Monthly Archives: April 2020

  • Product Bites: Haxnicks Strawberry & Herb Planter

    What are Strawberry and Herb Planters:

    strawberry_flowersThe Haxnicks Strawberry & Herb Planter is a large patio planter (40 Litres)  that has 8 planting pockets for your strawberries and herbs to grow from.

    It comes in a pack of two so you can have one for your strawberries and one for your herbs.  Or use both for strawberries if you love them as much as we do!


    What crop are they for:

    Any type of strawberries from small alpine ones to lovely big English summer strawberries.  Herbs such as thyme, chives, basil, mint - whatever you use most of. You could even plant Cut and Come Again leaves at the top and strawberry and herbs plants in the pockets to make the most of the growing space.

    Where can I use them:

    Haxnicks' Strawberry Patio PlanterYou can use them wherever you have 35cm x 35cm of spare space!  So just outside the back door, in a sunny spot by the shed, on your balcony or in your back yard.


    What's so special about it?

    The planter keeps you precious crop of strawberrins up off the ground away from all but the most determined slugs and snails.  (A simple Slug-Buster trap will prevent the rest making the climb) The spacing of the pockets mean that all the plants get enough air and light and you don't end up having to scrabble round on the floor to pick your fruit.  It is also easily moveable so you can simply turn it to ensure that all the fruit gets its share of the sun.

    Find out more: 

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

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Grow at Home: Super Strawberries 

    Buy it Now:  See the full range here Strawberry & Herb Planter


  • Product Bites: Down To Earth

    What is Down to Earth:  

    Down_to_Earth_book_open_coffee_mug_SpeedHoeDown to Earth, by Madeleine Cardozo, is a quality hardback book providing a practical step by step guide to growing a wide variety of vegetables.  It is suitable for anyone from beginners to experienced gardeners wanting to expand the range of veg they grow.

    What crop does it include:

    It covers 40 vegetables from the every day ones like potatoes, tomatoes and salads.  To the less often grown veg such as chicory, fennel and asparagus.

    What does it cover:

    It talks gardeners through from preparing the beds to harvesting the crops.  It also covers how to grow in pots and planters as well as in the ground.  And the best time to plant and harvest each crop.  Plus the odd recipe and serving suggestion.

    What's so special about Down to Earth?

    Down_to_Earth_book_openThe A to Z style makes it suoer easy to use.  No hunting in the index - you just turn to the veg you want to grow.

    Beautiful photography means it is equally good on the coffee table as in the potting shed.  It is the sort of book that will be passed down through the generations and makes an ideal gift for gardeners.

    Find out more: 

    Buy it Now:   Bamboo & Sustainable Gardening


  • How to Protect Carrots from Carrot Fly

    So what bugs eat carrots?  The answer is carrot flies.  You might think it is too early to think about carrot fly.  However, there is a lot you can do at the planting stage to ensure you get a healthy crop.  So well worth reading this now before you sow. With other veg you can wait until they are ready to fruit to use plant protection.  Carrots need neeting at an earlier stage and its no ordinary netting as carrot flies are tiny!

    If you have yet to experience that awful sinking feeling of lifting carrot after carrot riddled with dark crevices, tunnelled out by the dreaded carrot fly larvae, then consider yourself lucky. But for those of you that have, fear not! Haxnicks have been fighting various garden pests for over 20 years, and have picked up a few tricks along the way...


    How to protect your Carrots from Carrot Fly with Haxnicks
    Image courtesy of

    But first... some facts about carrot fly:

    • So where do carrot flies live? They live in bushes, hedges, trees and thrive on allotemnts where members of the carrot family are planted close together year after year.
    • Carrot fly also affects other vegetables in the parsley family, such as Parsnip, Celery, Dill, Coriander, Fennel and Celeriac
    • They are attracted to the smell of bruised foliage
    • The larvae that damage the roots can continue to feed through the autumn into winter, moving between plants
    • The adult carrot fly is approximately 9mm long.  It is a slender, metallic, greenish-black fly with yellow legs and head. Larvae are creamy white, tapering maggots

    How can you tell if your carrots are infected? - Check for reddening of the foliage and stunted growth

    So now we know a little bit about the pest itself, we can look at some of the ways which we can protect our crops from infestations:

    1.  Make sure to avoid using previously infested ground. Carrot fly larvae are capable of surviving through the winter.  So rotate your crops and avoid re-sowing any vegetable from the Parsley family (see above)
    2. Sow later to avoid sowing during the main egg-laying periods, which are (for most parts of the UK): mid-April to the end of May & Mid-July to the end of August.
    3. Sow disease and pest resistant varieties such as Fly Away F1 and Resistafly F1, available from garden centres and online seed suppliers.
    4. Erect a fine-mesh barrier at the time of sowing.  the imprtant factor here is How high do carrot flies fly?  And the answer is only around 40cm so a barrier at least 70cm high should do the trick. Check out our Micromesh Pest & Wind Barrier which will work for containers and open ground.  Or a Micromesh Tunnel - with 0.6mm netting it will keep the Carrot Fly from getting to your precious crop.
    5. Sow thinly so as to avoid ‘thinning out’, releasing the smell of bruised foliage
    6. Thin out or harvest on a dry evening with no wind – or use scissors so that no bruising of foliage occurs
    7. Try companion planting - we have been asked do marigolds deter carrot flyy.  the answer is Yes!  Growing varieties of pungent Rosemary, Alliums, Sage or Marigold provides a deterrent/’smokescreen’
    8. Grow your carrots in a tall planters - for example the Haxnicks Oxford fabric planter or Carrot Patio Planters
    9. Lift main carrot crops by Winter, especially if any are infected – don’t leave them in the ground to serve as food for overwintering larvae.

    Thinning out tip: Use scissors to avoid bruising the foliage (and releasing the carrot-fly attracting scent)

    To find out more about carrot fly, and the other pests that may arrive in your garden check out Pippa Greenwood's excellent RHS book for plant by plant advice on Pests and Diseases

    Have you any experience of carrot fly damage? What do you think went wrong? Please let us know your thoughts using the comments section below.


    FAQs on Growing carrots

    Can I eat carrots that have had carrot fly?  The answer is yes but you may not find them to be worth the effort.  They will be full of holes which you can cut away but you may find they are more hole than carrot!

  • Product Bites: Haxnicks Potato Planters

    What are Potato Planters:

    Potato Planters are the super easy way to grow potatoes.  A pack of 3 large planters with good drainage that make it easy to grow this kitchen staple.

    What crop are they for:

    Any type of potatoes from little salad ones to large baking types.  They take 40 Litres of compost and come in a pack of 3.  Each one will take 3 to 4 seed potatoes.

    Where can I use them:

    Use anywhere in the garden, patio, balcony or terrace.  They are 35cm in daimeter so you only need a tiny space to get growing.

    What's so special about it?

    Pink_potato_flower Potato flower

    They take all the hard work out of growing potatoes.  There is no digging to prepare the bed.  Simply fill them a third full to start and plant your seed potatoes.  Then as the plants emerge just cover them up again with compost. Repeat until the planter is full.  This is much easier to achieve in planters than in the ground where you have to dig large trenches.

    The other big advantage is at harvest time.  To harvest, spread out a large plastic sheet and tip the planter over onto it.  Search through the compost and you will find your lovely crop.   Much easier than having to dig the plants up and hunt for the crop.

    Find out more: 

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

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Grow at Home: Potatoes

    Buy it Now:  See them here Potato Planters


  • Grow at Home: 5 MORE veg that you can grow in pots

    If you liked the last blog 5 Veg that you can grow in a Pot or Planter then here is the second installment.  More suggestions for veg you can grow at home even if you don't have a garden.

    Garden Suppliers & Covid 19

    A note first about all those out there in the garden industry.  Garden Centres have been ordered to close and both they and the nurseries that supply them are suffering as a result.  Many are small, family run businesses and are having to think on the hoof and learn new tricks to save their businesses.

    So if you need supplies then do call your local centre.  Some are taking phone orders, many are delivering.   Some are even doing drive throughs with booked pick up times. So if you need stuff you can't get online like compost then try your local centre.  This blog covers growing from seed but there will also be veg plug plants out there in garden centres that will be wasted if not sold.   These will work just as well.

    On to those 5 veg....

    1) Spring Onions

    spring_onion_cutSpring Onions can be used in salads, sandwiches or stir fries so they are a useful crop to grow.  They don't have massively long roots so can be grown in a shallow or medium planter like the Oxford Planter. You can double up with a different crop.  For example, if you read last weeks blog (link above) then your spring onions could share a planter with your Cut and Come Again Leaves.

    Whatever pot you choose, just fill with compost to within about 1" (3 cm) of the top.  Then lightly scatter the seed over the surface and cover with 0.5" (1.5cm) of compost. Water gently to keep the soil moist and you'll soon see the plants emerge.  If plants look crowded then thin out a little and use the thininngs in salads or sandwiches.

    2) Beetroot

    4 beetroot_in_a_bunch_on_benchBeetroot is grown for the roots although you can eat the leaves - use them where you would use spinach.

    You need a 5 Litre pot for beetroot.  Take care when buying your seeds,  Choose a baby beet variety - smaller and bolt resistant for growing in a pot.  Larger varieties may become restricted by the pot and become woody as a result.  Beetroot seeds are actually clusters of 4 or 5 individual seeds so plant a single seed in your pot.  You will get a number plants.

    Sowing 2 weeks apart will give you a steady harvest of tender, golf ball size beet throughout the summer.  For full instructions on how to grow it see this blog Grow at Home: Beetroot

    3) Swiss chard

    Swiss chard is from the same plant family as beetroot.  But it is grown for the leaves. And what leaves they are!  With stems in jewel like colours these are sure to wow you when they start to grow.

    Chard is a very productive crop as it will produce new leaves when cut so one or two plants will provide nutritious leaves for a full season.  As it doesn't have deep roots this is another one for a shallow planter or an Instant Raised Bed

    Make a shallow drill in your planter around 0.5" (1.5cm) deep.  Sow seeds into it and cover lightly with soil.  Water well.  As seedlings start to emerge thin and use thinings in salads.  You should be able to start eating in around 10 weeks.


    4) Tomatoes

    The easiest type of tomato for a pot is a bush variety as these are small compact plants that need less support. These willl grow happily in a Tomato Patio Planter.  If you prefer to grow climbing varieties then these will need more support. A Tomato (Climbing) Patio Planter or Tomato Crop Booster Frame would both be ideal.

    Whichever sort you choose, tomatoes are easy to grow and well suited to pots providing they are fed.  So make sure you order tomato food from your garden centre when you order your planters, compost and seeds.

    For full details of how to grow tomatoes see this recent blog Grow at Home: Tomatoes

    5) Baby Carrots.


    Your pot needs to be quite deep for carrots.  The best varieties for pots are round, white or French carrots.  The French wil be the sweetest, the round the 'carrotiest' tasting and the white will actually grow about 5" (12cm).  A Deep Oxford planter would work well or a Raised Bed if you have the space.

    Carrots grown in the ground are often wonky as they have to negotiate stones and other obstacles in the soil.  The advantage of growing in pots is that you should get lovely straight carrots.

    For full instructions on growing carrots Grow at Home: Carrots


    I hope that this has inspired you to get growing.  Please comment if there are any crops you want more info on and follow us on Socail Media for further info.  Thanks for reading!

  • Product Bites: Easy Seedling Tunnel

    What are Easy Seedling Tunnels:

    Putting out a Haxnicks easy Seedling Tunnel.Easy Seedling Tunnels are mini growing tunnels for starting off seeds which;

    • Provide a cosy moist microclimate for germination and rapid seedling growth
    • Lock in moisture
    • Protect from harsh weather and pests
    • Warm the soil ready for sowing

    Easy Seedling Tunnels come in a pack of 3 and are made from tough U.V. stabilised polythene and galvanised steel hoops.  They are an inexpensive way to maximise sowing success. Seeds are far more likely to germinate and grow healthily in a warm, moist  environment protected from birds, and other pests.

    For those without a greenhouse or a spare windowsill to propagate seeds, the garden soil can be warmed using the tunnels.  This enables earlier sowing giving a longer growing season.

    What crop are they for:

    They are one of the most versatile bits of kit in the garden and can be used for virtually any seedlings.   So everythinng from your veg seeds to your border plants will thrive in the Easy Seedling tunnels.

    Where can I use them:

    They are suitable to use all over the garden.  Simply push into the soil where required.

    What's so special about it?

    One of the advantages of these particular tunnels is that they do not need ground pegs.  As with all Haxnicks tunnels, peg the steel hoops straight into the ground to keep the tunnel firmly in place.

    Another major advantage is that after use the tunnels fold up neatly for storage.  It you keep the original packaging then you can just fold them flat and hang on a nail in the shed until they are needed again next season. Then they can be reused again and again.

    Find out more: 

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

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Grow at Home: Winter Salad

    Buy it Now:  See them here Easy Seedling Tunnels


  • Grow at Home: 5 veg that you can easily grow in a Pot or Planter

    Veg in a Pot or Planter

    Its easy to gorw veg in a pot or planter but some veg are more suitable than others.  If you are new to gardening then the list below should contain the basics.  It will get you started but the key to growing veg is that if you don't like it then don't grow it!  You will be eating everything from your garden and we don't want that to be torture.  So feel free to skip any of these suggestions that you don't like...

    Home Schooling

    Growing veg is a perfect opportunity to enrich your Home Schooling Schedule.

    When some children answer the question "where do chips come from" with the answer "Sainsbury's" the time is right to act.  Growing your own veg show them what happens when Sainsbury's don't deliver any more.

    so the gardening ticks the science box but you can also

    • write out growing instructions or a poem about your plant (English)
    • draw pictures of the plants you are growing (Art)
    • Estimate and measure the growing plant (Maths)

    Soil v Compost

    If your soil is good and full of nutrients then you could fill your planters with this.  However, a safer bet is to use good multipurpose compost.

    Many Garden Centres are still delivering even though they have been forced to close at the moment by Lockdown.  (How strange it will be to re-read this blog in a few years time!)  Anyway, most Garden Centres are taking orders over the phone and delivering compost, slow release fertiliser and seeds.

    So - the first 5 veggies ( 5 more to come next week!)

    1) Cut and come again leaves

    container_grown_rocket_growingThese do exactly what the name suggests.  Rather than waiting for a whole head of lettuce to grow these leaves can be harvested and eaten as soon as they get to the size you want.  Rocket is one of the most common of these but the seeds are often sold as "Salad Leaves" .  They may  include plants such as Japanese Greens, Arugula, Rucola, Oriental Mustard, Pak Choy, Borecole.  They grow fast so you wil lbe eating them in around 3 weeks.

    These will grow in whatever pot you have.  From a 6" Plant pot on your window cill to a Shallow Oxford Planter.  The plants don't have deep roots so no need to waste compost filling a deep planter.

    Once you have chosen your planter fill it with compost and sow seeds according to the packet instuction.  You may want to sow them every week to ten days to keep a regular supply up.  You can get three or more harvests from each sowing as they will regrow once cut.

    2) Lettuce

    Lettuce does not need much room so great for container growing.  Perfect for a window cill.

    Like cut and come again, lettuce don't have deep roots so a shallow planter  - about 6" (15cm) - will work well.  Make sure it has good drainage.

    Sow your lettuce seeds onto the surface of your compost and cover with a fine layer of compost as the seeds need light to germinate.   If you want to grow a whole head of lettuce then sow and thin to the spacings recommended on the packet.  If you want to eat as cut and come again then you can simply scatter over the surface.

    3) Radishes

    container_grown_baby_radish_in_ladies_handThese are a love them or hate them thing.  But I will say that freshly picked homegrown radishes are much tastier and crunchier than shop bought ones.

    They can be planted from January to September so its hardly ever the wrong time to plant radishes.  They take approx 4 weeks for sowing seed to harvest so its a great one for anyone impatient.

    Again your contianer needs to be around 4" to 6" (10cm to 15cm) deep and have good drainage. As a guide a planter with a diameter of 16" will be Ok for around 5 radishes.  Plant them around 1" ro 2" (2 to 4cm) apart according to the packet instructions.

    4) Peas & Beans

    Pea and bean container planterPeas and beans work very well in pots and planters.  There are two types of beans - climbers like Runner Beans and smaller bush varieties like Dwarf French Beans.  If you are growing a climber then you will need a pot large enough to take a plant support such as a wigwam made from bamboos canes.

    The planter you use has to be bigger than for the salad leaves.  If you are really short of space then a 5L Vigoroot pot with a Water Saucer will allow you to grow a runner bean in a 5L pot.  If you have a little more space then the Pea and Bean Planter holds 6 bean plants in the space of little bigger than a tea tray.  It has pockets to slot your canes into so makes it easy to support them.  This planter allows those with just a balcony or very little outside space to enjoy a summer's worth of home grown beans.

    If you want to Dwarf Beans then a  Medium Oxford planter will work

    For full instructions on how to grow beans check out this blog: Grow at home: Green Beans

    Whichever you grow, peas and beans will stay productive longer if harvested vigourously, the more you pick the more you get!

    5) Potatoes

    potato_container_plantersYou will be surprised how easy these are to grow and how gorgeous the flowers are!  These need a big pot or planter - around 40L .  Potato planters are inexpensive and can be used year after year.  However, if you can't get hold of any, potatoes can be grown in an old compost sack provided you ensure that they have enough drainage.

    The good news is that growing potatoes in a planter is far less back breaking than growing in the ground.  There is no digging to prepare the bed - simply fill the Potato Planter with compost.  And when you come to harvesting just tip it over and collect your potatoes.

    For full instructions on growing potatoes check out this blog Grow at Home: Potatoes

    That's all for this week but we will be showing you 5 more easy to grow veg next week.  If you do decide to grow some veg then we would love to see your progress os please share with us on Soical Media.


  • Product Bites: 5" & 6" biodegradable Bamboo Pots

    What are Bamboo Pots :


    Bamboo Pots are ordinary pots made out of an extraordinary material. They are made from sustainable bamboo fibre, rice starch and resin made from naturally occurring organic compounds. This material is free from petroleum-based plastics and BPA.

    They last 3 to 5 years and are biodegradable.  So, after use you can dispose of them on their home compost heap.  Composting may take 6-12 months. Breaking the products into small pieces before adding them to your compost heap will help speed up this process.

    They are part of a rangle including 3", 4", 8" pots and saucers as well as Plant markers and a Plant Scoop.


    What crop are they for:

    The 5" and 6" can be used wherever you would have previously used a plastic pot.  So, they are suitable potting on or starting off many veg plants.  They are also perfect for small house plants.  And ideal for herbs such as mint so you can have it available there on the kitchen window cill ready for use in cooking.

    Where can I use them:

    They are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.  These soft colours and the finish on pots will look just as good with herbs on a kitchen windowsill as in the greenhouse.

    What's so special about it?

    BAMBOO_POTS_+SAGE_GREEN_CLOSEuP_MANS HANDBamboos are some of the fastest-growing plants in the world.  Some species can grow 91cm in a 24-hour period, a rate of almost 4 cm an hour.  This makes the core material truly sustainable.

    It’s estimated that 500 million plastic plant pots are sold every year. The majority are sent to landfill or are incinerated – very little is recycled and there are few facilities to do so. A large amount of fossil fuel is used in the production of plastic pots, and they take around 500 years to decompose.

    Find out more: 

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

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Grow at Home: Avocados

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


  • Product Bites: Soft tie - the original and best plant tie

    What is Soft Tie :

    Soft_Tie_tying_cane_tipeetipeeSoft Tie is a reusable, soft, strong plant tie for a multitude of garden uses.  It comes in two widths; Original and Slim.

    Original - designed for use with the thinner, more delicate stems of climbing annuals, young vegetables and shrubs, tall perennials and houseplants

    Slim Soft Tie - superior cushioning and strength and is the perfect choice for tying up plants that are heavily-laden with growing crops, or for tying up the thicker stems of trees, shrubs, roses, large climbers and fruit bushes.

    What crop is it for:

    It can be used for everything from fruit and veg to flowers and trees.

    Supporting young trees:  the ideal size to support branches it cushions rather than strangles.

    Supporting fruiting trees : particularly useful for heavily laden branches it has the strength to hold the weight, and the gentleness to not cut into the bark.

    Training the new growth of climbers and ramblers from Roses to Runner Beans : Starting with a small loop that encircles the shoot, but does not constrict it in any way, the ends can be firmly tied around the frame or support. The tie will now be immoveable, but the shoot will be able to grow through the loop without being impeded.

    Tall plants : Delphiniums, Gladioli,  Sunflowers, Hollyhocks and Foxgloves need to be able to bend with the wind, but when tied to canes they can chop themselves off at the tying point. Soft-Tie’s hard wire core allows it to be bent into a ring that is large enough to let the plant wave about in the wind, but the soft sleeve stops the wire bruising or cutting the stem.

    Where can I use it:

    It can be used in all manner of ways, not just to support plants. Keeping electric cables tidy, hanging pots, tying canes, emergency bicycle clips, temporarily securing drain pipes.  The list is endless!

    Soft-Tie™ is easy to secure with a simple twist.  No knot knowledge required! And can be cut with a sturdy pair of scissors.

    What's so special about it?

    Woody_Soft_Tie_around_plantSoft-Tie™ can do any job that garden twine or string can but with greater strength, more gently and it can be used again and again. Unlike copy-cat versions Haxnicks Soft-Tie™ is made from superior quality materials which last longer and perform better. The steel wire is galvanised so it won’t rust and it is thicker than competitor versions making it stronger. The rubber coating is UV stabilised.  It is also made to a specific formula which makes it just the right squidgyness !

    Find out more: 

    See it in action: To see it in action head over to our YouTube channel here for an amusing video sure to inspire! Soft Tie

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Introducing Soft Tie

    Buy it Now:  


    For thinner, more delicate stems of climbing annuals, young vegetables and shrubs,.  Also for tall perennials and houseplants.   Original Soft tie or Woody Original Soft Tie

    Slim Soft Tie

    Stronger for heavily-laden plants with growing crops.  Or for tying thicker stems of trees, shrubs, roses, large climbers and fruit bushes.   Slim Soft tie or Woody Slim Soft Tie


  • Product Bites: Tomato Crop Booster

    What is the Tomato Crop Booster:

    Haxnicks_Tomato_crop_booster_frame_with_cover_on_patioThe Tomato Crop Booster is a frame specifically designed for supporting tomato plants.  Properly supported plants put more of their energy into growing fruit and as a result give bigger yields.


    Tomatoes thrive in a warm atmosphere so a poly cover can be bought separately to turn your Tomato Crop Booster into a mini greenhouse. The cover unzips to allow easy access to the plants and has vents at the side to provide ventilation on  warmer days or you can remove it completely.

    What crop is it for:

    Tomatoes of any description but most useful for the Indeterminate or Cordon varieties that can get very heavy and need more support.

    Tomatoes are great to grow now because they are such productive plants that can really help to feed the family. Especially if you only have a small amount of space like a balcony or patio.

    Growing anything is also a great lockdown boredom buster and a fun thing to do with children uder the guise of homeschooling!

    Indeterminate or Cordon varieties

    This is your typical, tall tomato plant.  They have a single long stem and usually grow up canes or twine up to 6' (1.8m) in height.  Cordon varieties produce side shoots which need to be removed, as they appear.  If they aren't removed they will grow into large lateral branches leaving a tangled plant with a lower yield of ripe fruit.

    Where can I use it:

    You can use the Crop Booster either in your garden or allotment or on a patio or balcony.

    What's so special about it?

    Tomato_Crop_Booster_clips_and_bars_close_upThe key to this frame is the way it supports the branches with easily moveable bars.  The bars are attached with easy to move clips.  So, as the plant grows you can simply unclip and reclip to move the supporting bars without having to fiddle round with bits of string.  The branches also rest gently on the bars.  So there is no chance of them getting restricted by ties and getting damaged as a result.  This is helpful in avoiding disease too.  Scrapes and cuts caused by constricting ties can leave wounds where disease can get into the plant.

    Find out more: 

    See it in action: To see it in action head over to our YouTube channel here Tomato Crop Booster Video

    Related Blogs:  Read about it in use Grow at Home tomatoes

    Buy it Now:  

    Tomato Crop Booster Frame

    Tomato Crop Booster Cover

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