Sunflower Garden

by Jamuna dd

Everyone passes the beautiful sunflower garden on the way to the Palace. It is a medium sized garden with 12 raised beds which are overflowing with produce at this time of year.  Hari Nama has been gardening in this location for about 15 years.

The big project that Hari Nama and Madhavananda took on this year was to install 12 raised beds.  They obtained rough cut oak from Amish country and then filled the beds with top soil. There are currently 2 beds that will be filled this fall in preparation for next year. The size of the garden is 25×50 ft. and is enclosed with a mesh fence. Last year they did not attempt a garden after being discouraged by groundhog attacks. Luckily this year has been more successful, although one groundhog did managed to chew his way through the fence.  Madhavananda plans to improve the fence by adding chicken wire next year.

Currently they are growing 2 kinds of squash, zucchini, 3 types of tomato, cucumbers, bitter melon, watermelon, basil, hot peppers and green bell peppers. The garden is adorned with many colorful flowers such as sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds and dahlias. One problem that they have encountered is keeping the garden well watered in the heat of the summer. They have a soaker system  but do not have the water pressure needed to adequately water the garden. Madhavananda has ideas of installing some kind of gravity feed system for next year.

The raised beds have definitely been a big success and make the gardening experience much easier, they both reported, although it did take some investment.  Hopefully their example will inspire more devotees up and down the ridge to take on the rewarding project of feeding their families from the bounty of the earth.

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