Thursday, January 14, 2016

North American winter time - more attention required

Winter in North America can get harsh.  During this time, Tulasi devi needs more attention.  Today it was snowing outside, but inside the Tulasi room it was a balmy 82 degrees, and humid.  This is how she can live through the cold winter.

This Tulasi came to us pretty malnourished and sick.  I nursed her back to health by giving sufficient light, a warm and humid room, and great organic nutrients.  The nutrients I use have to be added with every watering, which in the winter is only once every 10 days or so.  Find it here

Also, by the advice of a friend, she is sitting on a seedling heating pad.  The reason is to keep the roots 10 or 20 degrees higher than the ambient air temperature.  I can tell its working because shes growing pretty quick now.   You can find that here

She's even growing manjari now.  In the winter!  

Thursday, December 3, 2015

New Vertical Light Fixture

So, I've been gone for a while from my parent's home in NJ.  Since I was gone, the ballast for our MH lamp was misplaced and lost (yeah, don't ask), which makes it useless.  My father went to the local hydroponics shop and acquired a 8 bulb, 2 ft. T5 light with mixed bulbs for around $200 (pretty good move, and that was all by himself).  I moved it into a room, and set up a fan, humidifier, and heater.

I also ordered 4 more bulbs for my first T5 lamp which is a 2 ft. 4 bulb fixture (haven't used it in years!) and daisy chained it to the the main light fixture, except I hung it vertically!  This will be a great added light source to the bottom leaves of the bigger Tulasi I have.  I have never done this before, and its pretty exciting!  This way the the whole Tulasi can be rotated periodically,  and her bottom and middle leaves will get necessary light.  I'm attaching a few pictures to show you what I mean:
The one T5 is set normally, and another is set vertically next to it to provide light for lower leaves.  

Heater, Fan, and Humidifier
The Tulasi on the left my mother had previously, and a few days ago I got this one on the right, from the temple that was in trouble.  I already see them thriving with the great light setup.
You can see the vertical lamp is daisy chained to the main one, and there's a timer connected to it which keeps the light on 13-14 hours a day.  

Everyday I see new buds forming, and the current ones getting bigger.  I really missed taking care of Tulasi devi while I was gone! :) 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Exhuming a dead blog...

I feel like I should bring this blog back to life...

I basically just returned from living away from the North America for a long time, and first thing i did was picked up a small Tulasi from the temple, and I'm going to grow her again here at home.

I also got married since my last blog post, and my wife's name is Tulasi... go figure....

Stay tuned for more posts and pictures,
Namarasa das

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast with crushing force.  High winds took down power lines and many were left without heat and power, including me.  I was worried about Tulasi devi.  BV Madhava Maharaj once said in a class that Tulasi devi puts us under anxiety so we can be anxious about her welfare and thinking of her more.  "Oh, I have red spider mites!" and the devotee thinks, "I must do something, I must protect Tulasi devi".  Therefore he makes spiritual advancement.

  The first day it got down to 58F in the house, which is cold but okay (not for long) for Tulasi.  The second day was the same.   I did not know when the power was going to come back so I took Tulasi devi to my sister's house, who still had power, about 15 minutes away.  I am always in anxiety when I have to put her in the car and drive her places, especially since shes gotten quite large. 

I rigged up this set-up.
I put her in the car carefully and drove her to my sister's house.  I brought along my spare T5 Florescent Sun Blaze light, a humidifier, and her spray bottle.  As soon as I got there I thought for a minute and rigged up the light, humidifier, and fan.   It looked great and finally Tulasi devi had some light, after 2 days of cold and darkness. 

I felt really happy and relieved that she was more comfortable.  I felt like I had performed some important service.   It felt a lot like when I used to serve my Guru when I was living in the ashram.  With total focus and concentration, not thinking of anything else but his welfare and comfort.

All glories to Tulasi devi, who puts us under anxiety so we can become more anxious in her service!

The same day I brought her to my sister's house, the power came back!  That night I brought her back to my house and put her back in the room with her humidifier, fan, and Metal Halide High intensity discharge light.  The temperature came back to a cozy 72F.   What an adventure of a day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Picture from October 25th, 2012

My friend Nimai visited Tulasi devi yesterday.  Here's a pic from his visit.

She still has not been watered since October 15th, 11 days ago.  In the winter, it's important to not over-water her.  It's better to under-water her than over-water.  If she needs water, her leaves will go slightly limp, and will not be rigid at all.

With a Tulasi devi who is in a large pot its important to not over-water her.  Especially because soil at the bottom can still be wet and it can succumb to "root-rot" if kept moist always.  A plastic or earthen pot also plays a large role.  Earthen pots are breathable and get dry quicker, while plastic is not porous and retains water much longer.

During the summer time while shes in the heat and sun, she will need watering much more frequently.  It's an art to detect when she needs water in the wintertime.  The longer you take care of Tulasi devi, the easier it will get to detect, because you will start knowing her better.

I miss the daily time I used to spend with her: spraying her, cleaning her soil, picking up her dry leaves, inspecting her limbs for pests and disease.  It made me very happy, and like I was personally serving a pure devotee of Krishna, because she is!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tulasi Sevak's

During the weekdays I work in Philadelphia, so I ask two good friends of mine to check up on Tulasi devi twice during the week.  Nishan and Nimai take time off in their busy lives to tend to Tulasi devi.  They water her if needed, spray her down, refill her humidifier, open the window for some fresh air, and chant japa in front of her.  "Whoever takes shelter of you has his wishes fulfilled, bestowing your mercy on him, you make him a resident of Vrindavan..."
Myself and Nishan in Barsana, 2011

Nishan sent me this picture from today: October 23rd, 2012

I sprayed her down with Safer's insecticide on Saturday and she seems like shes recovering from the attack of red spider mites.  The directions call to spray her again in another 10 days.  
Recovering from Red Spider Mites

Shes thinning out for the winter, as all Tulasi's do.  It's nothing to get alarmed about.  Its normal for her to drop dry, yellow leaves.  If she is dropping green ones, then there's a problem...

Her leaves are still slightly curled but getting better, much better than a week ago, which was probably due to the spider mites sucking her life from the underside of her leaves. 

I haven't watered her since October 15th, which was last Monday   Her pot is quite big and the soil may seem dry on top, but this is not a gauge for a need for water.  Her leaves will get sort of droopy and soft if she needs water.  It's better to underwater her than over water her.  Her leaves are slightly firm right now and I think she will need a watering when Nimai comes on Thursday.  

It's normal for Tulasi to thin out in the colder season.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby pictures...

February 8th, 2012, day after she mercifully came to me.

February 16th, 2012

February 24th, 2012

March 5th, 2012

March 15, 2012, notice her top bud is 'snipped' so she splits int two.

March 24th, 2012, a wonderful example of how she splits.

April/May, keep snipping her tops, so she becomes bushy and not top heavy!