Love to Grow

  • Product Bite: SpeedWeed

    What is SpeedWeed:

    Haxnicks_speed_weed_with_large_thistleSpeedWeed is an innovative weeding tool. It is designed for large areas and is great for lawns, orchards, paddocks, grassy banks and verges.  Using it is effortless. Unlike other weeding tools there is no digging, pulling, twisting or bending  required.

    This precision tool has a high quality hardwood handle and sharpened stainless steel cutting scoop and foot bar. 

    What is SpeedWeed used for:

    Weeds such as dandelions and thistles can quickly spread and  become a real nuisance. In large grassy areas, or for organic gardeners, weed  killers are not an option. SpeedWeed offers a quick, satisfying and efficient way to rid gardeners of the problem.

    What's so special about it? 

    The special thing about SpeedWeed is that you get the same result as other root weeders with half the effort as it is so easy to use.   With a simple push on the foot bar the cutting scoop will slice through the weed below ground. No need to get on your knees. The process will kill most weeds off instantly.  If there is any regrowth then this will be weak and another ruthless round of Speed Weeding or mowing will get rid of it.  

    Weeding tools that take out the main root require more precision and effort for the same end result.  Whatever weeding tool you use, roots can easily snap, or fragments and remain in the soil.   The result of all the extra effort will be the same level of regrowth as Speed Weeding.

    Find out more: 

    See it in action: To see it in action head over to our YouTube channel SpeedWeed

    Buy it Now:  See it here SpeedWeed


  • Grow at Home: what size pot do you need for growing tomatoes?

    One of the most often asked questions is "what size pot do you need for growing tomatoes?"

    So we looked at lots of sources and this is what we concluded.  Perceived wisdom is that the ideal pot size is 18-inch (45cm) diameter for determinate tomatoes and 24-inches (60cm) diameter for indeterminate tomatoes.  That is 30L to 60L of compost.  If you want to grow tomatoes like this then hop over to this blog post Grow at Home Tomatoes which will tell you all you need to know.

    But what if you could do it with a lot less compost - maybe 5L?

    We have been running an experiment to prove this is possible.  We have concluded that it is not only possible but actually quite easy.  Our plants have been producing vines of lovely rosy tomatoes for a couple of weeks now so its time to share the secrets.

    The Planter

    The first thing you need is a Vigoroot 5L planter.  This special fabric allows the roots to Air Prune.  If you haven't heard of this before then it is a way to get a super efficient root system.  The roots grow out from the centre and through the porous Vigoroot fabric.  When they hit the air the root end dies off.  This causes the plant to send more roots out from the centre. As you will see from the diagram below this means that you get lots of small effective roots rather than long pot bound roots.

    Haxnicks Normal Vigoroot PotHaxnicks Vigoroot Pot


    The Water

    Container grown tomato plants need more watering than garden tomatoes. The soil in planters heats up faster which leads to more water evaporation.

    For plants grown in regular pots or planters a good rule is to water until water runs freely from the bottom. Water in the morning and check the soil moisture levels again in the afternoon. If soil feels dry about 1 inch below the surface, it’s time to water again.

    A lack of water can stunt growth and inconsistent watering will cause splits in the fruit which allow diseases in.  The watering is even more important with Vigoroot as it is porous so will require slightly more than regular pots.  So we used Water Saucers

    Vigoroot, broad beans, beans, watersaucer, water saucer, cior, growlite, hydroponics, veg, vegetables Water saucer wick

    Water Saucers are simple but effective - a water container and a super absorbent capillary wick deliver water straight to the plant as and when it needs it. They are perfect for Vigoroot but can be used with any pot.  The wicks can even be retro fitted to a plant already potted.

    They are quite thirsty plants.  We are refilling our Saucer once every 3 days, adding liquid tomato Food direct into the water.



    The results

    So here are our tomatoes.  As you can see they grew quite tall!

    We got the seeds from our friends at Jungle Seeds.  They are an indeterminate tomato so should need around 60L of compost to grow this well.  They are Rapunzel Hybrid-i, and are characterised by these amazing long, cascading trusses, each with up to 40 tasty sweet, bright red shiny cherry tomatoes that keep coming all summer long. These are picked individually as they ripen and have a superb flavour that rivals Sungold.


    Vigoroot_with_RootsAnd as for those roots - the ones meeting the sides of the pots have air pruned.   And the ones near to the wick have used it to seek out the water.  This gives a partially hydroponic set up.  With a full hydroponic set up the water needs to be oxygenated but this is not needed here. With this set up, the advantage is there is an air gap between the bottom of the pot and the water which allows the roots to access vital oxygen.

    So if you are asking the question "what size pot do you need for growing tomatoes?"  then the answer that Google gives you is definitely not the whole story.

  • Product Bite: StrimGuard to protect young trees

    What is StrimGuard :

    StrimGuard_on_tree_with_strimmer_in_useStrimGuard is a unique product that addresses a specific need to protect trees from the age old problem of strimmer damage.

    It is important to clear long grass and weeds from around the base of young trees.  Otherwise they can sap nutrients from the plant and make it hard for the tree to get established. However strimming back grass and weed growth frequently results in accidental damage to the bark.  If the bark is damaged then this compromises the flow of water and nutrients to the upper part of the sapling. It can also leave open wounds which make the plant vulnerable to infection and mould.

    Where can I use it:

    Use it around the trunk of any young trees.  Simply wrap it around the foot of the tree and secure by clipping the ends together to provide vital protection against nylon strimmer wires, mice and other nibblers!  It comes in a pack of three and can be left in place on the trunk all season.  If you have a lot of trees though you could alwasy move it between trees when mowing.

    What's so special about it?

    Existing tree guards are not tough enough to withstand strimmer attacks!  This is specifically designed so you can strim with abandon to within an inch of the tree.

    Find out more: 

    See it in action: To see it in action head over to our YouTube channel StrimGuard

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Grow at Home:Nuts! Whole Hazelnuts

    Buy it Now:  See the full range here StrimGuard


  • Grow at Home: Carrots

    Growing Carrotsorange_purple_carrots_on_a_table

    There are few vegetables that taste better when they are home grown than carrots.  Freshly pulled, sweet and full of favour compared to what can be bland and watery 'shop bought' versions.  You don't need to stick to traditional orange either.  There are purple, yellow and white varieties to try and many shapes and sizes as well.

    Where to grow carrots

    Although they will grow in heavy clay, carrots do best on light sand soils where the drainage is good and root growth is not restricted.  The soil should be free of stones and not too rich - both will cause the carrot to 'fork' so avoid manuring ground you plan to sow carrots in next season.

    As with many crops, an open sunny site will suit carrots best.  Carrots also grow well in containers and Haxnicks do a specific Carrot Patio Planter.  The planter means that anyone can grow carrots even if they don't have a garden.  Plus no digging is needed which is a bonus, simply fill it with compost before planting your seeds.  


    Sow thinly outside from early spring or under cloches from late winter - Easy Tunnel would be ideal to keep them warm.  Plant around 1cm deep with 15-20cm between the rows.  If you make a new sowing every few weeks through to early summer you'll be well supplied throughout the year.

    In summer, begin sowing seeds for autumn and winter carrots.  Its best to do this at the latest  10 to 12 weeks before your average first frost date.

    If your soil is very heavy you may like to dig deep along the trench and loosen the soil with a mix of compost and some grit and then sow on top of this.

    Thin the seedlings to around 5 cm apart. Do this on a still evening to avoid attracting carrot flies and bury the thinnings deep in the compost heap to hide the smell.

    Another way to reduce the chance of carrot fly is to erect a fine-mesh barrier at the time of sowing – at least 70cm high. Check out our Micromesh Pest & Wind Barrier which will work for containers and open ground.  Or a Micromesh Tunnel - with 0.6mm netting will also keep the Carrot Fly from getting to your precious crop.


    Weed the crop regularly making sure not to disturb the roots too much.  A good mulch will help to retain moisture and keep the weeds at bay - keep the seedlings well watered in dry weather.

    Harvesting and storage

    Start to harvest from late Spring onwards - usually 7 - 8 weeks after sowing. Lift carefully with a fork rather than pulling, especially when the soil is dry.

    Maincrop carrots can be left in the ground and harvested as required.  Later in the year you may need to cover with straw of fleece as the temperature drops.

    Alternatively you can lift your crop in mid Autumn and store in a box of sand or dry potting compost.  Trim the foliage to 1cm and make sure the carrots are not touching. Stored in this way they should last throughout the winter.

    Pests and diseases

    The main pest is Carrot Root Fly which lays it's eggs on the plant and can destroy the whole crop.

    There are several ways to deter the fly:

    • A later sowing in early summer will avoid the main egg laying periods in late Spring and early Autumn
    • Lift early summer crops before the risk of infestation
    • Use a micromesh barrier around the crop - the carrot fly stays close to the ground and so will not approach the plants from above
    • Companion planting of strong smelling crops such as onion will mask the carrot smell which attracts the fly

    For more information on carrot flies and tips on how to get a successful crop see our Carrot Fly Blog

  • Grow at Home: Spinach

    Growing Spinach

    Spinach_seedlingsYou will have heard (maybe from the lips of the legendary PopEye) that spinach is super high in iron.  This, and the rumor that a scientist put the decimal place in the wrong spot thus multiplying the iron content by ten, both appear to be unsubstantiated and probably false.    However, spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C and folate as well as being a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2.  It is also tasty and versatile and can be used from smoothies to stir fries to salads. Oh, and its easy to grow!


    It is believed that the first spinach grew in Persia. In the Middle Ages it then moved east to Nepal and at the same time was introduced to Sicily.  Clever irrigation methods made this possible and its journey continued until it came to the notice of the ruling classes in Florence.  From there the young Catherine de Medici took it to Frnace when she was married to Henry II, King of France. All this was playing to spinaches strenghts as it much prefers a cooler climate  than the heat of Persia.

    Growing Spinach

    So spinach is a cool-weather crop.  It doesn't like daytime temperatures above 24 degrees C (75 degrees F). Good moist, sandy soil is best, encouraging rapid growth. When temperatures soar and daylight increases (as in the summer months), the plants will bolt and go to seed.  Which is why it is ideal to plant it a little later in the year to avoid having to watch over it for problems.

    Sowing & Harvesting

    Sow your seeds directly outside in their final positions from March to August. Sow them in shallow lines quite thinly. Cover them with poly tunnels or cloches to protect them and to encourage growth, you may also need a Slug-Buster.  If you don't have a large garden then spinach will also thrive in a container. Choose a Shallow vegetable planter -as spinach doesn't 't have long roots - and plant thinly exactly as you would outside.

    As the seedlings appear, thin them out to about 6-8” 15-20cm apart. You can pick the smaller more tender leaves when they are about 3” 7cm long and use them in salads, anything bigger than that should be cooked for a short amount of time and be eaten as a hot vegetable.

    Keep picking the leaves so that a) they don’t run to seed and b) they keep on growing.

    tiny_spinach_plants_in_groundPerpetual Spinach is the one that I always plant as you only need to plant one lot and it lasts for months and months, sometimes even years.  Very easy. Perpetual spinach is not actually spinach, it is actually a chard (beet family) but looks and is eaten in exactly the same way.  Well worth planting for a regular supply.

    It does require some maintenance as trimming the leaves frequently helps improve the flavour of Perpetual Spinach.

  • Grow at Home: Florence or Sweet Fennel

    Fennel the vegetable or Fennel the herb?

    There are two sorts of fennel: one is classed as a herb and the other a vegetable.

    bronze_fennelThe herb - Foeniculum vulgare- reaches up to about 1.5m (5 foot) tall.  It produces the leaves and seeds that you see in fish recipes.






    The vegetable - Foeniculum dulce - swells at the base to produce a vegetable with a strong aniseed flavour.  This is the one you can slice into your salad or smother in cheese sauce and bake into a delicious gratin.  This is the one we are talking about today.






    Growing Fennel

    Florence Fennel is a tricky customer. It thrives on warm, moist, fertile, sandy soils. However, it is prone to bolting and sensitive to day length.  You need to be on the ball with watering and make sure fennel is first in the queue so that it never dries out.  Otherwise, it will decide it needs to flower and bolt with lightening speed the moment your back is turned.  Always look for bolt resistant varieties to give yourself the best chance of success.


    Because of its sensitive to day length the best time to sow is in mid June for an autumn crop. You can try sowing earlier (April-May) but because of the shorter days and higher risk of a sudden temperature drop it is more likely to bolt.

    So, choose an open, sunny site and pray for a long, hot summer. If you are organised prepare the bed by adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter the winter before you plant.

    The plants dislike root disturbance and don't transplant well from standrd pots. However, sowing single seeds into Rootrainers will allow you to transplant without this root damage.  When your seedlings are established simply open the Rootrainer a little to take a peek at their roots.  Plant out when you see a good set of striaght roots. 

    Or you can plant seeds direct into the ground.  To do this water the soil really well first.  Then plant 15mm (½in) deep in rows 30cm (12in) apart. You can either, set three seeds together at intervals in a row and thin the seedlings to leave the strongest one. Or, you can sow seed thinly along a drill and thin after.  Whichever you choose, thin to 30cm (12in) apart in the rows when the soil is warm from May to July.

    If you are planting in June you should be fine but if you are planting early then use Bell Cloches or Easy Tunnels to protect seedlings from the weather.


    Water well throughout the growing season, keep weed free and mulch to conserve moisture.  Feed with high potassium fertiliser every two weeks once established.

    As the bulbs begin to swell from mid summer, you will need to earth them up (as you would with potatoes).  This will protect from early frost and leave you with blanched, tender white bulbs.

    Fennel will tollerate light frost, but will not survive outside through any but the mildest winter.


    fennel_with_vegIf you plant in late June then you sould be able to harvest your bulbs in mid to late October.  They will be ready for harvesting when the bulb is about 7-10cm (3-4in across).  Cut them 2.5cm (1") above the ground.  If you are lucky, they may sprout feathery shoots from the cut bulb.  You can use these as you would use herb fennel to flavour fish dishes etc.

    Pest & Diseases

    Bolting: Try and head it off at the pass by using only bolt-resistant varieties. Sow or plant at the correct time and keep the soil or compost moist at all times.  Don't let them go thirsty!

    Slugs and snails: These mini predators love fennel seedlings.  Use the usual Slug Buster beer traps or stage a midnight intervention and pick off any heading toward your plants.


  • Product Bites: natural bamboo Tunnel Hoops

    What are natural bamboo Tunnel Hoops:

    tunnel_hoops_aerofabricHaxnicks Bamboo Tunnel Hoops are sturdy curved bamboo that you can use to create your very own natural looking tunnel cloche.  No more unsightly blue plastric tubing or rusting metal hoops.

    What crop are they for:

    Use them for any crop that needs covering for protection from adverse weather such as wind, heavy rain or frost.  It will also protect against pests from slugs and snails, to birds, rabbits and the tiny critters like aphids.  Add your plant protection fabric of choice and your plants will be safe.

    Every garden is different so the advantage to using tunnel hoops is that you can make the tunnel the exact length you need it to fit your own particular beds.

    What's so special about Tunnel Hoops?

    For a start they aren't made of plastic.  So, they are great for the gardener who wants to take a more natural approach in their garden. 

    They can also be used with any fabric which makes them very versatile.  The fabric can be swapped as the plants' needs change during the year.  From Fleece to warm the soil prior to planting, to shade netting to keep off the sun on to Micromesh to keep out insects.  Simply drape the fabric over and secure with U-shaped fabric pegs to ensure that the fabrics stay grounded.

    Find out more: 

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use 4 Easy ways to grow in a wet summer

    Buy it Now:  See the full range here Bamboo Tunnel Hoops


  • Product Bites: Rapid Rootrainers & Compact Rapid Rootrainers

    What are Rapid Rootrainers:

    Compact RootrainersRootrainers are innovative planting cells.  And Rapid Rootrainers are a shorter version for plants that don't have very long roots.  They are the perfect start for nearly all plants and especially those that are sensitive to disturbance.  INot only is it great for the plants but it means that you don't waste compost filling space the roots won't need.

    The Rapid Rootrainers have 32 cells whilst the Compact Rapid Rootrainers have 20 cells for gardeners who want to grow slightly less.  Like all Rootrainers they come in openable 'books' so that the seedlings can be planted on without disturbing the roots.  The cells fit snuggly into a tray and there is a clear plastic lid that can be

    Root structure from Rapid Rootrainers cell. by Haxnicksused as a drip tray to water and then flipped over to turn the set up into a mini propegator.

    What crop are they for:

    Rapid_Rootrainer_plant_sowing_rootsRapid Rootrianers are ideal for bedding plants, salads and herbs, seeds, seedlings and cuttings.  They require less compost than ordinary pots.

    Deep Rootrainers are also available for deep rooted plants like beans, peas and sweet peas.  And Maxi Rootrainers are the biggest in the range, used for growing broad leaved trees.

    Where can I use them:

    They are great for the greenhouse, a window cill or with the lid on they can act as a mini-greenhouse if you want to use them outside.

    What's so special about them?


    Strong straight roots are a fundamental requirement of healthy and successful growth.

    The rectangular shape provides a greater surface area and the grooves allow more roots to develop on the outside of the plug. Plants are also easily extracted from the ‘open books’ without root disturbance providing the perfect plug plants.

    Rootrainers are well known and well loved by horticulturalists, commercial growers and all the best gardeners.

    Find out more: 

    See it in action: To see it in action head over to our YouTube channel Rootrainers

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Rootrainers What size cell to use  or Grow at Home: Container Gardening

    Buy it Now:  See the full range here Rootrianers


  • Product Bite: Bamboo Scoop

    What is the Bamboo Scoop:  

    new_prodcut_2019_bamboo_scoopThe Bamboo Scoop is a generously proportioned scoop for quickly filling pots, planters and seed trays.

    It is brilliant for planting seeds, potting on and even repotting.  It has a life span of 3 to 5 years and is biodegradable and fully home compostable after use.

    What's so special about it?

    The material we make the scoop from is its real selling point.   It is strong, sustainable bamboo with natural resin made from rice.  This material is free from petroleum-based plastics and BPA and a great way to help reduce plastic in the garden.

    Another great reason to use one of these is filling pots can be a very messy operation with it spilling off the trowel.  Holding 600ml at a time this wonderful sage green compost scoop will make the process simpler and far less messy.

    If you have a plastic scopp in your current kit then keep it until it wears out.   However, if you are muddling by using a trowel or need to replace your plastic scoop though - this is the best choice.

    Find out more: 

    See it in action: The scoop doesn't have its own video yet but it is made from the same material as our bamboo pots and seed trays.  You can find out more about it including how to dispose of it after use over on our YouTube channel Bamboo Range

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use New sustainable gardening tools

    Buy it Now:  See the full range here Bamboo & Sustainable Gardening


  • Grow At Home: Iceberg lettuce

    The key to growing lettuce, and Iceberg lettuce is no different,  is to plant at regular intervals.  This ensures that you have a regular supply throughout the summer.  Its a good idea to plant a variety of different lettuces too.  Today we are going to concentrate on Icebergs.

    Icerberg Lettuce

    The Iceberg lettuce is tightly packed with only the outer leaves seeing direct light,  This means that it is less green and therefore less nutritiious than a lot of other leaves.  So why grow it?  Well the best reason for growing it is for the crisp texture which gives it its other name "crisphead lettuce" and adds a little crunch to any salad.  The other excellent reason is that it keeps a lot better than many other lettuce.  It can last a month if properly stored in the fridge.  So a great one to grow toward the end of the year if you want to keep on eating your own food long after others have turned back to the supermarket.


    You can start sowing indoors from January to Spetember and transplant outside from April to October.  Sow around eight seeds in a small pot or seed tray. Place them in a cool space to help the seeds grow faster.  Once plants reach 8-10cm (3-4 inches) move the plants to their final place in your planter or garden.  

    Lettuce grow quite big so leave 30cm (12") between plants and rows.


    Compared to Cut and Come Agian leaves, iceberg lettuce is trickier to grow.  It bolts quite easily if you leave it too long. The plants are also easily affected by wind or cold, or too much or too little water.

    Finding a sheltered spot will help a lot with this.  So a raised bed with a raised edge or collar or a protective tunnel will help massively. Choose your tunnel carefully depending on what time of year you are planting.  When closed all offer pest protection but for soil warming and warmth for early season and frost protection then choose Easy Poly tunnel or Easy fleece tunnel  And for shading from hot sun to lessen bolting - Easy Net tunnel  


    Make sure you have some pest protectio in place  They are very tasty, especially when young, so the tunnel or cloche you are using to protect them from the wind will work here too.  It will prevent slugs, snails, birds and rabbits arriving en masse.   

    If there are large leaves dragging on the ground then remove these to deter snails etc. A SlugBuster beer trap is also a good idea.

    Water the lettuce often, it will help it grow and get nice and crispy. Use a liquid feed every copule of months too.


    Icebergs take between 50 and 90 days to grow.  When the head is large and feels tightly packed it is ready to cut.  Cut with a knife to harvest.

    A note of caution - take them inside and store as soon as you cut them.  If you leave them in the garden while you complete other jobs then they will wilt and you'll lose the crispness you grew them for.

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