Gardening is deemed to be a "moderate to strenuous workout" up there with walking and cycling. So excellent news for those of you who already garden. Also brilliant news for any gym-bunnies that are suffering because they are shut. You can easily burn the same number of calories gardening as you would at the gym. Digging, raking, and mowing are at the best activities (my Activity Tracker is convinced that my mower is a static bike!). The secret is that gardening covers all 4 sorts of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility meaning its an all round work out
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We are a friendly, enthusiastic company that have been designing, manufacturing and distributing garden care and plant protection products for many years. Professional, experienced and amateur gardeners all love to grow using our innovative, easy to use products.
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We've put together a collection of Videos from our archives that demonstrate the great things our gardening products can do.
A-Z Grow Your Own Advice
- Beans - Climbing
- Beans - Dwarf
- Broad Beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chilli Peppers
- Courgettes / Zucchinis
- Onions (seeds)
- Onions (sets)
- Peas (and mangetout)
- Sweet Corn
- Zuchinnis / Courgettes
"I've used Haxnicks products for years - they're designed to do a brilliant job AND look good. Just what's needed!"
- Pippa Greenwood (Horticulturist, grow-your-own TV and radio expert, garden writer)
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The News by Haxnicks
Grow at home: How to make your gardening into more of a workout
29th March 2020
the workout has been thrown into disarray by gyms closing and people being forced to stay home. All is well in the garden though. Whether it is the supermarkets queues or skies clearing to a cerulean blue, people seem to be relishing the idea of spending time in the garden.
The National Gardens Scheme in 2016 report found that half of the adult population in England report being involved in gardening, and consider it an important activity throughout their lives. And the enforced leisure time we are all having at the moment only widens the garden's appeal as a place of sanctuary.
But how can we make even better use of it? Maybe by turning it into our own gym...
Gardening as Exercise
Gardening can help you lose weight burning off about 300 calories an hour. One study found that women community gardeners weighed on average 11 pounds less than non-gardeners, and men weighed 16 pounds less. While you will certainly burn calories doing it there are other factors at play.
All the stress relieving and mental health benefits of a walk in the countryside with an added sense of achievement at having grown something successfully. Fresh air can make us feel healthier resulting in healthier eating habits supported by the fresh veggies produced. Who wants oven chips when you could have glistening new potatoes freshly pulled from your own plot?
Being outside will also increase your vitamin D intake. Not only is this vitamin important to every single organ in your body but it is also a mood booster. Which may go some way to explain why gardening is good for our mental health.
So much over eating is in response to boredom rather than hunger. Even if you haven't stockpiled biscuits they are probably now within reach where they wouldn't have been before. Being out in the garden takes you away from temptation and gives you something else to do with idle hands.
A better larder
Growing your own vegetables, fruits, or herbs, gives them more focus in your kitchen. So instead of I've got some meat what veg shall I have with it. Its 'the beans will be ready early next week what recipes can i use for them.
Making your Gardening into a Workout
The first thing to say on this subject is gardening can cause injury. Doing it the wrong way, or over doing it when you haven't gardened for a while (or ever!) can lead to very sore muscles and a bad back which no one wants.
We've all been there and overdone it at the start of the season but it should be avoided if possible. There are subtle ways to make your gardening more effective fitness wise though.
When you are undertaking activities like hoeing you want to increase the sweep or arc from your starting position to your ending position. So rather than short jerky movements you need long fluid movements with a slight stretch so you can feel it in your muscles. Think Tai Chi with a trowel.
Lunge and weed
This one transfers straight from the weights section of the gym. Think a forward lunge usually done with a dumbbell in each hand. To transfer this to the garden, take your weeding tool - a long handed one like the SpeedHoe Precision - and rest your left arm on your left knee when weeding with your right hand. Reverse if you are left handed. You may feel a bit of a twit at first and get some funny looks if you do this at the allotment (at a 2m distance from anyone else) but much better than being in a sweaty gym.
Use the right muscles
If you use the right muscles then it not only be kinder to your back but will also burn more calories. The muscles of the arms and lower back are weaker. So, try to use the larger muscles in your legs, buttocks and the core strength of your torso to do the bulk of the work. Particularly important when lifting things like compost bags. Bend those knees.
Repeat, repeat, repeat!
Try and group your activity into sets. So dig 5 spade fulls then rest for one minute then repeat. Hoe 10 sweeps and then move weed so the compost heap for one minute, repeat This will not only improve your fitness but it will chop up tedious tasks into more manageable chunks. Plus it will give you short term goals to think about rather than being daunted by having to dig a whole bed.
From delaying dementia to improving concentration in all areas of your life, gardening has much to offer out mental well-being.
If you can garden as a family then it can create a shared interest and bonding experience like no other. But there is room for differences too - one person may enjoy flowers, one may be obsessed with getting the lawn like a bowling green, and another may be interested in the wildlife that can be attracted to the garden. They can all be in the same place with their separate goals and enjoy it together.
Even if you are in self isolation the internet is awash with groups where you can share your achievements. Just type #allotment or #gardening into Instagram and you will come up with a whole tribe of people who will ooh and ahh as your first seed pokes its head out of the soil. Its a way to stay connected and share the experience. They will also offer you advice to get you started too - though don't expect them to always agree with each other!
The final advantage at the moment is that the garden also gives you another room. The house can become very small when the whole family is home the whole time! So move the home schooling outside. Read, paint and interact with nature and have a lunch time BBQ to make it feel like a holiday. What is nicer than eating in the open, listening to the birds as you sip a glass of something chilled?
Treat yourself to 30 minutes workout in the garden a day if you can manage it. And you can forget about the gym membership...
Don't forget Haxnicks has a great YouTube channel too. So if you are stuck in doors take the time to watch a few videos. Be fully prepared for when you find yourself back on the plot. Check it out here
Grow at Home: Beetroot
22nd March 2020
Beetroot are easy to grow and ideal for anyone new to vegetable gardening. Most people think of it as a pickled salad vegetable. The young leaves can be used as ‘spinach’. Follow these with quick growing crops of late summer salads. The beets themselves, stands up well to oily fish like mackerel. You can also roast them, make soup (memories of a divine Beetroot consomme at a Polish wedding!) or even have them in porridge! Not tried that one but its on BBC GoodFood if you fancy it!
Careful planning can mean you have beetroot all year round. There are different varieties if you want to eat in summer or store for winter so decide your goal before you buy seeds. There are also bolt resistant varieties that take away one of the main problems that can happen with this crop.
Sow three seeds 4" (10cm)) apart 1" (2.5cm) deep in rows 12" (30cm) apart.
For best results, sow beetroot little and often, every 2 weeks or so from mid-April to July. You can start earlier in late February if you are going to protect them. For these early sowings, cover them to protect from late frosts. The Easy Fleece Tunnel will be perfect for this and can be packed away and hung on your shed wall as soon as the weather perks up.
Sowing 2 weeks apart will give you a steady harvest of tender, golf ball size beet. You don't want to let them grow too large or they will become tough.
Beetroot can be grown in the ground or in a veg planter Or why not try setting up a simple Raised Bed? All the convenience of a container - just fill it and go, no digging - but the space of a garden bed.
The round varieties rather than the long cylindrical ones are better for containers. your pot or container needs to be 8" (20cm) in diameter and at least 8" (20cm) deep. Fill loosely with multi-purpose compost leaving about 1.5" (4cm) clear at the top.
Growing in the ground
Beetroot will grow well in any well-drained garden soil but requires fertile conditions. Prior to sowing, dig in around a bucketful of well-rotted garden compost or organic matter and rake in a handful per square metre/yard of a general purpose fertiliser.
Container & Ground
When the seedlings are about 1" (2.5cm) high, thin out to leaving the seedlings 4" (10cm) apart
Water every 10-14 days in dry spells. If plants are not growing strongly, apply high nitrogen fertiliser, such as sulphate of ammonia, and water in well.
Problems, Pest & Diseases
This is when plants flower and set seed prematurely. Bolting is the plant in panic mode - it shoots up flower stalks to produce seeds and ensure its own survival. This generally makes the crop unusable so needs to be avoided. The best way to avoid bolting is to keep the plant happy. So sow at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist. Not too wet or too dry. Bolting can also be triggered by a sudden cold spell so watch out for this and harvest a little early if you have to.
When you harvest depends how you like to eat your beetroot. Some people like the young tender golf ball sized ones. Some like the larger cricket ball sized ones. To get a mix - harvest every other beet, as and when you need them, leaving the ones in between to get to full size.
Grow at home: Celery self-blanching or trench: which to choose
16th March 2020
Growing Celery has traditionally been seen as a labour-intensive task with trenches and blanching to achieve the long pale stems. There are numerous self blanching varieties such as 'Tall Utah' which make this more straightforward, although possibly resulting in a little less taste - it's worth giving both approaches a try.
Soil and Aspect
There are two methods of soil preparation: the trench method and that for self-blanching varieties.
For trench celery, in Autumn, dig out a trench in a sunny site 40cm wide and 30cm deep and add a layer of well rotted manure to the base. Back fill with soil and leave to settle over winter.
Self blanching Celery is planted in blocks rather than rows - dig over the site in Autumn and regularly incorporate plenty of well rotted manure and garden compost over winter.
Trench varieties are best started off under glass in Rootrainers in early Spring at a temperature of around 15c. Harden off under cloches two weeks before planting out 30 cm apart in rows in early Summer.
Self blanching Celery is started off under glass in the same way and hardened off before planting out more closely, in blocks, 20cm apart to help with the blanching.
Water thoroughly in dry periods and feed with a liquid feed every two weeks. When trench celery varieties reach 30cm earth up over part of the stems to exclude light. Repeat this at three week intervals until the soil is up to the lower leaves. An alternative to earthing up is to wrap cardboard around the stems.
For self-blanching celery, place straw around the outside of the block to reduce light on the plants.
Harvesting and storage
Trench celery is ready for harvesting in the autumn and onwards into early winter. Harvest as needed but remember that the first frosts will enhance the flavour. Cover plants in the winter with Easy Fleece Tunnel or Lantern Cloche and leave in the ground - Self blanching varieties should be lifted in the Autumn.
Pests and diseases
Slugs, snails, Celery Fly and Carrot Fly can all be a problem as can diseases such as Celery heart rot - effected plants should be destroyed and not added to the compost heap. You can avoid split stems by ensuring that you water regularly.