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Daily Garden Ponderings at Amma Center New Mexico
New Mexico forest
Uncompromising New Mexico forest
Every day is something new. Thanks to Amma’s grace, I’ve had a garden in almost every place I’ve lived. Each one presented a different challenge of climate, soil and pests. Similar but different. Even in Philadelphia I had a plot with others salvaged from a vacant lot.

It is a joy and a privilege to live in our little oasis at 7600 feet here among the Juniper and Pinon forests of the dry, New Mexico high desert. Below, I’ve shared some of my daily garden ponderings while gardening at Amma Center New Mexico. Enjoy!

Day 1

I think about other people like me all around the world growing food. I like to describe backyard gardening as somewhere on a continuum between grocery shopping and foraging for food in the wild.

Unlike grocery shopping, we have to go outside, and then gather, clean, and preserve food that is growing in the garden and orchard. But unlike hunting and gathering, we have to tend the garden; watering, sheltering it from pests, weeding, adding nutrients to the soil, etc. At least with a garden, your food is nearby, but the work is labor intensive.

The garden at Amma Center of New Mexico
The garden at Amma Center of New Mexico

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Day 2

It’s spring and as a result of leaving things to go to seed there are thousands of seeds in the soil. It’s amazing how many sprout up willy-nilly; parsley chamomile, orach ( red spinach), dill, bee plant, red kale, sunflowers, marigolds, calendula, cosmos, etc.

In the compost pile we have squash and potatoes growing!

Raised bed/hoop garden
Raised bed/hoop garden

Day 3

Amma says “Life is complete when humanity and Nature move in conjoined harmony, rhythm and melody flowing synchronously, creating glorious music.

Creating an organic garden is a magical process that requires the gardener and Nature to work in harmony. The result is a natural ecosystem that ideally benefits nature and humans alike.

Take this as a sign

Day 4

Oh no! Somebody is eating our lettuce! Maybe it’s a squirrel or a rabbit but the live trap was empty for a week. Then I found the little black beetles that I remembered from last year.

But really? Can they do that much damage? It’s a mystery and a challenge.

Day 5

Early this morning three deer came by looking longingly at the lettuce, thankfully guarded by the deer fence. They also love the roses in the front garden - eating the tips and drinking from the fountain.

Thankfully there are now fly catchers taking care of the insects.

Volunteer wildflowers
Volunteer wildflowers

Day 6

Weeding is like a meditation. My mind wanders to my mother who taught me how to garden. I’ve had homegrown veggies all my life.

Here at the ashram, I’m amazed at the diversity of plants! We have many edible and medicinal weeds along with the noxious ones: purslane, lambs quarters, mallow, mullein, and many unidentified wildflowers in the orchard.

I think, "Well...in the case that there is an environmental disaster at, least we can eat the weeds!"

Anaswara - Santa Fe, New Mexico

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