Written by: June Guo, CRHP volunteer

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Phase 1 of CRHP’s demonstration kitchen gardens is underway! This means weeds have been uprooted, fire ant wars have been fought, and seedlings have sprouted. Interns and volunteers have been waking up early in the morning to beat the Jamkhed heat, and often times, Beyonce can be heard blasting at six in the morning.

Here on the CRHP campus, we are working with an area that is 40’x 30’. It provides ample space for vegetables, lime trees and neem trees, an aquaponics system, and a medicinal garden. There have also been talks about including a petting zoo with bunnies, sheep, and goats (update to come). Since this is the inaugural year of the garden, we are experimenting with various plant varieties to see which ones will grow the best. Right now, we have spinach, chili, tomato, bean, lentil, and eggplant seedlings. Saved seeds collected from Village Health Workers will be compared with seeds available for sale in the local Jamkhed market. Below is a rough draft of our demonstration garden made with the Kitchen Gardeners International garden planner.

Preview of “Plan- 2015- Sample”

Once underway, this kitchen garden will help CRHP demonstrate cost-effective and water-efficient ways to grow vegetables, herbs, medicinal plants, and various trees in small areas of land. In planning this garden, we are using budget and eco-friendly materials and methods to ensure that the ideas are feasible for villagers around the Jamkhed area. We will be using raised beds: allowing proper drainage and slightly cooler temperatures for our plants and recycled clothes, cotton, and plastics, as filler materials to help our soil retain water. We will also be using recycled tires and oil cans as planters. We are hoping that this demonstration garden, will have the ability to reach a wide audience of domestic and local visitors who come to CRHP for the hospital or to participate in various CRHP programs. We also hope to integrate this demonstration garden into current CRHP programs such as the Adolescent Girls and Adolescent Boys Programs in their environment and nutrition units.

Below are two poems inspired by gardening on CRHP’s campus. Please enjoy.

To our worthy opponents, an Ode

Nothing grows quite as well as weeds,
Unwanted, wild, and free.
Armed with a shovel and a hand full of seeds,
Land conquerors we hoped to be.

Anticipating our destructive plan,
They called on their friends the fireants.
They bit, we screamed, and away we ran.
Only to return with vengeance and long pants.

Mourning for their fallen comrades,
Their roots grew deeper into the soil.
But we the conquerors were also mad,
Pulling and digging with ceaseless toil.

One day the long awaited rains came,
And the weeds were momentarily spared,
But the tractor we hired changed the game,
Ravaging through the land, it dared.

Uprooted, mangled and defeated,
The weeds succumbed to their fiery fates,
But we knew this conquest was uncompleted,
Thus we await the return of our worthy mates.

Waking Up, a Haiku

Six a.m. sunrise
Over dusty, muddy fields
Is it breakfast yet?

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