Shri Jasnath Asan, Rajasthan, India
Photo © Shri Jasnath Asan, 2016
20 NOV 2016
One of my favorite people here is Ramuji Saran. As his bio on http://shrijasnathasan.org/our-team/ notes, he is ”a celebrated army veteran who has made the ashram the home of his Seva worship, Ramuji contributes dance to our nightly puja, takes care of both green yards as well as the vegetable garden. He is also responsible for serving guruji and his guests’ meals, and lovingly cares for the ashram’s animal inhabitants.”
Ramuji’s impressive vegetable garden supplies much of the fresh fruit and vegetable that we enjoy each day. Anything food served but not grown here is still local ingredients, from environmentally sustainable sources. Imagine having fresh organic vegetarian meals with all the veggies picked fresh daily, often only hours before it ends up on your plate. The incredible food will be discussed another time when I introduce you to another favorite person, Papu Sai, our amazing cook.
The garden is organic with no GMO or pesticides in sight. Instead of pesticides, our gardener mixes milkweed sap and cow urine together and lets it ferment in a large pot. Once applied, usually at the base of a plant or occasionally sprinkled on the leaves, no bug goes near it .. I were a bug I wouldn’t approach it.
The garden Ramuji cares for is large and soon to be larger. Walking through the garden in the early morning you often glimpse a pesky peacock sneaking in to sample the tender crops. The variety of vegetables and herbs is not found in your usual “garden variety” garden. He not only tends many things Americans would be familiar with; cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, American Lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, squash, mint, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, wheat grass, okra (but not prepared like any okra I’ve had in the states-its excellent), lemon tree, and American radish.
But Ramuji also cares for a few things not normally found in our North American gardens. There are a couple of coconut trees, tulsi (Indian Holy Bush – like a basil), ashwaganda (a plant used in healing), Indian eggplant (small, flavorful, and not seedy like our American eggplant), aloe (used both to eat and for skincare and healing), mooly (Indian radish - looks like a white carrot), Echinacea (marigolds – nice touch in salads), Sunflowers (both for seeds and extremely high protein sprouts), chilies either cooked while green or dried and used as a very hot spice), loki and tordu (both in the zucchini family), and a few pomegranate trees. In addition, there is a large off site orchard with many trees including 600 date palms, pomegranates, lemons, limes, apple, and much more.
If that were not enough Ramuji must also manage the garden to ensure he has seeds enough for the next crop.
Ramuji is my hero.
Along the Way
Panchla Siddha, India
Sharon K. Schafer
I paint, photograph, and speak about wild places in an act of reciprocity that is as vital to me as heartbeat or breath.
My interest in the magic and mystery of the natural world lies at the intersection of art and science.
Made possible through
the generosity of
Artists for Conservation
Generous support and inspiration provided by
Shri Jasnath Asan