
We hope to pleasantly surprise you this season with a few new products in our small organic store and this was a good month for preparing stock – packing and labeling and harvesting and drying in the shade. Some herbs such as tulsi have been packed into vegetable capsules in order to make consumption a little simpler. I look forward to seeing our regular Guru Poornima visitors in July and to sharing with you the updates of this summer season.
In spite of some failures, we are continuing to grow a reasonably diverse variety fodders, fruit and vegetables. Our talab water should hold out until August and of course as ever we are hoping for the best rainwater harvest as is possible. As soon as the rains start we can plant more varieties of vegetable and some corn varieties as well as chillies and some young trees grown by us over the summer and by then the lemons should be big and yellow and ready to harvest – well as big as limes get anyway as in fact they are acid limes. Summer watering of the trees went according to the usual evening and night watering schedule even though our tractor driver of the last 3 years left. I shall look forward to that first beautiful walk during the first beautiful storm of the season when the temperature suddenly and miraculously drops by several degrees and the thirsty and hot body just wished to get saturated by that pure and divine nectar which every living being in the region is anxiously waiting for – not least our trees and plants. So please prayer for an early monsoon and come in July and experience some cool and wet days with intermittent sauna-like conditions. It is very cleansing! See you then!