Thursday, 21 March 2019

Rock Dust and 'Food Unwrapped'

Channel 4's 'Food Unwrapped' will soon be running a feature on 'Grow Your Own', which is due to include references to increasing the carbon content of the soil and the role that volcanic rock dust can play in helping to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

This double benefit, removing harmful CO2 from the air and locking it into the soil to improve fertility, is the subject of ongoing experiments by the Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation (LC3M).  Follow links from our website 'Rock Dust Page' at http://www.blackberrylane.co.uk/rockdust.html  or go direct to http://lc3m.org/  They call the process of applying volcanic rock dust to soil 'enhanced weathering'.

We have been using rock dust for several years, simply to improve the quality of our soil.  The possibility of doing a little to reduce the effects of global warming at the same time is an extra bonus!

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Prices rising 25th March !

Just a little advance warning:  We shall be increasing our retail prices with effect from 25th March, when the new UK postal rates come into force.

In fact, this year, there are only very small increases on small parcels and no increase at all on the larger Parcelforce ones, so that is very welcome GOOD NEWS !

On the downside, though, is the continuing uncertainty over exchange rates, which directly affects all our Glaser tools, the EarthWay range and the Ho-Mis from South Korea.  If and when the exchange rates stabilise in favour of the £ Sterling, then rest assured that we shall be able to adjust our prices downwards again, as we have done before.

For the first time in several years, Glasers in Switzerland have needed to increase their prices because of the upward trend of global steel prices, and BroadFork prices have suffered from the same effect.

Our margins remain pretty tight but we shall endeavour to keep them that way in order to keep prices as reasonable as we can.

We expect to change the prices on our website overnight on 24th / 25th March, so please plan ahead and save by ordering before then.  If we get a last-minute rush, then we shall honour the lower prices but will need some time to catch up, so it will help us to help you if you are able to order before the deadline.

Thanks.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

BroadFork Feedback

Pete Dollimore's glowing review from December 2016 has a page of its own, but we thought it would be good to start a page of shorter comments from other customers who have been using their BroadForks, so here it is!

We continue to be amazed by the nearly world-wide reach of these simple and effective tools.  Apart from the UK, we have sent BroadForks to:– Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, France, Ireland, Spain, Chile, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Czech Republic, South Africa, Italy, Austria and Portugal – so far!!

When, back in 2009, Phil (above) went to Malcolm, his local blacksmith, to ask him to make a BroadFork for him, taking the specification out of Eliot Coleman's The New Organic Grower, he can have had no idea how successful they would be.  Many, many thanks to Phil, and all credit to Malcolm for producing such a sturdy piece of kit!

Some of these enquiries have come straight from simple web searches but an increasing number seem to come from recommendations.  Certainly, we have found the real benefits of using our own BroadFork and would still be recommending them even if we weren't selling them!

So, here are the first comments.  If you have some BroadFork experience you would like us to share on this page, please just email us.

David Horton (February 2019) says: "I know I've said this before, your broad fork is a brilliant tool.  I'm making a new veg patch, compacted ground. Broad fork  followed by devon spade is so much easier than just the spade.  Thank you, it is not a tool that I use a lot, but it is a very effective bit of kit. "Right tool for the right job" where it makes a hard job a lot easier."

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

EarthWay Seeder / Spreader EVS2750

Several times over the last couple of years, customers have asked us whether we supply these broadcast seeders as well as the EarthWay 1001-B Precision Garden Seeder.

We have been able to supply them by having the seeder sent from the UK importers, but inevitably there has been a little delay while this is arranged.

Now we have decided to have a few in stock, so that we can supply without that delay.

They will be on our website soon and our price is competitive:  £70.40 including UK postage.

This is a really versatile broadcast seeder which can also be used for spreading – whether that is granular fertiliser, etc., or salt/grit to de-ice paths and other hard surfaces.

For more information, see the EVS2750 page on the  EarthWay website .

If you can't wait for us to get this on our website, just email us and we can arrange to send you a payment link. 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Website security

If you use the Google Chrome internet browser (as we do) you will have noticed that the URL address bar now shows 'secure' or 'not secure' (near the top left hand corner of your screen).

Initially, the 'not secure' warnings only showed if the website had no security protection and there were 'fields' on the website which requested input like passwords or other personal details.

More recently, however, the warnings have started appearing on ALL unprotected sites, even if there are no fields which request input.

Our own website is unprotected, but this does not mean that your information is at risk.

Why not?  

Simply because our site does not ask you for any information at all.

When you choose to buy any item from our site, you are taken to the PayPal website, which IS secure.  PayPal takes your payment details and processes them, then notifies us of your name, email address, phone number and delivery address, plus (of course) details of what you have bought.  NO OTHER information is passed to us.

So, please do not worry about visiting our site (or any other) which shows 'not secure'.  Just make very certain that you are on a secure site whenever you are asked to input any personal information, especially regarding credit cards or other financial details.

If you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.  07792 592068  blackberrylane.co.uk@gmail.com

Sunday, 29 July 2018

LEFT - HANDED Ho-Mis are here!

That's the left-handed one on the left . . .
A few months ago, one of our customers asked us whether there was a left-handed version of the Ho-Mi.  As a left-hander himself, Nick had found that the balance of the ordinary Large Ho-Mi didn't quite seem right.

We didn't know the answer, so we emailed the manufacturer in South Korea.  Yes, he said, they DO make a left-handed version, but only in small numbers and only to order.  The price would be a little higher as a result.

Then, a little later, he sent us a free sample of the left-handed Large Ho-Mi.  So what did we do with it?  Sent it to Nick, of course!

Nick's immediate response was "Initial impressions - weighting of the tool makes a lot more sense, as it has a kind of twist to it that doesn't translate when using in your off-hand."  Sounds good to me!

So, we went ahead and ordered some and they arrived a few days ago.

So now, all of you right-handers who have been enjoying using your Large Ho-Mis and trying (maybe unsuccessfully) to get your left-handed friends to try them, you can point them to our Ho-Mi page where they can get one for themselves!

When we told Nick about the new shipment of Left-Handed Ho-Mis, and that we had already had an enquiry from Germany, this was his response: 
"Thanks Dave, 
Just to reiterate; the weighting of the tool makes this a pleasure to use, particularly in raised beds - for those of us who like getting "up close and personal" with things.
Definitely a perfect gift for the left-handed gardener who's fed-up of using tools upside-down!  Experiment with the grip to find the most comfortable point - that's the best angle. 
Glad to hear you've already had some interest.  Nick"

P.S.  Ironically, when we first started selling Ho-Mis, we were living on our narrowboat and so had no garden to try them out, so we gave one to some 'land-lubber' gardening friends to see how they liked it.  Their response was a little lukewarm and we didn't understand why.  We only found out later, once we had realised that Ho-Mis are 'handed', that both those friends are left-handed!  Oops!

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Glaser Stirrup Hoes - fixing bolts


In the last year or so, we seem to have had rather more customers contacting us about their Glaser stirrup Hoes, because the 10mm headless bolt has snapped that fixes the Oscillating Block of the Stirrup Hoe to the Wheel Hoe.

In this photo, you can see the 10mm bolt and the hexagonal socket for a 5mm Allen key is in the top.

The first thing to say about these bolts snapping is that USUALLY it seems to be caused by sudden stress on the bolt, which often results when the fixing nut has worked loose.  So, first thing to do is to make sure that you tighten the nut every time you start to use the hoe.  I often take a spanner with me if I am going to be doing quite a lot of heavy wheel-hoeing, just to make sure that I can keep it tight.  If you don't expect to change your wheelhoe attachments very often, you may like to put a drop of thread-locking compound on the thread.  Don't use superglue!!

So, the worst happens and the bolt breaks!  No worries, we have a stock of replacement headless bolts here or you may be able to get them locally:  ask for M10, 30mm long in high-tensile steel.  On our website, they are on the 'Spare Blades' page and we have simply called them 'M10 Fixing Bolt (no nut)'.

The next problem is getting out the stub of the broken bolt.  Quite tricky if it has broken just inside the block!  Try removing the block from the hoe and drilling from the bottom, perhaps adding a drop of oil to help it move.

However, there is another solution, shown to us by Henry, who lives not far away from us in Devon.  The fixing bolt on his Stirrup Hoe broke, but he found that the headless bolt had been fitted the other way up, with the Allen key socket downwards, so he was able to simply screw out the broken stub by inserting the Allen key from the bottom.  Magic!  Of course, a drop of oil could be useful here too, especially if your Stirrup Hoe has been in use for a long time.

So here is my suggestion to make it easier for you if your fixing bolt breaks in the future:  reverse the bolt NOW so that the Allen key socket is reached from below.
First, loosen the large nut and the bolt, using a spanner and an Allen key.
Second, remove the Oscillating Block from the Stirrup Hoe by unscrewing the 'axle' bolt.
Third, remove the bolt and reverse it in its hole.
Fourth, tighten the bolt by inserting the Allen key from below and turning it anti-clockwise.
Fifth, replace the washer and nut.
Sixth, refit the Oscillating Block to the Stirrup Hoe.

It looks exactly the same, except that the Allen key socket is now hidden inside the Oscillating Block, making it easier if you ever need to remove a snapped bolt.

Since this useful conversation with Henry, we have checked our stock of Oscillating Blocks and some of the Stirrup Hoes.  Some of the most recent stock already have the bolts reversed – looks like Glasers in Switzerland have come to the same conclusion !

I hope this helps a little.  Thanks again to Henry for finding this useful piece of information.