I started gardening when I was 10, so it feels entirely natural to me. We believe in reincarnation here at the Krishna Eco Farm, and I feel that I was a gardener in a previous life.
I have been on the farm since 1989, having first been to a Krishna farm in Watford in 1981. Back then, I was living in a squat and hanging around the West End of London, drinking and getting into trouble. But the Krishna way of life gave me a new goal, rather than always thinking about where I could get my next fix from.
I live right next to the farm in Lesmahagow. We’re on a long, winding hillside. We’ve converted the old farmhouse at the top of the hill into a function hall. Farther down the hill, there are two ashrams, one for the men and the other for the women. We have a walled garden and a herb garden, and some lawns for recreation. Four greenhouses sit on the side of the hill, and there’s also an orchard. The hill carries on into the village, where the farm owns a handful of houses.
Quite often I’m up at 2am, when the world is peaceful, and I listen to some meditation music to make me feel good. At about 5am, I go to the temple within the farm to do some chanting; it’s how I get ready to work on the garden in a loving mood. Then, at 9am, I start to gather the volunteers who work on the farm for six hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation. In the summer, we have meals in the meditation garden and play music there.
There are usually half a dozen volunteers, and I ask them each to work on different jobs. We plant and pick flowers in the greenhouse, plant tomatoes, pick soft fruit, weed, dig up the potatoes and harvest the spinach.
My favourite flowers are the gladioli: they are very tall and come in a whole range of different colours. We use them in the temple to make opulent displays.
My favourite spot
I love sitting in the greenhouse when the flowers are out, and playing them music – they actually grow towards the source of the music. I see plants as living beings with souls, so I like to create a loving atmosphere for them and the volunteers. We grow French beans and peppers in the greenhouse: it’s the place where everything starts. I love spending time here, cultivating my plants.
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