Saturday 2 October 2021

Cucumber Relish Back in Stock !

One of the top favourites on our shelves of jars has always been Sweet and Sour Cucumber Relish.  Every year, we try to make more than we did the previous year, but every year we sell out, so we have been disappointing some customer for several weeks now, ever since we sold the last of the 2020 jars.

Well, our cucumbers have been doing well again this year, though a little later that usual (it HAS been a strange season!), and we made our first 2021 batch of Relish at the end of August.

Frustratingly, it needs to mature for at least a month, so we have not been able to sell any (or eat any ourselves) until just a few days ago, but now the first batch is ready.

Don't worry, we have gone on making more batches right through September, so we don't expect to sell out just yet!  So far, we have produced 70 jars and the cucumbers are still flourishing in the polytunnel.

The Back Story . . .

In 2015, we tried growing cucumbers a little more seriously, trying to find a variety we really liked and which grew well for us.  We had grown them before, of course, but there were lots of different varieties.  We had grown 'Burpless Tasty Green' with some success, but we were beginning to move away from F1 varieties and tried a few others as well.

And then we had a problem!  We had so many cucumbers that we couldn't sell them all – or eat them ourselves!  We needed a recipe to 'do something' with cucumbers, and found it in 'Preserving' by Emma Macdonald, a book that was already sitting on our kitchen bookshelf.

We made the relish and liked it, so we tried it on our customers – and they liked it, too!

So, now we have a different 'problem' – not really a problem at all.  The relish is so popular that we need to make sure to grow LOTS of cucumbers every year!  We seem to grow more each year, and still the relish sells out before the next batch is ready.

And the cucumber variety we finally settled on?  'Tamra' , a short and sweet cucumber, not bitter like so many can be.  Very popular with our customers – and it makes excellent relish!

'Tamra' is available from The Real Seed Company, along with many other non-hybrid seeds.  As this is a true variety and not a hybrid, we can save our own seed, and have been doing so for a few years.

Monday 27 September 2021

Better Than The EarthWay Seeder ? We Think So!

We have been stocking EarthWay Seeders from the very early days of our Blackberry Lane Online Toolshop.  Why?  Because we had already been using our own EarthWay for several years and were very pleased with it.  It was saving us so much time – and seed!

Since then, we have developed an ongoing relationship with the company that has been importing EarthWay products from the USA for the UK and European market.

Earlier this year, we heard of their plans to develop their own replacement for the EarthWay and of course we were very interested.

So, the Cresco SRS (Single Row Seeder) is now in production and will very soon be released for sale in the UK.  

As you can see, it looks VERY similar to the EarthWay Seeder and in practice it is a straight replacement, with some small but significant improvements.

It comes with its own set of 10 seed discs and – GOOD NEWS – these discs are compatible with the EarthWay and vice versa.

Because the Cresco SRS will be selling at a significantly lower price than the EarthWay, we have decided to stop selling both the EarthWay Seeder and the cheaper all-plastic Easy Sower from Denmark in order to concentrate on the Cresco.

We shall continue to sell seed plates and other spares for the EarthWay as long as the importers hold stocks of them, but we expect to gradually move over completely to the Cresco.

We are just waiting for 2 things now:

    1)  A price for the Cresco SRS    and

    2)  Some Crescos to sell !!

We will update our website as soon as we have them in stock but, if you would like us to tell you when they are in, please drop us an email.

Sunday 20 June 2021

Multi-Row Seeders – Discussion invited!

One of the items that we get asked about quite often is the Johnnys Seeds 6-Row Seeder from the USA.  It seems excellent but it is expensive, especially to import to the UK.  This one is pushed forwards.

A few years ago, one of our customers seemed confident that he was going to be able to get something very similar produced for the UK market, but unfortunately that came to nothing.

More recently, I have become aware of the Sembdner 4-Row Seeder from Germany and have enquired about importing to the UK.  Cost about £150, plus any Customs charges and/or import VAT.  Seems to be the same as Johnnys Seeds sell as a 4-Row Pinpoint Seeder.  Some slightly negative reviews on YouTube, mainly related to the axle being a little stiff.  This one is pulled backwards.

Both the 6-Row and 4-Row Seeders above have a selection of dimples in their axles, and the correct size of dimple for the seed you are sowing is selected by sliding the axles from side to side.

Another one of interest is the Varomorus (also under different names) which is sold through eBay and seems to get some positive reviews on YouTube.  The 5-Row version is shown, but the same chassis is also available in 2-, 3- or 4-Row versions.  The hopper/seeder units are removable and movable.  This one has its dimples on removable sleeves, so more work needed to change over seed sizes.  Also pulled backwards.   Cost around £110 delivered, plus any Customs and/or import VAT.

I have not yet used any of these, but you may have done!  If so, it seems that there is a demand for multi-row seeders and there may be many other growers who would value your feedback.

PLEASE submit your comments and I will very quickly OK them for publication on this blog.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

Row Marker on Special Offer !

Looking for a Glaser Row Marker?  Here's an offer to think about!

Earlier this year, some customers bought one of the larger, 1.2m Row Markers from us but found that they 'just didn't get on with it'.  So they came back to us and asked "Do you take returns?"

Not a question we have been asked before, but it seemed reasonable, so we said yes.

Obviously, it has been used and so is not gleaming in 'straight from the showroom' condition but, quite honestly, a new one is going to look the same after just a little use.

So, here is your opportunity to get the larger Glaser Row Marker for £93.00 (including UK mainland postage) instead of £118.00, a saving of £25.00

The picture shows the larger 1.2m Row Marker and the smaller 750mm Row Marker.  The one on offer is the larger model on the left.

Please email us if you are interested and we'll send you a payment link.


Monday 8 March 2021

EarthWay Seeders for Grain Crops – ?

One of our customers is starting some experiments with small-scale grain growing, using his EarthWay Precision Garden Seeder to sow the seed.

Here are his comments so far:

"It looks like the following plates are going to work best:

wheat, rye + barley - radish plate or popcorn plate.  The radish one won't accept the larger seeds (often picks them up but drops them back in the hopper as they won't entirely fit through the hole) but does surprisingly well, the popcorn plate has a tendency to pick up a couple instead of just one but with the wider spacing that might be fine anyway.

Emmer wheat (much bigger seeds) - small peas plate works really well, occasionally getting 2 seeds.  The chard plate also works pretty well but drops larger seeds back or drops them if it picks them up sideways.

Oats - it seems to have the most trouble with these as they're quite long thin seeds.  Best option seems to be the chard plate but it alternates between picking up several and missing them fairly frequently."

If you have been trying any experiments like this and have some advice to offer, please email us and we will pass on your thoughts.  We can also put you in direct contact with our customer if you would like to compare notes.