Friday, 19 January 2018

Ho-Mi Prices Down AGAIN !

We were delighted to be able to reduce the prices for our Korean Ho-Mis back in October, after we had been able to substantially reduce our import costs.

Now we have another reduction to announce, but only on the Large and Small Ho-Mis.  Other Ho-Mi models remain at the same prices as in October – they are still very good value!

It happened like this . . .

Years ago, another importer used to sell Ho-Mis in the UK.  He stopped selling them before we started, and in fact it was BECAUSE he had stopped that the South Korean manufacturer started looking for someone else to handle them.  Our Australian contacts at Allsun Farm / Gundaroo Tiller were kind enough to suggest us, and we have been selling Ho-Mis ever since!

Just a few weeks ago, the former importer's son found himself with some stock of Large and Small Ho-Mis that he wanted to move on and (again through contact with Joyce at Allsun Farm) he came to us and offered them to us at a favourable price.  Seems that his father had imported large numbers and so had been able to make even better savings on the import costs.
Now we have taken delivery and have a very large stock of Large and Small Ho-Mis at unrepeatable prices:–

Large Ho-Mis at £8.40 each (previously £11.60)
Small Ho-Mis at £9.80 each (previously £11.50)

Yes, we know that looks odd!  The Small Ho-Mis have always been cheaper than the Large ones, but this fresh stock is about 95% Large Ho-Mis, so we have made bigger savings on them.

When we eventually need to re-order from South Korea, the Large ones will be pricier than the Small but, until then, now is the opportunity to buy at LOVELY LOW PRICES !

Find them on our website at http://www.blackberrylane.co.uk/homi.html

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Special Offers – Soil Blockers and SAALET Seeders

Your opportunity to get a Soil Blocker at reduced price!
Once again, we have a few damaged or shop-soiled Soil Blockers on offer.  These all work perfectly, but have either suffered some damage in transit or (in one case) been mistreated.

 First of all, one that has NOT been damaged at all!  This is a Mini 4, finished in a dark green protective paint coating.  Ladbrooke made some of these before they introduced the resin-coated option.  It's a good buy at a slightly lower price than a standard Mini 4, and comes complete with 4 long ('dowel') seed pins as well as the standard short pins.

Normal price for the new-style Mini 4 is £18.80
This one: £17.50 including UK postage
Email to buy



Number 2 is a standard new-style Mini 4 which suffered a slight dent in transit.  The dent has been straightened, but you will still be able to see the 'scar'!  Again, supplied with 4 long ('dowel') seed pins as well as the standard short pins.

£14.50 including UK postage  SOLD
Email to buy






This third one is a real bargain!  It's an old-style Mini 4 (the different handle is really the only difference).  A customer managed to break it and then had the cheek to ask for a replacement!  We were too trusting in those days and sent him one, but at least he returned the damaged one.  Restored to full working condition with a little TLC, this will give you years of good service, but it is a little battle-scarred!

The price of these old-style Mini 4s was about £16.00, but
this one is £10.00 including UK postage  Email to buy   SOLD



And then, a couple of Mini 5s that got a little bent in transit but have now been 'unbent' and work perfectly.

Normal Price £17.00
These ones £13.00 each, including UK postage
Email to buy          One Sold









Last of these bargain Soil Blockers is a Micro 20 with spots on the zinc-plated finish.  Perfect in every other respect.

Normal price £15.10
This one: £12.50 including UK postage
Email to buy  SOLD


NOT ILLUSTRATED, we have a few SAALET Easy Sowers with damaged cardboard boxes.  These got a little wet on the outside, but there is no damage to the Seeders.  Normal price £19.45, these are reduced at £16.00 each, including UK postage  Email to buy  Two Sold

Email us to buy any of these specials . . . When they're gone, they're gone!
We will update this page as soon as any of these are sold.

Please email us with any questions, on blackberrylane.co.uk@gmail.com


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Fork Handles!

Our First BroadFork - February 2010
Right back in 2010, when Malcolm first contacted us about possibly selling BroadForks, one of the first hurdles was to find suitable handles for them.  We started by recommending the 1.5m (5ft) handles made for a particular type of 'Post Hole Digger'.  They fitted OK, but straight away there seemed to be a big problem with availability, so we looked around for alternative sources.
Soon we found that we couldn't easily get 5ft ash poles of the right diameter, so we had to settle for 1.2m (4ft) and then spent quite a bit of time shaping the ends of these to fit the BroadForks.  Along the way, we also changed suppliers!
After a little while, the new supplier in Wales offered to make a handle that was shaped to fit the BroadForks, and was also a little bit 'contoured' – and so our 'Shaped' BroadFork handles appeared in September 2016.

At the same time, we were looking for ash handles for hand tools in the Glaser range, as more and more customers were telling us how difficult it was to find 28mm handles in ash.  Not many years ago, we could just walk into our local hardware/DIY shop and buy ordinary 'broom handles', which were always made of ash wood.  Now the only thing we could find were rather poor quality pine handles, which were light and tended to split very easily.  We started stocking and selling these, simply because it seemed that nothing else was available.
1.2m BroadFork handles.   Top: 'shaped'  Bottom: 'plain'
Eventually, early in 2017, we found a supplier in Yorkshire for good quality ash handles and began offering them on our website, which started a steady trickle of orders which still continues . . .

High levels of demand for BroadForks, combined with delays in the supply of the shaped handles, led to us asking this new supplier whether he could produce some for us.  He could, and quite quickly, so our 'Plain' BroadFork handles soon became available, giving the customer a choice.

The problem with all of these handles is the high cost of sending them by post or carrier, so we always suggest that customers try to find ash handles locally.  The increasing number of orders makes us realise, though, that they remain difficult to find anywhere!

In the last few weeks, the process seems to have come full circle, as a customer enquired about 5ft handles for his BroadFork.  A quick email to our Yorkshire supplier and now we have a supply of 5ft plain ash handles for BroadForks!  Useful if you are a bit taller, or just want the extra leverage.

A quest for longer 28mm handles seems to have started as well.  In response to a customer request, in July 2017 we bought in a supply of 1.8m (6ft) x 28mm handles.  Initially, we did not offer these on the website because of the scary postage costs, but recently another customer has enquired about them and wants to order some.  He just can't find them anywhere else!  So, we thought, there may be more folk out there with the same needs – so they are on the website, too!  Useful, perhaps, for a rake or just for longer-reach hoeing.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Ho-Mi Price Reductions ! !

Great News!

When we ordered some Ho-Mi earlier this year, we were shocked and disappointed to find that the costs of importing them had become ridiculously high.  Somehow we felt that we were being asked to pay far too much in fees and handling charges, especially at the UK end of the transaction.

Sadly, we needed to raise our retail prices to avoid making losses.

Some careful investigation revealed that we could make use of a much better way of handling the importation process.  This has enabled us to reduce the prices by almost a third, bringing them down to about the same as before, in spite of the fact that the UK Pound is still weak compared to the US Dollar.

Find these new prices at our Ho-Mi page.

Happy gardening!

Friday, 16 December 2016

BroadForking – Genuine Benefits

We are really grateful to Pete Dollimore of Hankham Organics for his feedback on using his BroadFork.  He very kindly says that he is "happy to promote a crafted product that has such great benefits for soil, food and fitness!"

Here's his experience so far (15th December 2016):–
Regarding the broadfork we purchased off you nearly a year ago, it has been far more successful than I imagined. Firstly the task of manually digging our 50m² beds when we're used to using machinery was quite daunting. We have a 1.5 acre glasshouse with 90 such beds, but actually our staff and I enjoyed the work and managed to get around a third of these broadforked this season. Previously we have used a subsoiler and/or spading machine but I have been increasingly concerned that the compaction caused by the tractor was doing more harm than good.
It was obvious that our subsoil needed some attention the moment we stuck the tines in and the results have been clear cut. We experimented with 2 beds of early courgettes, forking one bed and not the other. All other variables such as compost, variety, cultivations and watering were identical. The broadforked bed did much better with healthier plants, better yield and a longer harvest season.
I am embarrassed to admit I didn't take the opportunity to take a picture as proof but, after growing full time for 20 years I am somewhat more embarrassed that I have only just discovered the benefits of this marvellous tool! I would like to re run the experiment next season but am loathe to deny a whole bed the treatment I know will help them grow well. We'll see, but if I do I'll be sure to get the evidence and send it on.

Thanks, Pete!
Anyone else with BroadFork experiences to share? Please get in touch!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Recovering the Polytunnel

You can read that title in at least two ways, both of which are true . . .

As we told you back in February, our tunnel plastic was so damaged that we resorted to covering the damaged end with heavy-duty black plastic, weighed down with old tyres.  Not beautiful, but it got us through the worst of the winter.

The spring came, then the summer, and we still had not managed to get the new cover on.  The tomatoes, peppers, aubergines and other plants went in as normal, but the tunnel was not its normal cosy self.  One end was distinctly colder after we took the black plastic off!  It was a choice of warm and dark or cooler but light.  We settled for the cooler, lighter option and the plants survived – though the tomatoes have really suffered with blight this year.  Being tomatoes, though, they soldiered on and have given us quite a good crop anyway.  (The potatoes in the field shrivelled and died back all too quickly).  

Perhaps if it had just been a case of putting on some new plastic, we might have done it sooner, but there was more to be done.

When the tunnel was erected in late 1999, the plastic was buried in trenches along the sides but, as you can see in this picture, we have now fitted  4 x 2 wooden rails all round the tunnel, for two reasons:– 1) To be able to fit metal sheeting below so that we can strim right up to the tunnel with no danger to the plastic and 2) so that we could attach aluminium channel to them for our new method of fixing the plastic – 'Wiggle Wire'.

Here is the tunnel with all the plastic removed, 20th September 2016, but with the channel in place on the rails and round the doors, ready for the Wiggle Wire to hold the plastic.


First, though, the need to remove the disintegrating 'anti-hotspot' tape and attach new tape.  After 17 years, the old tape was hardly there but was enough to stop the new tape sticking to the hoops.  Scrape and stick – up and down those ladders again and again!


Finally, the moment arrived when we unfolded the new plastic and laid it alongside the tunnel.  Would we be able to pull it over the hoops OK?  Just the two of us?

Of course, we can't show you pictures of us pulling it over, because we had our hands full and could not step back to take a photo . . .

But we managed it OK, more easily than either of us had expected.  That nice new anti-hotspot tape was really slippery and the plastic slid over smoothly.

By now, it was late in the day, so we just loosely fixed it to stay in place overnight.  It WAS a very windless night, fortunately!

Next day, the task of fixing it properly!  First we undid the temporary fixing.  Good old Wiggle Wire!  It was as easy to remove as it had been to fit, with no damage to the plastic.

We tensioned it end-to-end first, fixing the plastic to the tops and sides of the door frames.  

You can see the simplicity of the Wiggle Wire system.  Not much strength needed to flex the wire into the channel with one hand, while holding the tension of the plastic with the other – and a really positive grip on the plastic, too!


Then, just a matter of fixing along one side and then tensioning along the other.


It may not be a 100% professional-looking job, but the result is good and the plastic is drum-tight.

Just got to finish off by covering the doors and making and fixing new larger automatic thermostatically-operated vents.  That is currently 'work in progress' and we will try to update you when it is finished.

Needless to say, the inside of the polytunnel immediately began to feel like the tropics again, like it should have done all summer.  Too late for the tomatoes to recover, but the peppers and chillies have suddenly accelerated and the aubergines are making a valiant effort at flowering, though it may be too late for much (if any) fruit from them.

Yes, our polytunnel has been re-covered and is now recovering well, just in time for the salads and other overwintering goodies we need to get going in there.

P.S. (2nd December) By popular demand, here is a link to Northern Polytunnels' Wiggle Wire page.

Soil Blocker News - New Looks for Ladbrooke!

Some of the Ladbrooke Soil Blockers now have a new look!




A new light green polyester resin finish is now available for the Micro 20 and the Mini 4, in addition to the familiar zinc-plated version we have known for years.











Both versions of these two models now also have fully-rounded handles – probably going to be a bit more comfortable to use, especially as you apply the pressure to form those lovely little blocks!

The resin finish is fully rustproof and may look a little more attractive.  Perhaps a suitable present with a slightly less utilitarian appearance?




Two more additions to the range are aimed to cater for the needs of the larger-scale grower who does not want such large soil blocks, but rather wants the maximum number to fit into limited space.  





The Multi 30 produces 30 blocks, each 30mm (1⅛ inch) cubes, which means that you can fit 60 of them into a standard UK/European seed tray.  Just two 'passes' of the blocker and the tray is full!








If you are using the larger US standard 1020 seed trays, then the Multi 35 enables you to fill each one with 105 blocks (again the 30mm / 1⅛ inch cubes) in just three 'passes'.  The 'footprint' of the Multi 35 is 224mm (8¾") x 155mm (6¼").





While we are talking about how many 'passes' fill a seed tray, it's worth noting that all the other 'Multi' blockers share the same 'footprint' as the new Multi 30  and measure 190mm (7½") x 155mm (6¼") at the base.  This means that, in a UK / European standard seed tray, you can fit:

12 blocks from the Multi 6, 24 blocks from the Multi 12 (or from the Mini 4) or 40 blocks from the Multi 20 (or from the Mini 5).

The less exciting news is that, after several years of keeping their prices unchanged, Ladbrooke Soil Blockers have recently needed to increase their prices.  They have done really well to hold them for so long, and the retail price rises that we have had to make over the last few years have all been caused by postage increases.

More information on our updated Soil Blockers page, with even more detail here as well.  If you need a general introduction to using Soil Blocks, this may be useful, too.