Failed Crops, But No Worries

Failed Crops, But No WorriesIt has been the busiest week so far this year trying to get everything planted out on the two plots of land in the village and town and trying to keep on top with blogging. Well the blogging has had the foot off the accelerator recently and I apologise to fellow blogging friends for not paying visits recently. There just aren’t enough hours in the day and the candle has been burnt at both ends recently.

It is a time where everyone here in Bulgaria is out tending to crops. Not only do they need planting right now they need watering, sometime two or three times a day with temperatures soaring to over 30 degrees and we are not in the hot season yet. When the seedling are put in the have to be treated like babies, tended to every moment until they are established. They are at their most sensitive and the slightest neglect at this stage can ruin a whole crop. This has happened to me already as I left the town farm for 6 days as it was a six-day weekend holiday and the factory had closed for that period. A crop of beans had failed when I got back from lack of water. In the village the strawberries newly planted in the autumn had hardly any fruits on as they needed watering every two days – I am not there for five days at a time. Strawberries were not a good idea with the time I spend there. The melons both the watermelon and the honey melon both failed to germinate because of the 5-day absence and neglect.

Failed Crops, But No WorriesOn another front the two patches of sweet corn that was sown were almost another complete failure. I have to transplant half the seedlings from one patch to the other as over half had died due to not being tended to on a daily basis. I have now put more melons in their place and a massive reservoir channel dug out with advise from locals. I won’t find out whether this has survived until this coming weekend and it will be 6 days without water as we are not due until Saturday this weekend.

It was my own fault. I knew these types of crops would not be a success, but I went ahead regardless with a little hope tucked away. Hope was all that was there as I had to rethink and be realistic about what can and can ‘t work without water for 5 days. The garlic, onions and potatoes are thriving, these were my original plan and they all worked. The grapes look after themselves so no worries there. The biggest job however is the field, some 6000 square metres of meadow that needed to be cut. This had to be done with a scythe; everyone uses this tool in Bulgaria and last weekend it was out with the sharpening stone and a weekend of haymaking.

Failed Crops, But No WorriesIt is really quite a sense of pointlessness as I started getting stuck in to this massive field when I was asked where my horse was from one of my neighbours who were doing exactly the same thing in a field adjacent to mine. He of course knew full well I didn’t have a horse and my donkey was long gone salami to gypsies a couple of years ago. I said that Galia son Ivo has a rabbit in Yambol and this was rabbit feed for next winter. We both laughed as the joking went on. In all seriousness, I was cutting hay for my neighbour’s horse although he didn’t know it yet. If the hay isn’t cut and left to seed next year’s crop would be poor so it was also for that reason as well.

Failed Crops, But No WorriesIt was a long haul, but I loved it, no Galia there as she was working her Saturday in lieu of the 6-day weekend so it was make your own dinner in the evening. I couldn’t wait with a couple of lettuce and radish for the town farm brought o the village and onion and green garlic with sirene, olives and sunflower oil, red vinegar and salt as dressing. A glass of my own homemade sliva (plum) rakia and ice cold Ayran alongside. All on a table under the grapevine trellises looking at the field that had just had its hay cut and now drying out in the warm evening air. It wasn’t the same without Galia though and as I sat down on my own I really couldn’t see the point of preparing all this without someone to share it with and a reminder of lonely times before I met Galia working on the farm – Another story altogether.

Things are looking great here, both in the town and village – Yes we have had crop failures, but that’ down to my bad planning and faint hope that I should have dispelled from the start. There is still plenty of time to replant and that’s what I have been doing over the last few days. Exciting times here.
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