Jadan organic garden reports - for October 2013
Sabji report - October 2013 - for Jadan vegetable and ornamental gardens.
Total for the month was 117kg. One lady was employed for 2 days to straighten out the channels and beds of our 2 areas which have been prepared for the winter seeds and seedlings. Lauki was not a success this season - we usually harvest at least a quintal in October and both bhindi and toru wound down this month. On the up side we started to harvest the chillies this month and the acid limes continue to ripen – 49kg collected this month. The attempt at early tomatoes was also not a success – probably the area is too damp and shady for them though a few plants have survived and are even flowering. Also the roquette planted early did not really take off. Perhaps the seeds have expired.
The October temperatures were relatively benign –between 33 and 36 degrees though the temperatures are still too high for winter veggies and it is planned to plant after Deewali this year around the 5th on the new moon. Early palak and cress planted in the Shiv Bagh on the 3rd also failed. On the 21st some coriander seeds were sown in an empty section of Shiv Bagh – this winter herb usually takes about 9 days to germinate. There were only 2 rainfalls this month – a heavy shower on the 8th and then a medium one on the 11th – not a drop since.
45kg of amlas arrived from Rani ashram during the last week of October and these were boiled and pitted by bhaktas from the group and put to dry on our eating verandah roof. We will make powder out of them like last year. The baigan plants should start producing next month.
Prior to Swamiji’s arrival on the 25th most of the corn was harvested from the ex Shiv Bagh lawn and the rest was picked on the 30th when the first part of the visiting group were given 1 day to cut back the mostly dried stalks and the grass. It was a nice and cooperative action and most people worked through the heat of the day and by dusk everything was leveled and sweet native grasses and yellow corn stalks were laid out in front of the White House to dry. They will be stored for winter fodder for our horses. As yet the corn has not been weighed but it would not be more than 50kg – better than nothing.
Throughout the month the Shiv Bagh called out for basic maintenance which included weeding the pathway and the beds as well as trimming back the golden hedge –ouch! Many small wasps have their homes inside the darker sections and boy do they pack a punch! Some Napier grass was transplanted to the north and west areas of the garden and generally the whole area is doing well with perennial stock and quite a few blanket flowers which will again look beautiful once they start to bloom. On the 24th I requested Colonel Sahib if he could supply us with 100 more golden hedge seedlings as there are still many gaps in our boundaries.
Preparing winter beds
This season there will be 2 areas for winter veggies. We prepared the 2013 summer area for those veggies and crops that do not mind saltier water namely potatoes, carrots, mustard, radish, palak, garlic, onions and lucerne grass and another smaller area has been prepared behind the central office where the guar was growing over the monsoon for tomatoes, lettuce, beetroot and silverbeet. Peas may be grown along the fence line. We had a successful winter garden in this area in 2009 and since that time some new soil has been brought there and the horses have spent a few summer nights composting the area so let us see how the soil is. The preparation of the area involved some heavy pruning of about 10 of the large neem trees in the area. We added 3 trolley loads of well composted cow manure from our stock there. No extra manure has been added to the bigger area in the big garden at the suggestion of some locals who say that enough was added to the soil last January.
Most of the clip rings on our black irrigation pipes were replaced this month – around 35 and there are still a few to go. Most of them have rusted and even disintegrated due to rust and salt decay over the last 6 years. There is presently no need to purchase new piping – I am still discovering short cuts and ways of saving time and water. We will need to be very creative in order to make the limited talab water last until next monsoon. Actually – a miracle is needed.
Basic preparations before Deewali
After the monsoon there is always a lot of overgrowth of perennials like bouganvilleas and these need to be cut back and shaped. Pruning is also necessary on many many trees especially around the Shiv Mandir and other public areas. The kitchen lawn had a makeover on the 20th and the pathway up to the Hanumanji gate was also pruned this month. (23rd)
So – all in all it was a nose to the ground kind of a month and at the end of it there remains the Deewali cleaning of the organic store and then the Deewali break and celebration and the joy of starting a new winter plantation and of beautiful and cooler days as autumn sets and the days – unfortunately – get shorter. See you in winter!