Sujata and Anurag Goel | Botanist and Molecular Biologist
Madikeri, Karnataka, India | January 2008
‘Our plantation gives us life and life lessons’ ..... more words below images
Mojo Plantation is situated in the Western Ghats, Karnataka, Southern India.
The plantation comprises 25 acres of wilderness spanning valleys and hills at around 1100 metres above sea level. Beneath the rainforest canopy we grow spice and coffee plants. This is an area of high rainfall with 5 metres annually, the soil is acidic and loamy. We have been growing and living here for 18 years.
Nature is our inspiration and our plantation has been created by the forest – with a little bit of help. We garden with all living inmates, two legged and four leggeds! We love everything in our garden.
We grow cardamom, oranges, coffee, vanilla, black pepper, pineapple, tea, lots of stuff. The things that struggle to grow are annuals and everything that doesn’t like rain.
We have ten cattle with two calves, goats, turkeys, geese and dogs.
We have no ‘pests’, ecological balance in the forest enables natural control. Our biggest chore is making compost.
The best time of day to be out in the plantation is early morning and late evening. It is beautiful all the year round.
Our most useful tool is a ‘Khurpi’ a hand shovel/trowel.
Our philosophy is to follow ecologically sound farming practices.
We socialize in the plantation with the critters in every way, with humans through sharing of knowledge and the beauty we are surrounded by.
It is not a major problem when plants get attacked, a few nibbles are good as they trigger natural defences in the plants.
Our highest moment has been to see a healthy build up of predatory populations of non-vegetarian insects and other creatures like birds, frogs, wasps, dragon flies, spiders, all those who keep the ‘pests’ from developing into pests.
The advice we would pass on is to follow the rules that nature enables us to see.