Our Organic Garden

Thosamling’s fruit and vegetable garden is 100% organic. We make good use of all of our fruits, including oranges, apples, guavas, peaches, litchi, strawberries, gooseberries, loquat (Japanese plum), lemons, bananas, local figs, mangos, papayas, blackberries, raspberries, small plums, kiwi, and grapes. From delicious jams and tarts to offerings for pujas and community events, we are quite fruit-full year round!

It is always a struggle to find out what will grow well in which season, but after a few years the organic garden is highly successful. Vegetables like brussels sprouts, snow peas, fennel, endive, radish, celery, little gherkins and various types of lettuce were experiments that worked very well. Skilled volunteers assist us with their know-how, and have trained our staff and established an organic seed-bank.

Today, Thosamling sources about 30% of its daily fruit and vegetable needs for residents and bakery directly from its own organic garden.

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Ling

Organic Gardens at Thosamling: Feeding Our Community is a Labor of Love

There are several gardens here at the nunnery, that are in various stages of cultivation, planting, and building. We are primarily using permaculture to attempt to get the most out of soil and moisture retention during a prolonged Drought that has settled in. The growing season is relatively short here in Sidhpur, from about March to the end of June, depending on when the monsoon season starts, this means about 3.5 to 4 months of growing.

This winter was much milder than usual and spring came in early which had a bit of an adverse effect on our crops. We grow a variety: beans, peas, chard, kale, endive, lettuce, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. These plants are all coldweather lovers, meaning if the air and ground temperature stay pretty cool, it is fine by them. However, once the warm weather really sets in, these conditions push the plants to start ripening early or prematurely. This is not good news for the gardeners! We harvested and consumed most of our garden before the heat of May arrived, 102°F, or 39°C has been the average daily temperature over the past weeks. And yes, it is or can be, as brutal as it sounds to work in the garden, weeding, digging canals, pruning trees, building fences and harvesting in this kind of heat.

We also grow strawberries, herbs, such as dill, and fields of onions. Later this summer we hope to have raspberries. Venerable Sangmo has a vision to help make the nunnery as completely self sufficient in its food production as possible, but these conditions are making it very challenging. We had an underproduction of all of our crops this year. There was also a bit of a nasty rodent who ate through one strawberry patch, just sampling each berry Leaving behind a long row of teeth marks!

Nevertheless, Sangmo is relentless in her determination to help the nunnery grow as much of its own food as possible. With the help from two wonderful French volunteers Vivian and Pierre who came to Thosamling through WILLING WORKERS ON ORGANIC FARMS (WOOF), there are several new permaculture beds, “strawberry ling” and other wonderful flower beds that have been established. Before monsoon sets in, we will plant basil, pumpkins, squash and rhubarb.

This season we saved over 400 pea and bean seeds for use next year and are currently harvesting dill seeds, trying to rescue the seeds from the caterpillars who love to feast on dill! We are planning a new kitchen herb garden right outside the dining hall, which is much more convenient for the cooks rather than walking all the way down to the gardens, where the herbs currently grow. This season there are many volunteers working in Thosamling’s gardens to make them thrive.
A big heartfelt thank you for all the services you provide here.

 

Thosamling Nunnery, Institute and Retreat Center.