Ping Pong verses Tennis

It was a total disappointment pulling my onions up this weekend. They were worse than last year and last year was bad!

What was the reason behind the failure? There were many reasons but the main one was I was only there once a week over the last three months. Guests were staying at the farmhouse over those months and it has been a struggled to get there to tend to the produce with the rush on each time I was there.

This year I grew then the Bulgarian way with trenches made and the sowing of the sets made on the slant of the mound. The water is held in the trenches and they should have done really well. This Bulgarian heat during May and June really saw them off as they needed watering every two for three days, not once every seven.

Then there was the timing of the planting, they should have been put in during March to April, I was in the UK thinking about putting them is at that time. This couldn’t be helped as things turned out.

As the row was picked I was reminded of ping-pong balls; that was the size of the bulbs that were coming out. In fact they weren’t much bigger than the sets that were put in, perhaps just doubled in size for most. It was a feeling of failure on my part but there isn’t anything you can do about it, you need to be there most of the time to have success, what did I expect. And there is everyone else saying, you can buy as many onions as you want with the money from renting the farmhouse. But that certainly wasn’t any consolation to me; it wasn’t the money but the waste of time and effort put in and the 70 km drive each week trying to resurrect the dead.

So with my tail between my legs we went back to Yambol Sunday only to have salt rubbed into the wounds by stopping off at the roadside in the village of Roza. A man was standing there with a 20 kg bag of onions selling them to passing traffic. These were the size of tennis balls as we took a closer look. Then we were invited to look in his garage where there were at least 100 netted bags stacked, again all the onions were tennis ball sized and as firm as you can get. It was with a deep heart that we bought one of these sacks, put it in the Lada and drove home with it.

Galia was very happy, they were being sold for 50 stotinki per kg and in the market in town they were going at a leva per kg. I suppose that’s the crunch of it. As we spoke about this, it was made quite clear to me that if I was a Bulgarian I wouldn’t have bothered going back each week tending to onions that ended up as ping pong balls. What was the point? In the end I had to agree and to be quite honest made me feel better. The only problem in the first place was my English attitude to die for a pointless cause, even when I knew that the hope for successful tennis sized onions was over in early June.

So next year will I bother if guests are staying at the farmhouse? Mmmm, I’m still thinking the English way!


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