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Think you know what an heirloom vegetable is?

Think you know what an heirloom vegetable is?

admin 01/11/2017 0
The terms heirloom seeds, heirloom vegetables and heirloom varieties are becoming commonplace within gardening circles. The terms invoke a sense of connection with the past, a bygone era, a golden age. In addition to these nostalgic emotions there are many good practical reasons to grow heirloom varieties. Unfortunately, like many ‘trendy’ terms such as ‘sustainable’ or ‘eco’, ‘heirloom’ is running the risk of becoming meaningless through over use, miss-use and hijacking by marketing. To give an example of what I mean, I was walking down the street the other day and saw a sign for “eco” tans, what on earth could be ecological about a fake tan? To avoid this happening to the term “heirloom” we need a clear definition and to identify where use of the term is straying from that definition. So what is an heirloom vegetable and how should we use the term correctly? Here is my take on the subject. Definitions are always tricky, language is not static, meanings change and evolve over time and...
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Why you should buy the best quality garden tools you can afford

Why you should buy the best quality garden tools you can afford

admin 01/11/2017 0
You may have heard the saying ‘Buy cheap, buy twice’, well for gardening tools this can often be ‘buy thrice, four times, ten times…’. I know most people have a tight budget these days but buying cheap gardening tools is often false economics. How many cheap trowels or secateurs have you owned? Did they break, bend? If so, it is always at an inconvenient time. You have just got in the swing of things then, “SNAP”. You have to stop what you are doing, drive down the store, pick a new tool, wait in line, then drive home again. How much is your time worth? If you actually value your time you are probably spending far more on the trip to the garden supplier than the tool itself. Good quality garden tools are made far stronger and out of much higher quality materials that their cheap cousins. This means they are far less likely to break and should last many times as long as cheap garden tools. Also, you are much more likely to look after a good quality garden tool; clean them and put them a...
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Oscillating Stirrup Hoes

Oscillating Stirrup Hoes

admin 01/11/2017 0
For those that are unfamiliar with Oscillating Stirrup Hoes they are an amazing tool and a must have tool for any serious vegetable grower. Oscillating stirrup hoes are one of the best tools available for mechanical weed control, whether it be in the home garden or commercial market garden. One of the major advantages of oscillating stirrup hoes is the minimal effort required to achieve great results. This is because their razor sharp blades cut through weeds with ease, they are light weight and can be used in an upright “thumbs up” stance (as recommended by Eliot Coleman). The hoe can be used in a forward and backward motion which rids the blade of any weeds which have built up, thereby maintaining the hoes efficiency.  The oscillating action ensures the blade is at the optimum angle to the soil in both the forward and backward motion. Like all weed control, oscillating stirrup hoes are best used when weeds are small. At this stage they can be cut off just below the surface and will n...
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Why growing your own food is one of the best things you can do for the environment.

Why growing your own food is one of the best things you can do for the environment.

Heirloom Harvest 22/09/2017 0
‘Large scale farming harms the environment but we need to feed a growing human population’.As a farmer, an ecologist and a gardener this dilemma is very close to my heart and something I have struggled with for many years. This article is a snipet of my thoughts on the subject and my view to a small part of the solution. The ProblemPeople need to eat.The global population has exploded over the last few hundred years as agricultural and medical advances have allowed increased survival rates and age expectancies. This increase in population has in turn put more pressure on agriculture to produce more food, which then allows further population growth… you get the picture. Until now increased crop production has been able to outrun the increasing population nipping at its heals. The problem is that despite avoiding a Malthusian catastrophe thus far, this  cannot go on for ever. In fact, it is now widely aknowledged that gains in crop yields are plateauing.There is a biophysical limit to cr...
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