Our second stop in Bulgaria, and after a couple of days in the lovely city of Plovdiv, was with Dimo and his worms. We had arranged a couch surf with another guy in the area but when he had to go the Beglika festival as a helper we were told Dimo would take us in and probably show us a thing or two. We were grateful for the opportunity to understand a low impact livelihood and help Dimo out on the worm farm for a few days.
He kindly picked us up from Kazanlak and we went for a family visit, an off road adventure and a swim before cooking up a late dinner and sampling the stupidly cheap but very tasty Bulgarian beer.
We spent the next few days at the worm farm. Dimo collects fresh cow poo, mixes it with straw, moistens it and sets the worms to work. It takes a few months for them to eat their way through the feast but the end result is weed free, high water retentive, humus rich soil, perfect for growing annual veg and seedlings. He bags the castings and sells them to customers around Bulgaria. During the process the worms also double in mass and he receives an additional income from them.
Dimo also doubles up his worm heap as a plant nursery, stacking functions and making best use of his space. He grows tomatoes and paulownia, a fast growing lightweight timber perfect for tool handles. He uses no chemicals and keep his mole population in check using castor plant which exudes chemicals that the moles dislike.
Dimo also produces his own biofuel from waste vegetable oil in a processor that he built himself. He powers his truck and his tractor from the fuel, true to his business name WastNoMo.
We loved our time with Dimo. We saw some great places, Thracian tombs, old communist monuments and natural beauty. The day before we left he took us to visit Paul of the Balkan Ecology Project who was happy to show us around his permaculture inspired garden. We were to see them both again at their BalkanEP venue at Beglika Festival.