Day to day events mostly cataloguing my complete lack of understanding and common sense!

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Wednesday 29th March, 2017
Category: 2017/03
Tags: garden veggies

Fear not, spring has now most definitely sprung, the skies are blue and the air is full of the heady scent of plum blossom from the hundreds of snowy white trees which cover the landscape. Every tree hums with the buzz of bees, and the lightest breeze sends thousands of petals cascading like confetti. It truely is a beautiful time of year as nature becomes a mass of fresh bright greens and birds sing from dawn till dusk.

I'm back home now and for the past couple of days have been busy nurturing my seedlings, and sowing and re-sowing the ones which haven't appeared yet. (The usual yearly panic sowing in other words).

There's still no sign of any carrots, though there's a good chance they maybe started to germinate but got roasted under the hot sun, so I've now sown lots more seeds in two pots which I shall keep in a shadier spot, and, if the carrots grow, I can transplant them at a later date.

The leeks are all springing up but so is a weird fungus which has spread along the raised bed (probably enjoying the water and shelter the leek seeds were getting).

Normally I don't mind the odd toadstool growing among the veggies but this seemed quite dense and had spread for several feet, so I've pulled out as many chunks as I could find. Hopefully it's not disturbed the seedlings too much.

The onions are all growing nicely, though I think the batch I planted back in November are actually shallots.

I've transplanted a few of the cabbage type seedlings and lettuces out and so far they're thriving but are still only small.

Indoors all the tomatoes, peppers and aubergines are growing, so they get to go out in the greenhouse each day to get an intense dose of sunlight, but come back in at night as it's still been a touch frosty first thing in the morning.

I noticed today that my courgettes are just starting to grow but no sign of the cucumbers yet. I might resort to buying some from the market!

My biggest thrill was seeing that the two asparagus plants from last year have made it through winter and are sending up spindly shoots.

They won't be picked for a couple of years though to give the plants a chance to get established.

Elsewhere I've planted a few shrubs as I want to break up the look of the bottom of the garden, and I'm also shaping the little flower garden beds as I get more things to go in there.

Later on in the year I might have a go at sowing a load of grass seed on the lawn bit because I want that area to be a nice shady sitting place full of flowers and nice scenty herbs. One day!

I've been doing a few additional bits to the wigwam - enclosing part of the front entrance, making the walls thicker with some discarded pine branches, and adding a few decorative bits and bobs.

It's a lovely little sun trap in there but with a nice bit of shade too, and the animals are often found curled up in there. They don't seem to mind the macabre selection of skulls which adorn the outside.

It's all getting a bit Dances With Wolves!


Monday 13th March, 2017
Category: 2017/03
Tags: weather snow dairy snails

I have completely and utterly jinxed the weather in so many ways: shaving my legs, wearing shorts and vest top, boasting in the last blog entry...  So now I'm sitting looking towards the nearby hills which are completely enshrouded in mist and watching slushy snow settling on the grass and feeling all cut off and miserable. I have high hopes for the weekend onwards though as my daily scrutinisation of the weather forecast promises sunshine and warmth, ahhh.

I shouldn't be surprised really as every March so far has produced a flurry of snow at some point, it's just that those early glorious days of sunshine lull you into a false sense of 'summer's here' and I so want to be able to sit outside again.

My early planting schedule may have hit a bit of a setback, though the planted areas (leeks, parsnips, carrots and radishes) are all covered over with plastic sheeting and, aside from the radishes, have yet to germinate so maybe they'll come bursting through once the temperatures rise again. The indoor planting is faring better with the tomatoes all looking strong and healthy and peppers just beginning to come through.

I'm not at home very much these days as I'm looking after other people's pets whilst they're away and tend to just pop down to mine to feed everyone and sometimes light the fire to keep the house warm (Alfie and Bella enjoy a prolonged sniff at my shoes and trousers each time I come home whereas the cats just want to fly indoors as if there's some kind of banquet being laid on in there) .

It was during this past week that I learned something new about the dairy down by the Yantra river. It was a dairy for many years and then seemed to shut for a while (during which time I availed myself of the broken pallet boards to make my compost bin). A while ago it seemed to be back in business and I assumed as a dairy. Apparently not. I've been told that the business there is now snails of all things! I don't know if they're breeding them or if it's just a processing plant for ones found in the locality, and my informant seems to think they must be headed for Spain or France as there isn't a huge demand in Bulgaria for them. It makes me think that I should stop slinging the huge beasts I find nibbling my flowers and veggies over the fence and start driving them down to the ex-dairy to turn into stotinkis. This time next year, readers, I'll be a millionaire. Lovely jubbly.

Wednesday 8th March, 2017
Category: 2017/03
Tags: stork ladies' day garden

Today, the 8th of March, is Ladies' Day in Bulgaria, which I always think is nice as it includes every female rather than just honouring mums or wives. No doubt the florists are making a killing!

I love this time of year in Bulgaria. One minute the ground is still frozen solid and everything is either brown or grey, they next there are signs of new life bursting out everywhere. Birds are singing like crazy, especially the jays which at the moment seem to be bustling around in large groups making all sorts of noises from harsh squawks to soft chatterings. I had a couple of wagtails land in the garden the other day (much to Poppy's excitement as she crouched in the veggie patch wondering which one to chase first). I think they might have been white wagtails as they had very distinct black throats and heads. Then yesterday, I saw three storks circling overhead as they made their way across the village. That definitely signals the imminent arrival of spring and of course means that the red and white Martenitsas can now be hung on the fruit trees. (I put mine on the red currant and loganberry bushes as they need encouragement).

The veggie patch is looking great now that all three raised beds are full of manure, and some areas have already been sown.

Plastic grids to provide a bit of insulation whilst seeds germinate.

The spare manure was just heaped on the ground where the courgettes and sweetcorn will go. The wire grid in the foreground is over the onions to stop the cats and dogs digging them up!

The long strip on the left is where the tomatoes will go, once I've built the megaframe for them.

There are onions and garlic, rows of radish (already germinating), parsnips, carrots and leeks, and a couple of patches of spinach. Indoors I have pots of tomatoes (all growing nicely), and peppers, chillis and aubergines. The greenhouse has trays of lettuce and various kinds of cabbage as well as some flowers. Every day I go and check on progress and never fail to get a buzz of excitement when that first little green shoot pops through the soil.





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