Monsoon Games

 

1200px-New_Mexico_Monsoon_2011Nagpur. Still humid, muggy and sultry. The rainy season was supposed to start already. But it’s been days now. And no rains! The hushed under song of the early dawn brings in cool breezy winds. You almost smell the moisture laden atmosphere and you are still waiting. And perhaps imagine the earthy scent that is produced when rains hit the parched dry soil. Your senses are yearning for the sweet, fresh, powerfully evocative smell of the first rains. Yet they tarry and linger and the clammy days move on from morning to night with nary a drop from the heavens!!

Each morning the weather projections get broadcast everywhere. Even Facebook informs – “It’s going to rain. Take care and stay dry!!” But the past three days since June 5 when the monsoons were predicted to start their annual deliverance, are going high and dry. Insat weather imagery is also going awry. The clouds keep getting all skewed and out of kilter. The high resolution Insat images too are unable to keep track of the wayward clouds. Yet, still we wait…

Nagpur has been gearing up for heavy rains as monsoons this year are expected to be really heavy. With the rains projected to hit soon the civic administration has been attending to issues related to water logging and need for maintaining hygiene, especially in vulnerable areas. The authorities are busy scrambling to complete the sludging and de-silting works of ditches, drains and nallahs. The experiences of last couple of years have not been good. Flooding of homes in low lying areas and swamping of roads and open spaces created severe problems.

As a prelude to the heavy downpours that are expected the city has been ascertaining that garbage disposal is efficaciously carried out. With new norms of garbage collection citizens are being roped in to become accountable for cleanliness around them. This is very important especially in view of ensuing health issues and epidemics like dengue and malaria that must be overcome. Thus while rains are a natural phenomena, flooding and epidemics are certainly preventable. This is why everybody needs to pitch in to make the season safe and healthy.

So even as we wait for the rain gods to bestow their bounty, it has certainly been beneficial to have had city precincts undergo deep-cleaning and sprucing-up to face up to the anticipated monsoon onslaught. In the meantime we stay pinned with our hopes on the skymetweather.com prediction that the Monsoon 2017 will make its onset over North Maharashtra and that rains will increase gradually by June 10-12.

HERD Foundation wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable monsoon season. Here are a few tips to remember to stay healthy while weathering it out for the next few months:

  • Avoid street food.
  • Keep insect repellent handy.
  • Avoid walking about in the rain.
  • Keep umbrella, rain coat, and cap handy.
  • As far as possible eat hot food and drinks.
  • Children should not be allowed to play in the rain.
  • Dry feet immediately if they get wet.
  • Avoid colds and coughs by keeping your body dry.
  • Drink herbal teas often.

Monsoon Plans – HERD Organic Farms

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June to September, when hopefully the monsoons would be in full vigor, HERD Organic Farms will make certain activities a priority work-area for the team working on it. This is going to be important if we are to take full advantage of nature’s bountiful downpours. Along with the rest of the farming fraternity we will be welcoming the annual rainy season that makes the land lush and allows natural underground waterways to get replenished thereby raising the water levels. This is why we have drawn up an action plan to be followed and implemented for the immediate future.

Soon heavy showers will be inundating the 42 acres of land located close to the periphery of the Pench National Park. The aim this season is two-fold: one to make the land commercially more viable, and two, to make the landscape attractive and beautiful. Even though we are working with progressive farming methodologies that include drip irrigation, protective farming, and other innovative farm management techniques, Indian farming will always be dependent on the Monsoons to revive the land.

We were already working on a water management system with an eye towards the leaner months when during dry summertime water can be in critical short supply. This is why the mission earlier had been to construct a dug well, that would channelize water wherever needed, through pipe ways to distribute it for irrigating crops. Hopefully the well would be recharged and brimming for the months to come as would the natural aquifers underground making the land good for cultivation.

This crucial quarter will have us undertaking a plantation drive alongside the peripheries of the farmland and also take on avenue plantation to make the inner walkways comfortable to go about.  The plan is to plant trees and shrubs that will demarcate the boundaries of the land. So plants of Teakwood, Neem, and Gulmohar will be spaced out to mark the defining edge. Saplings of Bougainvillea, Karwanda or cranberries and plants needed for Dashparni would be planted along the boundary hedge.

Avenue plantation will make use of trees like Ashoka, Bottle-brush, and Glyricedia to make the pathways look eye-catching and attractive. Also the lakeside will be having a multitude of Bamboo varieties around it making it beautiful and useful at the same time. We will see the saplings taking root and flourishing this monsoon season and by the end of the monsoons the landscape would have changed for the better.

For farm cultivation the plan is to grow vegetables like brinjals, tomatoes and cucumbers. In time we will also start experimenting with English vegetables like red capsicum, yellow capsicum, broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Importantly this season we will also start sweet lime and orange trees plantations with assistance from Regional Citrus Center in Nagpur. We would be implanting mother-plants of these citrus species to create orchards for long term cultivation.

We look forward to this time of the year when nature assists in facilitating the growth and development of foliage, turning the entire rural side into a riot of colors in various shades of green. HERD Organic Farm too will flourish and grow under careful supervision to create a prearranged and well- thought landscape that goes hand in hand with organic farming and cultivation.  We look ahead to a propitious monsoon that will augur well for the purposes.