• Speed Hoe comes top of the class

    The highly respected publication Garden News has conducted a trial of slicing hoes.  According to Geoff Hodge, writer, broadcaster and product guru, The Haxnicks SpeedHoe has come out top of the class.

    The Hoes

    The hoes were tested for quality, comfort, performance and value for money.  The SpeedHoe got 5 stars on all counts.  It was especially noted for how sharp the edges were all round it, greatly increasing the ease of use.  As a result it beat off stiff competition from bigger brands with big price tags to be crowned the best slicing hoe in the trial.  As much as other hoes had their benefits they all scored less in at least one area.  One proud owner commented that it was "the best hoe on earth" and we aren't going to disagree with her.

    Read the full article below to understand more,  Furthermore if you want to make sure you are receiving the best possible gardening advice every week then you can subscribe here Garden News magazine.

    Garden News Magazine review of hoes trial in which the Haxnicks SpeedHoe came top The full article


  • Broad bean experiment: did it work?

    How to Grow early Broad Beans with Vigoroot Pots, Growlite Coir and Water Saucers

    I have an update for those of you following my early broad bean experiment (Original blog post).  Firstly to recap, this is a new and rather different method of growing broad beans in Haxnicks Vigoroot Pots, Growlite and Water Saucers.

    Broad beans in Haxnicks Vigoroot Pots Beans have started to grow

    You will recall I sowed the beans in December.  Possibly much too early for broad beans but I like to experiment.  Then I kept them permanently indoors on large, bright windowsills. They must have liked the conditions as they soon began to grow.

    The Haxnicks Water Saucers meant watering was a fortnightly task so very low maintenance.  I just checked the water reservoir and topped up as needed.  The integrated wicks did their job taking the water and food directly to the plant on demand.


    The next challenge was the lack of pollinators in the house, and generally around this early in the year.  So I stepped in with my soft paint brush and gently dusted the flowers to transfer the pollen.  Then it was a waiting game to see if the pollination had worked.

    Paint brush being used to pollinate broad beans Delicate touch to pollinate the flowers

    Pretty soon the flowers fell away and the swelling of the bean pods could be seen.  As often happens with these experiments we didn't quite get it right.  We didn't pollinate quite as many flowers as we should have done meaning that the crop is a little smaller than expected. Still enough to make a great meal, with more to follow, and we now know that we just need to do a bit more brush work next time.


    Young broad beans pods growing on a plant The broad beans starting to grow
    Young broad beans pods on a broad bean plant More broad beans growing







    Broad bean pods on bean plants Broad bean pods almost ready for picking

    In conclusion the experiment was a success and it is possible to have home grown broad beans on your table by May 1st.

    The only thing left now is to make the huge decision between simply drenching them in luscious melted butter or trying something  new like Olive Magazine's Broad Bean and Mint Panzanella with burrata  

    Decisions, decisions!


  • How to get an Allotment

    Is an allotment for you? Whether it's the government's urgings for us to all eat more fresh fruit and veg and get more exercise, a growing awareness that the taste of supermarket-bought products cannot compare with that of just-picked, home-grown produce, or there's something in the soil, more and more of us want to join the grow-your-own club. But if you don't have a garden, where do you grow? There hasn't been such a demand for allotments since the days of Victory Gardens in and just after WWII. So how do you go about getting one?

    The first step is to contact your local council. The majority of allotments are run by the local authority, which allocates plots and manages the waiting list. They should provide a list of sites and an idea of how long the waiting list is - for believe me, you will almost certainly have to wait. Some urban sites have so many people wanting for a plot that by the time you are offered a few poles (a standard, full allotment being 10 poles, or around 6 x 60 metres), you'll be tottering around with a Zimmer frame as you water the tomatoes.

    A standard, full allotment = 10 poles, or around 6 x 60 metres

    Some councils will refer you to a neighbouring local authority which has more sites. Others will provide contact details of chairmen or secretaries of allotment associations (for nearly all allotments are an association or a society) which allocate plots themselves.

    Haxnicks Garden Products can be brought online

    Ways around it

    But if the waiting list is too long and you want to get digging,.. There are a few other things you can do.  Contact some secretaries of nearby allotment sites and ask if they knew of any plot-holder who is finding it difficult to keep up.  it often happens due to age or infirmity.  Offer to help in return for a share of the crop. The person you help will be eternally grateful, because anyone who does not keep their plot up to scratch will almost certainly be asked to leave. Age Concern has initiated a similar scheme matching would-be grow-your-owners with elderly people who can't manage their gardens, which could be the next best thing to an allotment.

    Age Concern has initiated a scheme matching would-be grow-your-owners with elderly people who can't manage their gardens

    An awful lot of community growing initiatives are springing up around the country, too. The council should know of any in your area. These usually involve shared growing spaces on derelict or otherwise unused land; everyone working the 'plot' shares the results. It's not the same as an allotment.  But it will give you a chance to learn a little about growing your own.  It will also let you find out if you actually like it.

    And the time waiting for your own plot can be well-spent learning as much as you can about successful home growing.  From books, television shows, Gardener's Question Time and magazines, not least Your Allotment!

    Marcia MacLeod is the, Editor for 'Your Allotment' Magazine.  Your Allotment covers allotments in north London, but offers practical advice and information for allotmenteers everywhere. Check out for more details.

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