The weather is definately on the up, today it is 15C so I have started to do a bit of gardening. Last year we had some strange weather in June/July, lots of
fog to be exact. This caused my tomatoes and cucumbers to shrivel and die. So this year I have decided to protect myself from unseasonal weather by
investing in a greenhouse.
When I say invest I mean more time than money, the toal cost was 12 Leva (6 Euros). Not a pane of glass in sight. The method used by neighbours has been copied
much to their amusement. I have built what is basically a ‘wendy’ house with transparent plastic. These can be seen in many a garden throughout southern Bulgaria,
they not only give protection to unseasonal weather, but also provide an early batch of salad crops.
So along with the planting of a few tomato and cucumber seeds that are in pots sitting on my windowsill, I have also put in this years parsnips. I have a bet with Mustafta
(the plasterer) as to who can grow thew largest parsnip this year.
I also spotted a few of my neighbours planting onion sets so I copied them and have planted half of my onion sets (I might wait until April to plant the others –
there may still be another snow storm).
Last year my chickens were eaten by a fox, so this year I have made alterations to my chicken coop (Fort Knox) and I am awaiting some chicks from a neighbour
who has one hen that has gone broody on 14 eggs.
Speciality Crops – Most years I try to introduce something new and different to the village (first year King Edward Pots, second year Parsnips) so this year
I bought back from my recent trip to the UK yellow cherry tomato seeds, as well as many a differnet type of flower seeds. So far there are 5 people now growing King
Edwards, and about 10 planting a row of parsnips. I have also made an Asparagus bed, though I am not sure these will catch on!
As well as growing lots of fruit and veg I have given over quite a lot of my garden
to flowers not just to help the bees but to make it look a bit nicer. I don’t know the Latin names and to be honest I don’t really want to.
People that tell me I am growing Lavandula angustifolia, oh you mean my lavender!
Does it really matter knowing the latin name for things as long as
I know what it is that I am growing. So just to confuse garden experts I have renamed all my flowers below.
Please don’t email with the real names
as I don’t want to know.
Here are some of my favorites:
Red Dreadlock Plant = Reddius Dreadius
Pink Flower = Pinkus Maximus
The aforementioned pinkus maximus in bush form.
These flowers are great for drying and last forever.
Everlasting Flowers = Flora Infinitum.
I think these are fuscias, but I call them Chandalier Plants = Luminar Shadus Flora.
So for anyone who read yesterdays update and was expecting to see the foundations of the National Botanical Gardens of Samodiva,
unfortunately I am a slave to the weather and it piddled down so not much digging was happening. The weather has picked up today so will try
and make a start.
Luck would have it that in owning an illegal still for making alcohol can be easily explained
to the authorities by saying that you are not making moonshine brandy, but are in fact creating essential oils, which is completely legal and for which you need
a still. Two birds one stone comes to mind.
To keep my bees happy and to add a bit of a twang to my honey I grow quite a lot of lavendar in my garden as well as plant lots of the stuff around the village.
It also has its other uses when in the oil form though. I use it in small quantities in my beeswax polish, and have used it whilst making candles also. To make the essential
oil you will need a still with a condenser, freshly cut lavender, and a bit of patience. The lavender is suspended above water in the still, as the oil is best extracted
using steam rather than just placed in the water. I use some chicken wire to make a basket which I suspend above water. When the steam condenses with the essential oil
it is quite easy to seperate out from the water. You do need an awful lot of lavender though. I got about 200 ml of essential oil from about 4kg of cuttings from my lavendar plants.