Monday, April 29, 2024

Planting out the veg garden, Roses flowering, fruit bushes...

 Its another gap in posts, not another 10 year one but longer than I wanted!

     This week I have been planting out the tomato plants in the Hugelkultur raised bed, With working on the house I didn`t plant tomato seeds I bought small plants from the market, some plants for yellow tomatoes and some plants for red tomatoes, no idea on variety some type of cherry tomato I think,  every variety of red one had signs with the names on , but these I asked for a week or so ago and the woman brought them in for me as she has no yellow usually.

Tomato plants from the market

I soaked the plants for a few minutes in water to check the roots had enough water.
Tomato plants planted in the HugelKulture bed

Then planted out in the HugelKulture raised bed, next to one of my sage plants

This week all the roses are starting to flower, at last the Bulgarian oil rose is flowering , it has taken about 3 years from taking the cuttings to flower. but has many flowers ready to open.

Damascus rose Bulgarian oil rose

I set up a jar to extract the oil to make rosewater

Rose oil extraction to rose water

Many other roses are starting to flower
Large wild rose

Rose `Double Delight`

Blue Rose ( purple!)

Blue Rose ( purple!)

White / red striped rose

Lots of roses here but only just starting to flower, at last count over 50 varieties! I have planted in the garden but then again I am just near Kazanlak in a main rose growing area so I should have lots of them being the rose valley, there are 2 massive rose oil distilleries in different directions just 5 minutes from the house and many fields of oil roses around.

Most things are growing quite well, I have white currents getting quite large, all the other currents are growing fine as well, gooseberries growing , pomegranate trees with flower buds about to flower all over.

White currents

Pomegranate tree flower buds

Gooseberry plants

And.....Being one of those months for finding passwords, i have been trawling through old hard drives and found at last my old password for another youtube account, found some old videos of some industrial machines such as printing presses, videos about using glues and some more dogs this time crazy collie dogs!

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Hugelkultur Kitchen Garden raised bed no water, 1 year on, a great success for self sufficiency no need to water in a drought!

Hugelkultur , the best way i have found to grow food in low water areas

Completed Hugelculture bed

I have always liked researching and trying different ways of growing things and I have planned to try this for about 15 years, so in 2023 I decided it was time to have a go due to the water table dropping so quickly and lack of rain here in Bulgaria.
Dogs also like Hugelculture

Dogs think Hugelkultur is great as well and join in with the digging and sleep right in the way, Rufus loves all dug soil..

This is a traditional method of growing dating back hundreds or more years in Eastern Europe, and Germany but was first made popular in a German book in 1962 by Herman Andrä  the term means hill or mound growing, more exactly ,the beds are mounded up with old wood and things like that inside to allow low water use due to worm activity bringing water upwards

 I had a pile of semi rotted firewood of a few types Oak, Acacia, Beach wood I had chopped from plums and cherry, branches from years of pruning roses fruit trees blackberries etc

First I picked an area that nothing grows, a large plum tree sucks the water from the ground here,
I dug a trench about 750mm deep and filled with layers of wood then smaller sticks and leaves and green weeds from the garden to fill the gaps, a layer of soil , then more wood and weeds , every few layers i added a watering can of water sprinkled over it to help it start rotting

I kept piling it up until the trench was filled and mounded up about 300mm above ground level making it about a meter deep in the center of the mounded trench bed.

After a week or two , I planted s few pot grown tomato plants and cucumber plants in it. at the center of the mound, i only planed a few as it needed testing , and it takes a year or so for the ecosystem within to start working correctly 
Once the plants were in the bed I watered for the first week with about 100ml per couple of days to allow the roots to spread as they established themselves

After about 2 weeks the plants had no water and I had massive crops of tomatoes from them , other tomatoes planted near by with nothing but flat standard soil, needed watering every day to prevent wilting , the Hugelkultur bed needed no watering all year and had a bigger crop per plant.

Last year (2023) we had almost no rain from April until December so it was a good test for growing in arid conditions, 
This year I am building more areas of Hugelkultur as it worked so well.

And a video of  Lucy the Wolf Dog....

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Spring is here in Bulgaria it`s fruit tree blossom time here in Bulgaria.

Many of my early fruit trees have finished flowering , the Cornelian cherry ( Drenkie )and Apricot trees have now finished flowering, but most trees are now opening this week , some of the peaches started about 2 weeks ago but most only this week as I grow later flowering Saturn peach varieties as well as the normal ones. 
Williams Pear Blossom

Saturn peach tree

Apricot Blossom

Apple Blossom

Cherry Plum Tree

Plum Tree

Victoria Rhubarb , going well had a crumble this week , the Stockbridge arrow , pink champagne and the Livingston Rhubarb are just starting to grow. 
Victoria Rhubarb Plant

And some Burdock plants getting going already

Burdock Plants

Citrus, I really need to pick the oranges from the Washington navel, have been ripe sitting on the tree since November last year , just hanging on the tree in one of the unheated  ( this year ) poly tunnels.

Some of last years potatoes , I think the varieties were Charlotte and Jersey Royal , I left in the ground are growing well with no frost damage from last weeks frost, they are about 6 inch high plants now, so I will now plant the big crop of them for this year.

Why is it when something is needed it hides so well, I have a few adaptors for camera sd cards for my old photos and videos , adaptors to fit them in a USB slot, I haven`t used one for years....they are here somewhere.....can I find them NO! , a trip into the big town 30km away is necessary anyway , so I will have a look but probably need to use Amazon or Ebay.

A quick walk with one of the dogs, this is Dougal he is about 2 and a half years old , weighing 65kg, a cross between a Kangal and an Ovcharka cross, his paws are about 3 inch wide!, great walk on the side of the Balkan mountains, ruined by the rubbish as you return close to the town.


Sunday, March 24, 2024

March 24th 2024....almost 10 years on, Still here in Bulgaria...I have been here all along, and still off grid!

Why no content from me ,here in Bulgaria at all... for so long.....

So many things have changed in Bulgaria, the world etc. , back 10 years ago, no Covid Pandemic, UK was a member of Europe, Not so many absurd wars....a lot of things to have written about...but I didn`t write anything on here!

Its a strange story, but probably quite relatable to anyone with ADHD! , I lost my passwords for lots of sites!, I forgot where i put the list of them!...and forgot to look for them!.....

Time just `sort of passed` 10 years and I found the passwords! and thought,,, Oh yes I did start a blog...

Today I found the little book with them all written in when dusting my Dvd`s....inside series 1 of Buffy the vampire I have logged in almost 10 years on from the date of my last post!

I have been filming, photographing everything all along, just not online, a couple of photos and a few posts on Facebook in that time but not a lot!

What has been happening.....well.....

loads of new hobbies ( many old ones have resurfaced as well!) , loads of new plants, more dogs, I am still off grid, growing lots of my own food, still here in Bulgaria about 12 years on!

I still cant spell, lol....but....I am....diagnosed as being Dyslexic, Dysfraxic, ADHD, Autistic and  having PTSD and many more things! a hilarious list!

In the next few weeks I will try to fill in what happened in the time since my last post as well as doing new updates...

updates from the `past` will cover thigs like what happened here in the pandemic and associated local lockdown and curfew...., how some people tried to actively stop my residency application, my rescue dogs from over the years and what had happened to them... , problems caused during and after Brexit |( Brexit in my opinion was the most stupid decision any country could make and I also believe it was handled illegally as well...just my opinion...hmmm....but lots of people agree! ), many things to remember!, I made notes on it all in a paper and a pen! 

Some dog photos...

Frankie, the first dog I found on the doorstep about 10 years ago, has now been diagnosed in October as having epilepsy , hard to treat now as no medication , he had a drug Epityl but now unavailable so is taking CBD oil, seems to work!

and... a few of the others..., but i just popped outside and a couple of them are sitting by the here they are my rescued Bulgarian `street` dogs, all of them seriously injured when i took them to the vets and they moved in to the house here in Bulgaria.

This photo 2 of the smaller of the dogs, the white dog is Gizmo and the brown and white turned up with a name...she answered to...would not respond to another so she stayed at the name `Kuchka`.....the name for a female dog here in Bulgarian.....poor thing no name! she likes her name...she had had a few litters of puppies living wild in the village with a big hairy `karacachan-Ovcharka` ( he was shot with a shotgun )  ,this poor girl was carefully shot a few months later by a psychopath....with a very high power air each knee and the center of her back (to try and paralyze her ) and the center of her chest right on her heart...Her whole story and photos will be on here soon
This is Lucy....a 60kg half wolf dog / half ovcharka...taken in by myself when a shotgun was being pointed at the side of her head...I was told `don`t worry it will be quick`....psychopaths and guns are a problem, having also lived for some time in Liverpool near Toxteth I am used to!, what was Lucy`s crime...., 2 things....she howls being a wolfdog and she was blamed for eating someone`s chickens when only about 4 months old.... She probably did, lived in the woods down the road and had a collection of rabbit tails... in a hole on the floor buried under some gravel and sticks....

And a quick video of one of my electric radio control model aeroplanes!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Sausage making, First attempt......Cumberland style sausage

I have decided to have a go at making shop bought are just plain nasty!

Last month I bought a meat grinder/mincer from eBay with a 2000W motor so it was more likely to work than the 1200W ones available in supermarkets here in Bulgaria

Vegetarian sausage skins.....( vegetarian ones as they store at room temperature unlike stinky disgusting standard ones ), i got mine from Tongmaster on ebay , a real vegetarian sausage skin based on cellulose, 

*if you don`t want meat and want a veg sausage mix to fill I plan to add one as I eventually managed to make an `exact taste copy` of the old one I bought called `Sosmix` back in the 1980s and 1990s based on soya and it tastes good! I worked out the formula for a taste copy of the old Sosmix and the bacon flavor `Sizzles` mixes sold back then

But this is meat based Cumberland sausage

Assorted herbs and spices, nutmeg, ginger, white pepper, black pepper, marjoram,  mace ( delivered as all no good! I missed it out )

Meat from Kaufland, leg of pork, only used a bit so it would not be wasted if it all ended up inedible!

First step was to cut the meat up a bit, I left it in bits about 3 inch by 2 inch and 1.5 inch thick.....never used a mincer before but it looked like it would go in!

I minced it easily, added a half bread roll to push the meat out....decided to stir it in to add some bead to the meat....

Next was to add the spices, and salt to the mince, give it a quick mix round....and put it back in the hopper, Quantities....I sprinkled them measure at all

Then add the filling home made with a piece of funnel inside to make it small enough for the only sausage skins they had in stock, I have now bought one from a DIY shop in StaraZagora....but used my modified one to see if it worked!

Add the skins to the nozzle and then extrude and fill the sausage.....

Discovered I need to hold the bit the sausage fills into to prevent a under filled sausage, then it was working fine.....added half of the bread roll to push out the last of the meat

Into the fridge with it....apart from a 6 inch piece that I had to cook to see it it was edible!

Into the pan with it.....

Coooooooking time........, cooked it slowly for 20 minutes

Looked like sausage....could have been a bit more cooked!

It tasted like Cumberland sausage as well......unlike any I have had from supermarkets in the UK.....I managed without even measuring the spices....

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Garden Update July 2015 - Garden starting to supply lots of food this year, looks like a year of a bumper crop

Things seem to be growing well this year, most things that is.......

The panache fig with its stripy fruit, is still only about a foot tall, but now has 2 fruit on it....I will now pot it up again to make it grow some more, it is only in a 5 liter pot as I didn't want to jump up too much in size from its 3 inch pot that it had when delivered as a rooted cutting.

I have been pulling weeds out, scything some of them like the grass to get mulch, I am using the mulch like in the Ruth Stout method of gardening to cover the floor s much as possible to hold back the weeds, it is working.....sort of....I don't have enough mulch, places with a deep mulch layer are working fine for weed control.  I will plant something in some areas to grow some mulch I think as straw seems unavailable here.....(even though I have seen 3 giant trailers drive past today.....I cant find how to get some! )

Fruit on the trees is good, but small amount of fruit from some of the early flowering trees compared to other years due to frosts just at the right ( or wrong! ) time.

Peaches are good, Cherry plums are good, Apples on 2 trees are good, Sour cherries and sweet cherries were very large crop as well.

Normal plums from 2 trees have low numbers and one tree has about 3 plums , usually it has a couple of hundred kilo at least

The Dryan tree, ( Cornelian cherry, Cornus Mas / Dogwood ) has loads of fruit just starting to ripen, this was the first tree to flower in the snow, ice and frost and it is still fine.

The rhubarb plants planted early spring last year are massive now, we ate it for weeks and it never looked any smaller!

Potatoes, all growing fine some are ready now....just, no sign of Colorado beetles this year but I did spray early on with neem oil.

I got this lot yesterday from one plant, I think it is Swift, a first early

The tomatoes, growing well, we have had one or two off the plants every day till now, but yesterday they started to speed up production, this was yesterdays haul....and back again ripe more again today!

Raspberries, the long cane Aldi ones I bought, died....I have had them before and they have been fine, this year every one died, so wont bother again, most of the other raspberry canes are growing fine, and last years are massive clumps of canes full of fruit.

Soft fruit harvest from new plants this year, some black currents, gooseberries, red currents, raspberries, strawberries have almost finished but we are getting a few a day as well

Time for Raspberries and yogurt

Last year the squash seemed to like it here, as did cucumbers so we have planted 50 or more mixed plants....Frankie the dog mixed them throwing them everywhere out of the trays, We have no idea what is what apart from a few I planted before his fun......

These are quite big, I think ( presume ) Atlantic giant pumpkin, being this big after only 2 weeks old fruit

I also have 10 Waltham and 10 wrinkled butternut squash, 10 courgette/marrow plants and 10 Marketmore cucumbers growing out from in between the sweetcorn plants, squash nowhere near ripe yet, but getting bigger

The Sweetcorn, looks much better this year, 4 types planted.....( never a good idea! ) and all between 5 foot and 8 foot tall, Bloody Butcher, Blue Hopie and a couple of standard ones from seeds I bought here one had golden in the name....but that is all I could translate!

Carrots....again a complete failure....not one!...I am planning on making a raised carrot growing bed for them next year.

Onions and shallots, onions are still growing, shallots I harvested some yesterday as the tops had died down and still lots more growing

Marrows, or big courgettes....

Marrow, chopped up to be roast like a squash 

Rose bushes and lilies are also growing well

Hazel nuts are nearly ready as well

 So much better this year than last year as the weeds are starting to get under control.....a bit!

Frankie.....The rescued dog with terrible neck happy, healthy and looking like a dog.....

Banana Shallot flowers in a vase I found 12 inch deep in the garden

Some sort of insect.....eating or laying eggs...not sure, in the underneath insect....

Ladybird with no spots...????

About Me

My photo
I moved here to Bulgaria around 2012 after getting pd off with the UK! , Bulgaria is much quieter, looks better, less people, houses are better and affordable