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Hari Om to all on this last day of the year and Seasonal Greetings. There is a beautiful calm in the air these days in Jadan and the songs of new species of birds – some yellow and some blue – and the cry of eagles soaring over the Shiv Bagh.

We have abundant rain water and the fields are full of crops: wheat, oats, mustard, and sunflowers are blooming. The temperature has been unusually warm for this time of year, even in the mornings – in fact only 3 days this month were under 30 degrees celsius.

With no winter group or Vishwaguruji, we have been consoling ourselves with winter salads and evening satsangs, and some festive cooking from our ashram Matajis. There has been time and space to reflect on the year that is now behind us.

It is calving season in the new Gaushala (cow refuge) and so quite a bit of colostrum arrived in our kitchen this month, which was then steamed and sundried, then ground and packed into veggie capsules. It is an immunity booster and pure protein supplement. Winter herbs are coming up – coriander and parsley, and last week we cut back the whole of our basil bed and dried and packed the aromatic leaves full of Vitamin K.

We started to harvest our beetroots on the 30th, and also dug up some sweet potatoes this month, which is fairly labour intensive as the roots are about 3 feet under! Carrots will start in the New Year and spring onions started during the last week of December.

banana trees growing well 1200

The central part of the Shiv Bagh will be redesigned from this month until next, and channels will be made running west to east with pathways in between, as with the western boundary. The nut sedge grass is still running a bit wild, but the Bermuda grass has disappeared from this area. We picked the cotton a few times this month from this area and also from the sweet potato area, and now after drying all that remains is for the seeds to be removed and we then have another organic product – Jadan Cotton Wool Balls! They are silky soft and sweet smelling.

The root vegetable area was weeded this month too, as many heavy weeds came up – mostly a thorny kind of Chenopodium variety – and garlic weeding will be coming up next month. The oat area has developed well behind the central office and this grass was cut for the horses from the 31st. Nearby, the pods on the yellow mustard plants have also formed well. Corn plants and mogri (radish bean) have also grown up in the same area, which has been under sprinkler irrigation since October.

In our lemon orchard near the Om Ashram, channels were made with the furrow plough and – after some repairing with hoes – the whole area was flood irrigated for the first time since the saplings were planted there 9 years ago. The topsoil, which was shifted there, is sandy and so this is possible to do. Irrigation took about 3 hours compared to moving several thousands of litres of water there with the tractor and tanker, which uses diesel and a driver and helper. We would like to do the same for our upper orchard, but the soil there is hard clay and only softens after a heavy rain. The garden ladies did some undercutting of the lemon trees this month and next month the trees should be be fertilised and have their gamlas (water trench hand dug around the base of a tree) repaired.

cleaning the centre of Shiv Bagh 1200

In our field with the Napier grass for the horses, which is also an orchard for young fig trees, many many invasive Cassia saplings and monsoon shrubs were removed and now the area looks much better; but probably we shall remove the Moringa trees there, as they are no longer producing many leaves or vegetables.

Lucerne grass cutting from the new plantation opposite the workshop also commenced this month, and we have been harvesting almost daily some mooli from the borders. In the same area ajwain and fenugreek are growing nicely. Everything is tall and green and bursting with prana. No wonder our bird and insect and animals varieties are diversifying in such numbers. Jadan has become a veritable paradise oasis for thousands of species from all levels of the Lakh Chaurasi (the 8,400,000 lifeforms living on this planet). Welcome welcome to Jadan Loka!

TeejaDhapu and Parsi my garden team 1200

So though the daylight hours are shorter, the softened rays of the sun are still bright and warm and the sunflowers are smiling at us in their tall rows, and though the autumn marigolds are fading, new seedlings are growing up and the golden brown winter variety is blossoming. Colour and contrasts are everywhere to be seen, and for once the cooler earth holds the water for 10 days at a time and the soil is not dehydrated and drained of nutrients by the scorching heat of the summer.

New moon came on the last day of this year so I hope you remembered to send your wishes and sankalpas to Lord Shiva. I wish you all good things and happy gardening and sprouting for 2017 and send you the 'Gardener's Prayer':

Plant three rows of peas
Peas of mind
Peas of heart
Peas of soul

Plant four rows of squash
Squash gossip
Squash indifference
Squash selfishness
Squash grumbling

Plant four rows of lettuce
Lettuce be kind
Lettuce really love one another
Lettuce be patient
Lettuce be obedient

We also need turnips
Turnip for meetings
Turnip for prayer
Turnip to help one another

Water freely with patience
And cultivate with love
There is so much fruit in your garden
Because you reap what you sow.

To conclude, our garden we must have thyme
Thyme for God
Thyme for satsang
Thyme for sadhana
Thyme for study

All the best and warm regards from Jadan Ashram,

Puspa Devi

31st December 2016