Jadan organic garden reports - post Monsun, Autumn and early Winter 2012
Vegetables, Trees and Ornamentals for the December Period
SALAD MIX PEAKING
The highlight of the winter season for this month has undoubtedly been the different kinds of salad leaves which were already peaking by the first week of December giving us all a daily dose of vitamins and prana and just something juicy and fresh to chew at lunchtime each day. Our Prakash from Russia/Vienna who has come for the winter/spring period is helping Puspa each morning as it takes 1 hour daily to collect and to wash 1.5kg of ingredients for our Jadan Special Salad Mix which consists of different varieties of lettuce leaves such as endive/chicory, curly green, butter and red, mustard greens, baby spinach and baby silverbeet, roquette and small beetroot plants which need to be thinned, herbs such as dill, fennel, mint, basil and coriander which all grow here during this season, the petals of hisbiscus sabdariffa and calendula plants and the flowers of Moringa oleifera, young tender daycon radishes, lablab beans, cowpeas and tulsi leaves and finally the leaves of garlic plants and some yound spring onions.
We are also able to provide the other ashrams in India with this fresh produce and this will continue until the season comes to a close around the end of March.
By the end of the month we had such a quantity of large and succulent butter and curly salad leaves that it was no longer necessary to put so many things into the mix – the leaves are enough by themselves and herbs were then cut and provided separately. It is the blessing of the sweet water in our main tube well that has made this possible and we look forward to daily lettuce leaves until the hot season in April.
REMAKEOVER OF OUR LEMON GAMLAS
In spite of the fact that our monsoon ladies cleared the weeds around the lemons trees and repaired the trenches around them, on the 8th we began again with this long and drawn out task as Junjar -Singh-ji told us that earth should be packed around the trunks of each tree and then the trench circles or gamlas as we call them should be much bigger so that the water does not go so close to the tree during flooding from the tanker. The tiny roots around the trees ought also to be removed. All these measures will ensure us a good harvest when the fruits come again in spring.
We continued to collect some nice big and yellow acid limes this month and have been assured us that trees of this maturity are capable of producing 50kg during one season. We have 140 trees so this is good news and a possible source of income for the ashram in the future. The work was completed in 15 days. One lady cut the lower branches that obstructed the digging work ahead of the pick and kodala work and by the end of the programme the trees looked stunning and the last task was to give a tigari of old and powdered gobar to each tree.
THE BEGINNING OF THE TOMATO PLANTATION
On the 3rd we powdered some gobar near the workshop in order to have enough to throw on to the new tomato beds after transplanting. On the 5th the beds were prepared and soaked so that 3 days later the seedlings could be transplanted. On the 8th more than 300 plants were shifted from the nearby long beds. We set up 2 sprinklers in the area a few days later as the weather was getting increasingly cooler and so flood irrigation was no longer necessary. By the end of the month the plants were bigger and most had survived except for some that were chewed by the local squirrels! On the 10th the area was flooded using the big pipe and then we used the sprinklers in the area another 6 times this month.
Owing to the fact that we still have many more tomato plants in our seedling preparation area, we decided to shift another 100 plants to our aloe vera line in the main garden on the 29th which had previously been nicely cleaned, fertilized and flooded. The plants were then watered by can with sweet water. We will see how far they develop this year using the main tube well water which was so salty last year that it completely stunted the growth of our tomatoes in the area.
THE SEEDLING AREA
On the 1st the ladies dug over our seedling area near Mangilalji’s gate – on the same day they completed the digging of the garlic line and started the green onions. Mid-month we transplanted some of the endive seedlings to an adjacent bed and put in some coriander seeds along with some of them. The oregano failed and so the space was used for a new line of parsley.
On the 3rd more than 400 of our cauliflower seedlings were transplanted to some empty lines opposite the workshop where the monsoon lauki and bhindi had been. The area had been nicely raked and fertilized by the ladies. At the end of the month we dug them over using a copper hoe which Swamiji very lovingly presented to Puspa for her Christmas and Birthday gift during His 5 day visit to Jadan after Christmas (26th-31st) It is designed according to the philosophy and research done by an Austrian forest ranger and scientist called Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958) who discovered that by using copper tools for cultivating the earth one could enable the soil and the plants to be healthier.
We harvested 399kg of produce this month and a variety of over 20 leaves and herbs. We used the cauliflower leaves that were not transplanted and quite large for the evening kitchdis and so these were transformed into a delicious winter supper!
We have overdone the mooli this year after the conservative 29kg of 2011 but the locals are happy about it and bought most of the 145kg that we pulled up this month. We consumed some roots daily with our salad mix at lunch and even had one sabji on New Year’s Day which was quite tasty and which we will continue to have once weekly during the cool time.
We also sold some mooli at the Hanuman Gate and to Satish-ji’s workers and hopefully most of the rest will be cleared on the 13th which is the day before Makar Sankranti after which the locals tend not to eat daycon radish as it is believed then to be too heating for the body. We will save a few for Swamiji for when and if He returns to Jadan after the 2012 Kumbh Mela.
60kg of palak was cut this month and we enjoyed a few palak paneer dishes and also sold some to the workers. The palak needed some time to grow back towards the end of the month and so we enjoyed our silver beet which has more body than the local spinach. 26kg was cut this month.
DEVELOPING BROCCOLI CONSCIOUSNESS
On the 8th our broccoli seedlings were transplanted to the winter garden into 2 beds where the coriander did not develop much. They were initially watered by can and then flooded twice in total this month. They appear to be growing more slowly than the transplants that Jayadeviji brought from Kailash last year but they are healthy and there are about 100 plants.
THE NEEM OIL PROJECT
On the 3rd the mold was cleaned from this year’s neem seeds which had been rotting on drying beds in the kitchen underground. We took last year’s and this years – around 400kg – to Sumerpur on the 19th and arranged with an old bhakta of Guruji’s to get them pressed. Puspa went there with one of our drivers in the pick- up truck and we visited one large supplier of neem oil who showed us his machines and stock pile of seeds. We may be able to purchase a simple oil press from this area. We purchased 50kg of neem khad – the material that comes out of one end of the machine as the seeds are pressed. We used this on our lemon trees – about 200g per tree- as well as on our 8 remaining mulberries and our 20 anjeers. It is said to be a good preventative against termites.
W e also purchased 12kg of neem oil which will be used for our biospray and supplied to those who have skin problems. It makes an excellent hand cream as it becomes viscous during the winter months. Janaki told me that it is also good against itchy skin problems such as ringworm and scabies and for nits – when rubbed into the scalp - a cooling tonic for the head.
To date we have not received the oil from our own seeds which will probably not amount more than 5kg but it is sure to come with the bhakta’s younger brother – Jayantilal – who will soon visit our ashram as he is doing some work for the Om ashram in his carpentry workshop.
BHINDI OUT AND OATS IN
The oats that we sowed in November had germinated by the beginning of the month which was a nice surprise and so we removed all the old and diseased bhindi stalks from the monsoon season and the plough came through and a few days later the ladies prepared 5 large beds there and we threw in the rest of the seed which by the smell of it was well past it’s use by date. It was all lush and green by the end of the month and about 1 foot high and so we were able to cultivate the whole area and it all looks very attractive with the not yet blooming sunflower plants and the spring onions, happy looking vegetables and the alfalfa. All thanks to the wonderful sweet water tube well that Maha Lakshmi has become since August.
GREAT SUPPORT FROM VILLAGE LADIES
We presently have a team of 5 ladies who work from 8am to 5.30pm daily and who come and leave with our pick-up vehicle. They have worked very hard this month and were able to help with irrigation and the daily harvest as well as caring for the small trees and making new gamlas for the lemon trees. Some of them are even doing some light pruning here and there.
GENERAL CLEAN UP JOBS – TYPICAL FOR THE WINTER SEASON
On the 28th and 29th we had one of our winter makeover programmes near the washing line to the west of the White House residential building and all the grass was cut back and sent to the gosala. Some trees were pruned, thorn bushes removed and 3 trees had new gamlas dug around them and gobar and water added. A pomegranate tree there had died and around the tank it had become very wild and so it was good to clean it. The effort provided 2 full trolleys of dried grasses for our cows in the new gosala and a little dead wood for our fires. To look at now it is a bit like a park area – a warm place sheltered from the cold winter winds and to sit and read during the winter months.
THE ORGANIC STORE PACKED OFF TO ALLAHABAD!
On the 16th, 4 of our 9 steel boxes in the kitchen underground that we use for seed and organic stock storage were packed up with goods for the organic and ayurvedic supply store at the 2012 Allahabad Kumbh Mela. We packed some fresh haldi – 25kg – and most of the stock that we have produced this year. The boxes were packed with the rest of the supplies for the Kumbh into a huge truck on the 25th.
TOTAL SABJI FOR DECEMBER 2012 – 399KG
TOTAL SABJI 2012 – 2805KG
In service of Gurudev
Shree Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji ki Jay!