Monthly Archives: December 2018

  • Lush Leftovers: Soy, Chilli Brussels Sprouts with leeks & carrots

    I'm thinking you will have leftover sprouts from christmas dinner to use up so here is a lovely quick recipe.  Years of careful breeding mean that sprouts are no longer as bitter as they once were and this new sweetness, combined with the honey and soy might just convert sprout haters.  If you can get them to try it...

    Ingredientsbrussel_sprouts_on_plant

    • 250g (8oz) Brussels sprouts, halved
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 leek, finely sliced
    • 1 small onion finely sliced
    • 2cm (1in) piece fresh ginger, finely sliced
    • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
    • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely sliced (or used chilli flakes or dried chilli to taste if you don't have fresh)
    • 1 large carrot, grated
    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tsp clear honey
    • 150g (5oz) dried noodles

    Method

    1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the sprouts and cook for 5 minutes, or until just softened. Drain and rinse under cold water. Pat dry and set aside.  If your sprouts are already cooked then miss this step out and skip to step 2.  You may wish to leave them whole rather than halving them if they are already quite soft.
    2. Cook the noodles according to pack instructions and run under cold water and set aside.  Or you can use 'straight to wok' ones if you have these to hand.
    3. Put the oil in a wok over a medium high heat. Add the leek and onion and cook for 3 minutes, or until softened. Add the sprouts, stir-fry for 2 minutes more, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli. Stir-fry for a further minute, until fragrant, then add the carrot.  Stir fry for 1 minute more then add the soy sauce and honey. Toss to combine.
    4. Add the noodles and stir-fry until combined and heated through. Serve.
  • Make it a very Merry Christmas for the gardener in your life...

    Here comes Christmas, the offices are festooned with decorations and everyone is starting to get excited!

    For the serious gardener, pretty much any Haxnicks product makes a cracking present.  For those of you who are still struggling to complete that oh so challenging gift list, I thought I'd highlight the best that we have to offer when it comes to getting the perfect present.

    You'll find everything on our website, just use the links or tap in the name in the search box.

    Bell_Cloches_in_3_sizesHaxnicks Bell Cloches King Size, Original or Baby  are a popular gift item, being aesthetically pleasing AND very practical.  Whether sitting over a prized plant in the garden deterring pests, cats, children and any number of other hazards or keeping out the frost and howling wind these bells will always make an original and successful present.

     

     

    Haxnicks_veg_sacks_with _cane_toppers_christmas_present

    How many times do you receive gifts that you will never use?  Gifts that are pretty quickly shoved to the back of a cupboard or given swiftly to charity?  We are all being asked to buy less so why not buy something you know will be used and enjoyed?

    Here's an idea: With a trend towards natural wrapping rather than 'glittery' wrapping paper that can't be recycled, the Haxnicks Vegetable Sacks double as wrapping and a gift.  Stuff full of gardening related stocking fillers. Add a reusable bow and you'll have a hit on your hands and somewhere to store your spuds come autumn.

    A little knowledge?

    Down_to_earth_gardening_book_madeliene_cardozoA gardening book will keep giving year after year. 
    Down to Earth 
     is a practical veg growing guide that covers the most common household favourite as well as some less often grown choices.  Beautifully photographed it is as at home on the coffee table as in the potting shed.  It makes an ideal present for the novice or the experienced gardener wishing to expand their range.

    New & different?

    wrapped_veg_with_bamboo_pots_and_christmas_treeIts always nice to be the first to have something so make them the envy of their gardening chums with Haxnicks Bamboo Pots, Saucers and Seed trays.  These are new and different and make a great gift.

     

     

    Hampers

    Pea_growing_hamperHow about a Christmas present and New Year's resolution all rolled into one?  Does your other half yearn to eat their own potatoes at Christmas Dinner 2019?  Is a planter full of fresh peas or beans on their 'to do' list?  Making up a hamper couldn't be easier - Rootrainers, planters, cane toppers, soft tie, veg sacks  Some things they will already have but add the things they don't and they will be ready to go once the weather warms up.

    Finally a great reason for choosing a gardening gift is that you can get it at a Garden Centre.  There is nowhere more Christmassy than a good Garden Centre.  So you will get your fill of Christmas spirit with loads of parking and its open right up until Christmas

     

    Haxnicks_Stocking_fillers

     

    Happy Christmas from all at Haxnicks, and we look forward to seeing your growing projects in the New Year.

  • Bamboo, sustainability and the environment

    Bamboo_pots_on_windowcillHaxnicks and the Environment

    We are using bamboo pots and seed trays as a sustainable alternative to plastic.
    At Haxnicks we care about the environment and the environmental impact of our products. We are keen to do all we can to protect the environment at the same time as bringing new, practical and genuinely useful products to gardeners.

    For many years Haxnicks has specialised in developing plant protection products that help to avoid the use of chemical pesticides.  Pesticides can be harmful to the environment and we hope that this has had some positive effect. We use plastics in many of our products.  However, we avoid the production of ‘single-use’ products.  We are also continually exploring new technologies to find natural and sustainable alternatives.

    Our range of Bamboo Pots and Seed Trays are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastic pots.  Whilst there are many advantages of using bamboo as an alternative material, we also need to be aware of any environmental concerns arising from the production of these items as well as the inevitable carbon footprint of production processes and transportation.

    These pots are part of a journey toward a more sustainable way to garden and whilst they are not perfect they are better than what came before.

    The Current Industry

    It is estimated that 500 million plastic plant pots are sold every year.  The majority of these end up in landfill or incinerated.  Very little is recycled and there are few facilities to do so.  production of these petrochemical plastic pots involves a large amount of fossil fuel .  Added to this they take around 500 years to decompose. Meaning that every pot that was ever sent to landfill is currently still there.

    Sustainability of Bamboo

    Much of the bamboo we make our products from is offcuts of the furniture industry so is using up a waste product.

    Bamboo is the largest member of the grass family. It is the fastest growing woody plant in the world growing up to 35 metres tall. New shoots can reach their full height in just eight to ten weeks.  Then reach full maturity in three to five years. The high growth rate of bamboo and the fact that it can grow in diverse climates makes the bamboo plant a sustainable and versatile resource. However, we want to know that our part in the worldwide demand for bamboo does not impact on other native species. We have visited the forests and in the areas where our bamboo grows and have seen no signs of this as yet.

    Harvesting most crops such as timber leaves the soil bare after harvesting. Being a grass, after each cut bamboo regenerates just like a lawn without the need for replanting.  Regular harvesting benefits the health of the plant. Studies have shown that felling canes leads to vigorous re-growth and an increase in the amount of biomass the next year.

    Bamboo grows very densely.  Its clumping nature means a lot grows in a comparatively small area, easing pressure on land use. Average yields for bamboo are around 60 tonnes per hectare whilst for most trees average yields are around 20 tonnes.

    The extensive root system of bamboo and the fact that it is not uprooted during harvesting means bamboo helps preserve soil and prevent soil erosion. The bamboo plant's root system creates an effective watershed, stitching the soil together along fragile river banks, deforested areas and in places prone to mudslides.

    Bamboo minimises CO2 and generates up to 35% more oxygen than equivalent stands of trees. One hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.  While one hectare of young forest only sequesters 15 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

    Bamboo and water

    Very little bamboo is irrigated.  Bamboo uses water very efficiently which means it is able to handle harsh weather conditions such as the droughts, floods and high temperatures.  These conditions may well become more prevalent as a result of global warming.

    Bamboo grows prolifically without the need for chemical fertilisers and irrigation. It is likely that some bamboo farmers use fertilisers to increase growth.  This practice is much less common with bamboo than with most other crops, and we have not seen this in the areas where we work.

    Our bamboo products come from China, where the bamboo grows.  The finished products move by sea to various countries worldwide. Compared to other transport methods like air, sea has a relatively low carbon impact.  It is not perfect but it is a step in the right direction away from petrochemical plastic pots.  We continue to look at the materials we use and will source locally where practical.

    Child labour

    PRC (China) labour law prohibits the employment of children under the age of 16 yrs. However, evidence points to child labour still in certain industries. The US International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) has investigated Child Labour for 25 years and publish a list of known ongoing occurrences worldwide. In China there are lists containing various industries such as cotton, textiles, Fireworks but not bamboo. Burma is the only country where the ILAB list includes bamboo. We have visited various bamboo plantations in the region where we work.  We have not seen any use of child labour or poor working conditions.

  • Hold onto Autumn and use your stored pumpkin for this lovely recipe...

    Autumn_Leaf_in_leaf_litterLashing rain from frequent storms makes it feel like Autumn is over.  In Greek mythology, Autumn began when Persephone was abducted by Hades to be the Queen of the Underworld. In distress Persephone's mother, Demeter who was goddess of the harvest, caused all the crops on Earth to die until her daughter was allowed to return, marking spring.

    I think maybe it is more to do with temperatures dropping and chlorophyll in leaves declining allowing us to see the other chemicals present but it's a nice story!

    Regardless of its origins Autumn is when the mercury drops and we can think of soup.  Lovely thick soup, warm chunky bread and melting butter. And if you have pumpkins stored in your Haxnicks Veg Sacks  its time to get one out an warm up the advancing winter.

    And what better ingredient than pumpkin?  It is perfect for adding body and a creamy texture to soup.  It is also low in saturated fat, very low in cholesterol and high in fibre not to mention it packs a punch in cold fighting super heroes like Vitamin C.    An all round super food so here is my very simple to make take on the recipe.

    Pumpkin Soup

    Preparation: 30 – 35 minutes Cooking time: 45 – 55 minutes Serves: 6 – 8

    Ingredients:pile_of_pumpkins

    2lbs (900g) pumpkins

    2 medium sized onions

    2 tbs olive oil

    1 1/2 pints (700ml) stock

    6 floz (150ml) double cream

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Sprig of parsley to decorate

     

    Directions:

    1. Chop and fry the onions gently with the olive oil in a pan large enough to take the entire soup.
    2. Deseed and chop the pumpkin into little chunks, add these to the frying pan. Cook gently stirring occasionally for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
    3. Add the stock, salt and pepper and bring to the boil for about 10 minutes.
    4. Add the cream and boil again.
    5. Now put the whole lot into the liquidiser and whizz until smooth.
    6. Serve with a few parsley leaves placed on top, hot, with delicious fresh bread on a cold winters day.

    For a printable PDF click here Pumpkin Soup 

     

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