HHC s-he:pijig Mashath

October 19, 2018


Huhugam Heritage Center

Gila River Indian Community 


S-he:pijig Mashath translates to the “cold month” and notes the arrival of cooler weather and windy days.  The days also get noticeably shorter.  This month the ko:koi (rattlesnakes) retreat to their dens for their winter sleep.  This is the time of year when they are very dangerous, and may strike without “sounding” their rattles. 


Now it’s time to clear out our summer gardens and prepare them for fall and winter crops.  We start by removing all dead plant material out of the dormant garden and adding them to the compost pile for next spring.  The soil should be turned over and left for about a week to let the soil “breathe.” 


When it’s time to re-work the garden soil, compost can be added at this time and mixed in with the soil.  After deciding which plants we want to plant we determine how many rows to dedicate for each plant. 


A few fall garden plants include: s-uam thathakam, ‘carrots’; mo’odag vepo chu’igam, ‘asparagus’; vihol, ‘peas’; i:vag, ‘spinach’; che:thag sivol, ‘green onion’ (White Lisbon variety); sivol, “bulb onion’; and s-vepeg thathakam, ‘radish.’  It’s best to keep the soil damp until all the seeds germinate and produce leaves. 


Once the plants are established the watering times can be cut down to only twice a week.