King Of The Ridge

by Navina- Shyam das

Age of Garden: 20 years

Size of Garden: 100 feet by 100 feet

Food-bearing Crops: Apples, Beets, Bell peppers, Blueberries, Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, Carrots, Cherries, Chili peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Dudi squash, Grapes, Green beans, Karela, Lettuce, Methi, Neem, Okra, Papadi beans, Patra, Pawpaws, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Radish, Raspberries, Snow squash, Spinach, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Turiya squash.

Cultivator of the largest and oldest garden around, Rupanuga is happy to see that many of his neighbors have also taken up working the soil.  But, it’s tough squeezing the care of such a large plot into a schedule packed with temple service and the running of a gift store.  Still, his garden has grown a little bit every year, rather than shrinking.  And even though he has been doing it for so long, the wonder of Krishna’s creation still amazes him.  So much bounty just popping into existence around him.  “It’s a miracle.  It’s like you just did something and suddenly something comes out.”

Of course, sometimes the bounty is more than he can handle.  Many of the crops tend to come in at the same time, and he and Vani have many other duties to attend to.  So, even harvesting everything is sometimes not possible, what to speak of doing something with it.  And insects, well, they can have their fill of cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants, if it comes to that.  Unfortunately, help is not always to be found.  The children don’t have a strong taste for gardening, and even the dog became lazy about chasing the deer away until he finally wandered off entirely last Thanksgiving.  Now an electric fence does the job of protection.  (Too bad it doesn’t have any hands to help with the harvest!)

Ultimately, however, there’s nothing like home-grown, and that makes it all worthwhile.  “Eating from the garden is a good feeling.  There’s no one in between: no market, no buying, no fear of contamination.  It’s like it’s free.”  So he doesn’t let the work involved get him down, and, undaunted, he looks forward to another year of miracles.

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