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the garden

June 27, 2012

As part of our time in India we started a market garden project. This is good because it is sustainable, as each crop grows there is extra food on the table for the poorer students without the need to start fundraising from Scotland all over again.

However the plot of land is a challenge. First the ground is so hard it is impossible to break up, even using an iron pole! After 20 minutes of hard labour in 50 degree heat, we resort to pre-soaking the ground with the hose. Fortunately this proves a little more successful and we confidently set about digging the whole plot!

However, there are no spades! Indians dig with a Mattock, which is more or less a coal scuttle with the handle mounted backwards. The handle is about a foot long, so the only choice is to bend double to move any earth. The mounds of earth begin to turn over, but I now realise that we are getting no deeper than the top three inches. Over the next hour I manage to double dig a plot of land some 5ft by 5ft! So somewhat disappointed I go for a break.

When i arrive back later that day the school boys have been in and expertly made a series of ridges and furrows. Suddenly I understand, the seeds are planted in the ridges while the furrows are watered to allow the plants to grow. India had invented a way of gardening that takes less effort and is suited to the climate.

I realise that I still have so much to learn!

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