During July and August we had only a few guests. In July one of the permanent residents, and in August the other two, travelled to the Netherlands for 3-4 weeks. During these times we experienced some really hot days, during which moving outside was only possible before 10am and after 6pm. This created the possibility to explore the surroundings and some of the beautiful beaches with the people that were visiting the Asharum.
In the first week of September we are planning a silence retreat and for the remainder of that month and the whole month of October our three guest rooms are fully booked.
The garden of the Asharum Nijar: Back to the Roots
As summertime is slowly retreating, we are preparing for the coming planting and growing season. The vegetables garden that we started on one of the lower terraces has been moved closer to the house on a terrace that provides some more shade. We prepared the first beds where the vegetables will grow in so called sunken beds, which means the rows of vegetables are placed a little lower than the ground level. In this way the water will stay better around the plants. We also assed some more soil that is enriched with manure, so there is a more favourable growth environment. To start with, we planted cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, chards, white and red cabbage, salad and turnips.
We have the ambition to grow most of our food ourselves, given the fact we have plenty of land. Also, it feels ridiculous to buy potatoes (with pesticides) after we have successfully grown very tasty and ecological ones ourselves. So the old location of the vegetable garden is currently transformed into a field where we can grow potatoes. That piece of land has shown to be pretty tough for tomatoes and other crops that grow above ground, so we like to open up the soil, by growing other subterranean food, like carrots, beets and onions. We do most work by hand, and the removal of the tough grasses was a hard job, especially when temperatures are well above 30 degrees in the afternoon.
With the completion of the irrigation system, we are now well prepared to plant more trees and ‘green manure’. We are currently updating our list of desired trees and are looking into which leafy greens we can spread over the land. The ‘green manure’ acts as a source for compost and mulch so we can enrich the mostly depleted soil. It will also help to combat the ‘unwanted’ weeds, while we try to keep an attitude of loving-kindness and respect to everything in our perception.