Monday 30 December 2013

Hello 2014 !

Just a little update for you as we move into the New Year . . .

You will see on the Blackberry Lane website that, thanks to improvements in the currency exchange rates, there have been some reductions in Glaser Tools prices.

Small savings on Glaser Hand Tool prices

but quite substantial reductions on Glaser Wheel Hoes and attachments.
Of course, we never know whether the exchange rates will go up or down, but we can be fairly confident that postage prices will rise at the beginning of April as usual, so this may be a good time to buy some of the larger items - in good time for Spring!

There is also a small reduction in the price of the Maxi 1 Soil Blocker.  This is simply a result of the Royal Mail increasing the maximum size of their 'Small Parcel', so this item returns to the price we were selling at before the size restriction was introduced!

Sadly, it's not all good news, though!  There have been some small rises in prices for EarthWay Seeders and accessories, though you will find the odd small reduction here as well.

For those of you who live in Devon or nearby, you may be interested to know that we are starting using SEER Rockdust on our land, and have now become stockists as well.  Here's our new Rockdust page.  We are NOT doing RockDust by mail order, though - see the link on our page to find a stockist near you!

 We are looking forward to the coming growing season and will be starting sowing seeds very soon.

Best wishes to you as we step into 2014 . . .

Sunday 10 November 2013

Row Marker Tubes are Here!

If the headline doesn't make any sense to you, please just look at our previous post!

We now have a stock of simple Row Marker Tubes to fit onto either of the Glaser Adjustable Rakes, enabling you to use your rake as a simple Row Marker.

The tubes come in sets of 6 and are made of hard white plastic.  They are fitted onto selected teeth of the rake.  You may want to adjust the rake angle to make it easier to pull the Marker Tubes through the soil.

Once again, the idea came from Eliot Coleman!

You will find both the rakes and the Row Marker Tubes on the Hand Tools page of our website.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

A Few New Items For You

Towards the end of 2012, we started selling SeedSpoons and found that customers seemed to like them, so planned to order some more from Canada.  Then, out of the blue, we received an email which simply said "This notice is being sent to you as a retailer of Seedspoons.  Seedspoon production will cease on December 31, 2012 after 13 successful years.  All current stock has been depleted and no more orders will be accepted."

We still had some stock left, but meanwhile did some thinking.  Could we produce something similar?  A little investigating and experimenting, and 'OneSeeders' were born!

As well as offering 6 spoon sizes instead of only 4, we have taken the opportunity to colour-code them.

We don't pretend that they are a complete answer to sowing small seeds, but hopefully they may be some help!

Glaser Tools in Switzerland have always listed a 'Ladies' Cultivator' but we had never been able to find a picture of one.  When we asked about it, they said "We call it a tool for grandma to cultivate the soil of the flowerpots" and kindly offered to send us a sample.

Well, it arrived in mid-March with our next order, and very soon Val started using it to tackle weeds in tight spots like our rockery - it proved to be very much up to the task, so we decided to order some more and now sell them under the name of 'Crevice Cultivator' - 'Ladies' Cultivator' sounded a bit sexist!

We 'inherited' a Glaser 20-tooth aluminium rake when we took over some surplus stock, and offered it at a special price via this blog in December 2012.  The happy customer who bought it was so enthusiastic that we decided to buy a small stock of this rake and its smaller (and cheaper!) cousin with 18 teeth.  They are both very light and strong, but the unusual feature is that the angle of the tines can be easily adjusted by loosening just 2 bolts.  Useful for users of different heights, or for specific tasks.

We are following up another clever Eliot Coleman idea using these rakes.  He fits short lengths of hard plastic tube over selected tines and then draws the rake through well-tilled soil to mark out rows - and even across those lines to mark out a planting grid!

Watch this space and the Hand Tools page of our website, as they should be here soon.

Thursday 2 May 2013

BroadForks Ready Now !

If you have been eagerly watching our website and waiting for us to re-stock with BroadForks, you may not need us to tell you that they are now back in stock.   Ready for you to order 'off the page' at

Hopefully there is still time to get at least some of that sub-soil 'un-compacted' before we rush straight into full summer.  It certainly seems like we are stepping very rapidly from the winter of a few weeks ago into what feels suspiciously like Spring, or perhaps even . . .           No, I won't say it - I remember the 'summer' we had in March last year, followed by one of the worst seasons on record.

Anyway, we hope you are enjoying some good weather now, and probably keeping very busy trying to catch up with all those outdoor tasks.  We certainly are, now that we are back on the land, especially as we have to 'catch up' with the effects of long-term neglect by our tenants.

Saturday 30 March 2013

Signs of Spring ??

The end of March is here, but where is the Spring???  Latest weather forecasts seem to be telling us to wait another month - let's hope they are wrong!

A more predictable arrival is the annual increase in postal charges.  This time, Royal Mail have really gone to town and completely re-vamped the scale of charges for parcels.

It used to be fairly simple: We knew how much your order weighed, so the postage was easily calculated.  If it was a little more valuable, we could pay a little extra to safeguard compensation in case it went astray or got damaged in the post.  And, although we would love to be able to just fork out any extra costs to send you your tools, unfortunately our little business would soon fold if we didn't pass on those costs to you!

Now, the Post Office have introduced size-related charges as well as weight-related ones  . . .  thank you SO much  . . .  just what we didn't need!  Anyway, we think we have just about got our heads around these new rates - we hope.

What does seem to be shrouded in mystery is the scale of charges for additional compensation relating to more valuable items.  The published information says "Additional compensation can be purchased . . . at the time of posting . . ."  but can we find a list of those charges ANYWHERE on the Royal Mail website?  NO!

So, our current prices in our Price List and on our website are as accurate as we can calculate at the moment, but they may change quite soon, probably slightly upwards - if at all.   NO CHANGE NEEDED AFTER ALL - OUR FIGURES TURNED OUT TO BE 'SPOT ON'.

Unfortunately, you will see that we have had to make substantial price increases for many of our tools.  Although the postal charges have pushed prices up a little, the plummeting value of the British Pound has really put the boot in.  Thank you, Mr. Osborne!

All the Glaser tools come from Switzerland and so are priced in Swiss Francs.  Since we last set our retail prices in January, the prices we have had to pay for fresh stock have climbed, so we have had to fix our prices according to the latest exchange rates.

The same goes for the Ho-Mis from Korea (South Korea, in case you were in any doubt!)  We buy from there in US Dollars, and the good old £ Sterling has suffered against that too!

As always, we are quick to put our prices DOWN  again when the exchange rates stabilise in our favour, and our next price review will be at the end of June.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Spring Take-Off!

Whatever the weather is doing right now, our emails tell us that gardeners and growers are getting ready for the start of a new growing season - we have never been so busy!

This time of year is always exciting, but the excitement seems to have taken off with orders for BroadForks and Soil Blockers.

BroadForks.  We really want to apologise to customers who have wanted to buy a BroadFork and have found them marked as 'Temporarily Sold Out' on our website.  Perhaps we should have realised that lots of people would want to take steps to reduce the sub-soil compaction caused by 2012's deluges, but we were totally taken by surprise in February and early March, when we received orders for as many BroadForks in 4 weeks as we have normally sold in a year!

Malcolm the Blacksmith, who makes these for us, is already busy with lots of other work - that's what happens when you get a reputation for quality workmanship - but says that he hopes to have a new batch of BroadForks ready for us by mid to late April.  He won't have to increase his prices this time, as apparently steel prices have stabilised a little, but we may get caught by the usual increase in postal charges in early April.

So, as a little incentive for you to let us know if you plan to buy a BroadFork, we will freeze the price for you if you simply email us by March 31st to let us know.  We will then keep you posted of expected delivery dates and send you a PayPal invoice when they are ready.  Until then, I'm afraid we can't make any promises about delivery dates.

If you help us plan production in this way, our little 'thank you' is to make sure you get your BroadFork at today's price, plus we shall be able to ask Malcolm to make more if demand goes on growing.  So, if even more people want to start 'BroadForking', they shouldn't be disappointed either.

If you would prefer to just keep an eye on our website to see when we have more stock, of course that is fine with us, too!

Soil Blockers.  Ladbrooke Soil Blockers have gone increasingly global over the last few years.  We like to think that we have played at least some role in that, as Soil Blocker customers email us from all over the world, and for a couple of years we seemed to be the only supplier to Australia.  Fortunately the former Australian dealer, Allsun Farm / Gundaroo Tiller is selling them there again.  But, with expansion, sometimes the problems expand, too . . .

Unfortunately, Ladbrookes recently had to scrap a large 'run' of Mini 4 blockers, at a time when they were already very busy with orders.  Again, all credit to them for insisting on top quality!  Unfortunately, this meant that our stock of Mini 4s and Micro 20s was exhausted, and the Mini 5s were running low as well.  BUT . . .

STOP PRESS!  Even as I was writing this, we have just received an email from Ladbrookes to say that a delivery will be with us very soon.  They have really pulled out all the stops on this one, working long hours to try to catch up, and we are really grateful.  Oh, the benefits of dealing with a family firm!

We should be able to fulfill all outstanding 'back orders' for Soil Blockers in the next few days.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.