Friday, 15 November 2019

HOTBIN Mini

It amazes me that a product like the Hotbin Mini can win Product of the Year, but then I notice it's the Chelsea flower show. At £150 with free P&P (No there is no such thing as Free P&P, that's a marketing ploy), the price has to include the P&P and allow for a profit and for what it is they must be making a lot more than a 25% Gross Margin on this product.

  • Chelsea Product of the Year winner 2019
  • Mini version perfect for one-person households, couples and small families
  • Ideal for small gardens and plots
  • Cut down your landfill waste
  • 30 days for mulching compost
  • 90 days for quality general purpose compost
  • Improved sealing technology to lock in more heat
  • Improved streamlined design – the over-hanging hinge is now in the body of the product allowing it to be flush with the wall
  • With leachate collection system for extracting effective liquid fertiliser
  • Up to 32 times faster composting
  • Constructed with expanded polypropylene
  • Lightweight and 100% recyclable
  • 1.2m x 45cm x 45cm

The Larger MkII HOTBIN is retailing at £199 so mentally its under £200 (Another marketing ploy) So if you buy theses are they more of a gardening fashion statement that a practical alternative to a Dalek for £5 from you Local Council ? 

I'm unlikely to be able to answer that one as there is no way I would spend £199 or £150 on whats is fundamentally an insulated Dalek, I might however look into making one out of two different sized plastic Daleks of place a small wheelie bin inside a larger one and use spray foam between. 

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Ryobi USB Charger


I found Ryobi TV on YouTube and looked to see what new video’s and products they were showing and found Ryobi R18USB-0 18V ONE+ USB Charger (Zero Tool)




The R18USB-0 Charger includes 2 charging ports, 1x 1.0A and 1x 2.1A, both of which can detect the accepted charge rate of your devices for rapid and flexible charging. When paired with a RB18L50 5.0Ah Lithium+ battery the charger can hold as much as 6 full phone charges.

This charger is ideal for charging any USB devices outside, on the go or when camping. For me it’s ideal when I’m on the allotment and the mobile needs a boost or perhaps I could use it to work the mini USB Fridge I have in the shed.

£ 24.99 Amazon
.            B&Q
£ 20.95 CBS Power Tools
£ 23.93 CPC
.            Halfords
.            Homebase
£ 31.99 Littlewoods
.            Machine Mart
.            Power Tool Mate
£ 21.95 Tooled Up
£ 24.99 Very
£ 20.94 SGS Engineering

So a price Range of between £20.94 with the lowest cost from SGS Engineering  and the Highest no surprise Littlewoods at £31.99 that’s £11.05 difference

It’s significant that B&Q, Homebase and Halfords are not stocking these tools, and over the last year I’ve seen that these outlets have been reducing their holdings of Ryobi One Tools.

The market blarb from Ryobi states “Power over 100 different tools with the same battery with the One+ system from Ryobi. One battery fits all power tools for your home and garden.” But you cant get them all from DIY outlets in the UK unlike Home Depot in Canada & the USA 

Looking at the main Ryobi web site there are 85 Bare Tools, 35 Starter Kits and 12 Batteries and Chargers which adds up to 132 products, so yes 100+ however in the UK

B&Q now only stock 28 One+ Products
Homebase only stock 50 One+ Products
Halfords only stock 33 One+ Products

So basically, you can’t always walk into a UK national DIY Store and select what you want from the Over 100+ Different One+ range because they just don’t stock them. So the alternative is buying over the internet, or phone and having the items delivered.

Amazon Prime member get free delivery

Littlewoods – Standard Delivery FREE but not really as £11.04 dearer than lowest price found

CBS Power Tools There is a standard £5.95 + vat (£7.24) shipping and handling charge on UK mainland orders under £100

CPC Free Delivery on good over £8 +vat (£9.60)

Tooled-up £3.95 for this item

Very selling at £24.99 only has free delivery on items over £25 and £2 on orders under £25

SGS Engineering Free Over £50 and £6.99 Next Working Day

So let’s see what adding Delivery does to the prices from the various outlets that’s actually see this item

£ 24.99 + FREE P&P Amazon
£ 28.19 = £ 20.95 + £7.24 CBS Power Tools
£ 23.93 + FREE CPC
£ 31.99 + FREE Littlewoods
£ 25.90 = £ 21.95 + £3.95 Tooled Up
£ 26.99 + £ 24.99 + £2 Very
£ 27.95 = £ 20.94 + £6.99 SGS Engineering

Cost Range now £23.93 - £31.99 with Littlewoods still the dearest after adding P&P

So to get the very best deal wait until you want over £50 of Ryobi Tools and buy for £20.94 from SGS Power Tools with free delivery or if you just want the USB Charger now and can't possibly wait for find a second tool to buy it's £23.95 from CPC. 

If Ryobi UK, SGS or CPC feel like they would like to send me a Free one to play with and review then don't be shy always happy to play with and review DIY Tools and Gardening equipment. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Ryobi R18SW3 Cordless Debris Sweeper



The R18SW3-0 Cordless Debris Sweeper offers fast spinning 155rpm brushes with a 53cm width that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

The comfortable handlebars designed to provide the user with easy control for collecting debris around a workshop or garage quickly. This paired with the lightweight and agile design makes it the ideal cleaning tool for any workplace.

This model has also been designed with a height adjustable handlebar and padded grip for comfort and easier control.

The Debris Sweeper also includes a large 17L dust bin for collecting debris, dirt and dust, and a kick switch at the back for easy control and reduced contact with dirty parts.

The R18SW3-0 can also be easily stored on its vertical standing feet by flipping it upright and stowing the handle bar down, taking up hardly any room in a workspace or garage.

This is a bare unit - batteries and charger are not included (available to buy separately).

And if we had dryer weather in the UK I would like this better for harvesting leaves in the Autumn for the Allotment. If Ryobi or one of the UK dealers want to send me a free one to trial whilst the leaves are on my drive I would be quite happy to oblige.  

£159.92 Amazon
.             B&Q
£155.95 CBS Power Tools
£179.98 CPC
.             Halfords
.             Homebase
              Littlewoods
.             Machine Mart
.             Power Tool Mate
£166.95 Tooled Up
              Very
£167.99 SGS Engineering

So only 5 out of 12 Ryobi Retailers sell this tool in the UK Interesting and again worrying  that B&Q, CPC, Halfords, Homebase, Littlewoods, Machine Mart, Power Tool Mate & Very are not carrying this One+ Tool

Prices above all including FREE P&P as the minimum order value of £100 is exceeded.

So for this particular power tool at the time of reviewing the web sites there is a difference of £24.03 between the highest and lowest selling price and the winner is £155.95 CBS Power Tools


Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Ryobi Christmas Promotion


As you may be aware I’m a bit of a Ryobi Man fundamentally due to my Brother-in-Law Keith who lent me his Rotary Saw to try out before I bought one to cut up all the roof joist that I scrounged from the building site behind my plot when they started making alterations and extending the height of an industrial unit and converting it to residential. 

I keep an eye on some Ryobi Facebook groups and I have to say Ryobi in the UK really need to get their act together when we see the prices and availability of Ryobi equipment in the rest of the world.

I became aware of the Christmas Offer from Ryobi and decided to have a look



So basically there is a list of Eligible Starter Kits/ Retailers that can be found on the RyobiChristmas Promotion Web Site, and you buy one and then apply for you Free Gift power Tool from this selection.


Click on image to zoom in

These are the tools that are available for you to select from. As can be seen there is a huge difference in the value of what you can claim, and quite frankly one would like to maximise the cost benefit of the promotion.

The cost of these tools ranges from £6:30 to £45.95 using the prices from CBS as a guide as there are no RRP Quoted on the Ryobi UK / Europe site only links to where you can purchase the item from. So realistically no one in their right mind would select the £6.30 Charger and why would one settle for a tool costing £24 when there are tools worth between £38 - £45

For allotment Holders who are going to need to maintain grass paths and have a garden buying a One+ Starter Kit and claiming the Grass Trimmer is ideal, what one needs to do is to decide which Starter Kit and where to get it from for the cheapest cost.

So to save you all surfing and looking I have done it for you and here they are in Specification order

Ryobi RLM18X41H240 18V ONE+ Cordless 40cm Lawnmower Starter Kit (2 x 4.0Ah)

£397.95 CBS
£399.99 Very (3 Negative Reviews 1 Positive)
£499.99 Littlewoods
£383.00 Machine Mart
£324.99 Amazon (Limited Time Deal

Me thinks Littlewoods have made an error on their web site

Ryobi RLM18C36H225 18V ONE+ Hybrid 36cm Lawnmower Starter Kit (2 x 2.5Ah)

£347.95 CBS
£382.49 Amazon
£350.95 Tooled Up

Ryobi RLM18X33H50 18V ONE+ Cordless 33cm Lawnmower Starter Kit (1 x 5.0Ah)

£199.00 Homebase
£199.99 CBS
£229.95 Tooled Up
£189.58 CPC
NONE in Stock Powertool Mate although listed on the Ryobi site

Tooled Up - Not Direct Product Code on web site built up by adding battery & Charger

Ryobi RLM18X33B40 18V ONE+ Cordless 33cm Lawnmower Starter Kit (1 x 4.0Ah)

£163.67 Amazon

Ryobi RLM18C33B25 18V ONE+ Cordless 33cm Lawnmower Starter Kit (1 x 2.5Ah)

£180 Argos

Now a couple of observations from my research, I have to ask why would anyone buy the RLM18C33B25 from Argos for £180 when you can get same lawnmower with a 4.0Ah Battery from Amazon for £163.67?

My choice (had I not already got the Grass Trimmer) would be to buy the RLM18X33H50 and although £10 cheaper from CPC I would more than likely get it from Homebase, it’s 99p cheaper than CBS and if picked up from the store you have eliminated the possibility of damage in delivery, which is a common problem these days.

£240.95 Worth of Tools for £199 RLM18X33H50 and the Ryobi OLT1825M on Christmas Promotion as a Free Gift worth  £41.95.

<<<< There are links to all the Ryobi Retailers on the left panel of this Blog

Now, I have been waiting for the price of the Ryobi OLM18X33H 18V ONE+ Cordless 33cm Lawnmower (Zero Battery) to drop below £ 129.95 CBS as I already have a Cordless Grass Trimmer that I bought from Homebase when they were closing down and managed to get one with a battery and charger for less than the cost of the battery and charger.

Unfortunately Ryobi bargains like that in the UK a few and far between, and it's sad when it's due to closure of a local store.

The current cost of a Body only (Zero Battery) Mower is

£ 129.95 CBS - Ryobi OLM18X33H 18V ONE+ Cordless 33cm Lawnmower (Zero Battery)
£   68.95 CBS - Ryobi RB18L50 18v 5.0Ah Li-ion Battery
£   27.95 CBS - Ryobi BCL1418H 14.4V-18V Dual Charger
------------
£ 226.85 When bought together so approx. saving buying as a starter kit with a price of say £ 199 is £27.85 or the cost of the charger.

Reverse Engineering the cost above including the Dual Charger

£ 199.00 Homebase RLM18X33H50 18V ONE+ Cordless 33cm Lawnmower Starter Kit
£   68.95 CBS - Ryobi RB18L50 18v 5.0Ah Li-ion Battery
£   27.95 CBS - Ryobi BCL1418H 14.4V-18V Dual Charger
------------
£102.10 I would propose that as a more realistic price for the Zero Battery option inclusive of VAT than £129.95 when one considers the other battery mower are selling with the specifications and at the prices listed below, and some of them also come with a Grass Trimmer:- 

£ 99.99 Einhell Power X-Change GE-CM 18/30 Li 18V 30cm Cordless Lawnmower 1 x (3.0Ah) from Toolstation




£ 149.99 Yard Force 40V 32cm Cordless Lawnmower Plus Cordless Grass Trimmer with ONE Lithium-ion Battery & Quick Charger LM G32 + LT G30

£ 148.00 Flymo Mighti-Mo 300 Li Cordless Battery Lawn Mower, 40 V, Cutting Width 30 cm from Amazon

£ 159.99 Yard Force 40V 32cm Cordless Lawnmower with Lithium-ion Battery and Quick Charger LM G32
£ 160  Spear & Jackson Cordless Lawnmower and Trimmer 2 x 24V Batteries and Quick Charger

£ 210 WORX WG927E Dual 20V Battery 34cm Cordless Lawn Mower & 18V (20V MAX) Cordless Grass Trimmer Winner of 10 Best Battery Powered Lawnmowers - November 2019 , UK

Hopefully Ryobi will re evaluate they pricing policy for zero battery models next year especially in the gardening Mower market looking at whats available above. There is a lot of competition out there and the one battery for all is now very common place, and it's a more level playing field and quite frankly Ryobi have lost the lead they once had. 




At the moment for me as an owner of the items above and a number of starter kits and batteries & Ryobi Grass Trimmer already the incentive merit to purchase a Body only model at the current cost is not there. 

I have been evaluating perhaps buying a mower starter kit from the above Ryobi list but would not want anything with less than a 4Ah Lion Battery.

I did muse purchasing the Ryobi RLM18X33B40 from Amazon for £163.67 and select a gift from what's left but there is nothing there that I have not already got and that I'm desperate to own. Then one worries that as this model is an end of line model that no other Retailer is selling it has been in the warehouse for some time and what shape is the battery in and how long is it likely to last. 

Umm I think I may wait for Argos to discover that their model is not selling and see if they half price it in the January sales because this promotion is going to do nothing for them if the end user looks at what's available. so for the moment it looks like I'm using the Ryobi Grass Trimmer I already have and the Manual Push Mower that I got off Freecycle on the allotment.     

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Digging Up More Spuds


Last Sunday was devoted to Plot 1, so only fair that this Sunday I work on Plot 1A. No daughter at home this weekend to allow me to get to the plot early so only 3.5 hours of playing with the mud time today. It had been raining last night but this morning was bright no clouds in the sky, sunny and dry. 



Bed 1 cleared of most of the weeds, as it was the last bed worked on before I had to come home for lunch.  Bed 2 Cabbages and Brassicas to be cleared on a future visit.  I started clearing the bindweed from the Runner Bean climbing frame. 

The Runner Bean frame need to be dismantled and fixed back to the wall with angle brackets before next season, an over Winter infrastructure job.



2/3 of the spuds in bed 3 were dug up last weekend, 1/2 of the spuds in bed 4 were dug up this weekend. Next year I'm not planting as many spuds in the ground and perhaps two rows per bed rather than 3 row planting sheets will be used or maybe I will invest in more buckets 

Leaf bins in the middle of the photo up against the wall need clearing and topping up to the brim again and watered at a future visit.

Raspberries (between Leaf Bins & Greenhouse) to be cut back and the remainder of the grape vine removed before next growing season.  




Bed 11 weeded and covered for Winter. The Blue pipe needs to be cut as a forth 25mm thick hoop for the high sprout cage to replace the thin pipe that slumps when the cage is constructed until braced.  



Plastic on the path between Beds 9 & 10 was washed off and bed 9 planting membrane to be removed and replaced with a full sheet after weeding and feeding the bed for the Winter at a future visit.



Beds 7 & 8 still have the corn stalks in the ground and there beds need to be cleared, weeded, fed and covered for Winter on a future visit, but not until the new Dalek army has it's base in place along plot 1


Tuesday, 5 November 2019

2020 Draft Planting Plan


First Draft of 2020 Planting Plan 

My starter for 10 on a revised Dalek layout and 2020 Planting Plan all subject to actually getting the beds built and in on plot 1 before next planting season of course. There are still some crops I have not allocated a bed for yet, plus 2 beds that will have first earlies in buckets.


2020 Planting Plan Plot 1


2020 Planting Plan Plot 1A

Monday, 4 November 2019

Collecting Leaves


It's that time of year again for collecting leaves to make leaf mould or add as browns in you compost bin with the last of you green vegetation as you close down your plot. Most trees have long roots extending deep into the subsoil. They draw in the nutrients and trace minerals which have leached out of the upper soil layers. Fifty to 80% of these nutrients end up in the leaves, they are natures nutrient recyclers. 

You always have to be careful what else you are collecting with the leaves! 

My eldest daughter Emma and her husband Andy delivered three large blue water butts worth of leaves to the allotment last night, and as I have not sorted out the composting area I had nowhere to store them so we covered them over to stop them filling with rain and sorting the composting area has now become a priority. 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Woodchip Greenhouse Area


A Sunday when my youngest daughter came home Saturday night, and is around Sunday morning to assist my wife should she need help and thus allowing me to get to the allotment by 8:00 am giving me five hours on the plot before I need to go home for Sunday lunch. 


On arriving I noticed that the pile of woodchip that I had dropped at the edge of my plot had diminished slightly so I decided to forget what I had planned to do and to concentrate on infrastructure works, before the pile is robbed away by others. I cleared the weeds around the greenhouse, layed new weed membrane and levelled the area including the path. 

  
My eldest daughter popped down for an hour to give me a hand and we managed to get the area covered and levelled and the greenhouse placed back where I had planned it. I found enough full and cut paving slabs to use as a floor in the second greenhouse. 

I need to fix the timber frame together and lift the greenhouse onto the frame at a future visit and finally get the glazing fixed before next season. It's now finally looking as having the greenhouse completed for next season is really going to happen. 


The freecycle garden table will be reassembled and will be used as a potting table located behind the greenhouse and the water butts will go either side of the greenhouse.  

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Gardening for Health


In my recent post, I touched on the fact that I’m a carer for my wife. I also commented on how I need to get out of the house, not away from my wife and to have a place where I’m not working for a living, caring, living, sleeping and spending way too much time in.

I started working for myself and from home so that I could keep an eye and look after my wife about six years ago. To go from working in an office of engineers who you could bounce ideas off and discuss technical issues, daily life and world events etc. to working on your own from home is quite a transition. Add to the mix the caring for someone with mobility issues 24/7, and the taking on most of the household duties and shopping and cooking is quite another.

Now I’ve never been a person who likes the Winter in terms of the lack of daylight and increased wet weather and I can relate and I tick many of the symptoms listed for people that suffer with Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) which is a type of depression that one can experience during particular seasons of the year.

For me Winter and the lack of long sunny days lasts way too long and It only feels like there is some light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not another train coming towards me when I get to the end of February / March when I get to visit the Garden Press Event in London and start getting everything ready for starting off seedlings, playing with compost and I start feeling like I have more energy, I’m more optimistic, happy and less worn out all the time. I keep looking for the solar panel on my head but the sun really does energise me and recharge my batteries.

Studies have found that the mental health benefits of gardening are extensive. Even something as simple as having a plant on your desk can reduce stress and make you feel more energized and able to think more clearly, and many that suffer from anxiety or depression have found gardening and caring for plants to be incredibly beneficial. Not only can regular gardening reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improving overall physical fitness.

Scientists have discovered that the mycobacterium found in soil can improve brain functions while boosting moods. The mycobacterium vaccae found in the soil increases serotonin produced in the brain (also known as the “happy” chemical). By getting your hands dirty, you're also making your brain happy!

Therapeutic horticulture and healing gardens have blossomed in U.S. settings as diverse as hospitals, school yards and prison grounds. Visitors enjoy therapeutic benefits that include reduced stress and anxiety, and increased hope and happiness.

I was extremely happy to see the invite to the 2020 Garden Press Event email pop into my in-tray and very quickly confirmed I would like to attend again this year. As all ways I spent some time looking at who is attending the event, I like to visit their web sites over the winter months and research what new varieties of seeds or new products they are bringing into the marketplace in the following year.

Whilst scanning the exhibitors list I and found three organisations based around Therapeutic Horticulture that I would like to let you know about.

Thrive has been using social therapeutic horticulture (STH) and gardening to change people's lives since 1979. They are dedicated and passionate about the health benefits that gardening and spending time in nature can bring. Thrive use gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people living with disabilities or ill health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Annabelle Padwick is a professional gardener, wellbeing therapist, successful freelance writer, vlogger, speaker, potato growing addict and radio personality. Using her fresh approach to promote the magic of gardening and super passionate Founder of Life at No 27 Inspiring more people, particularly the younger generation, to put down their phones and pick up a spade. Annabelle has become a regular face at events throughout the gardening calendar and hosts a monthly radio show where she shares her allotment journey, the latest in the gardening industry and top tasks each month. Having looked at the Life at No 27 web site and Facebook Group, I’m really looking forward to meeting Annabelle at the gardening Press Event in March 2020

Greenfingers Charity are a national charity dedicated to supporting children who spend time in hospices around the UK, along with their families, by creating inspiring gardens for them to relax in and benefit from. They create beautiful, well-designed outdoor spaces for children to enjoy with their family, friends and siblings, whether through play and fun, or therapeutic rest and relaxation.

Greenfingers Charity is driven by the belief that time spent outdoors, away from the bedside, can offer children and families under considerable stress a vital opportunity to embrace the benefits of being in the fresh air and engaging with the natural environment. They are committed to creating specially designed, stimulating garden spaces that can bring many benefits to children with life-limiting conditions.Whilst many people may take for granted the simple pleasure of being able to enjoy a garden, for these children, their siblings and their families, the chance to spend time together outdoors and away from the bedside is precious.

Here are a few more links to organisations and articles that discuss how getting in touch with nature & gardening and health are connected


Friday, 1 November 2019

Planning and Reviewing November in Previous Years

Reviewing the diary over the last five years for November

2012 - My First November and second month of owning an allotment was mainly spent cutting down the weeds and exposing what lay underneath and discovering all manor or debris to dispose off . It took me two weeks to cut back and stack the weeds and debris on pallets and pens created to hold them and I covered the weeds to allow them to dry out for burning. My shed was ordered and the base went in mid month and on the 18th November the shed was erected.

2013 - Mainly clearing up the plot, planting over wintering onions and creating a pop bottle greenhouse and collecting leaf's.  

2014 - Harvesting peppers, making slug traps, washed the greenhouse, clearing weeds and covering beds for winter. Collecting coffee grounds.  

2015 - Took on additional plot on Spencer Road as I thought there would not be anywhere to drop off and pick up at Mill Green once the development was completed and negotiations re it's formation were not very good with the Council and Redrow at that time. 

2016 - Two plots on two different allotment sites Mill Green and Spencer Road , Paving slabs off freecycle, Walking Onions purchased, First Frost and Final Potato harvest, Grow Your Own Magazine Grapevine Forum Member of the Month for November 2016. last Harvest of carrots. Vandalism and the burning of polytunnels and break-ins on Spencer Road Allotment, meeting with the police. Making Planting membrane. More sheds broken into so upped the security on the shed.          

2017 -  Started looking at what was in my seed box . Thompson & Morgan listed my blog as one of Nine Notable Seed Bloggers and pondered the Question "What Happens when you cross and Allotment with A structural Engineer" Work started on clearing Plot 1 of vegetation. Jersery Plants Lucky Dip Trees arrive. First draft of Plan Layout for both plots released.

2018 -  My brother-in-law Keith was in hospital during November and lost his battle to Amyloidosis which is a rare condition caused by a build up of proteins called Amyloid's in organs and tissues in the body On the 19th November. The weather was a mixture of cold & sunny early in the month and cold & wet at the end of the month. I started to look at what was in my seed boxes and worked on getting the beds cleared and covered for the Winter.

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in October and what has slipped. 


Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Dig up two and a half beds of potatoes - TBD
  • Clear Beds 7 & 8 of the sweetcorn roots and cover for Winter - TBD
  • Clear Bed 1 of weeds and cover - TBD
  • Clear Bed 2 of Cabbages and cover - TBD
  • Clear the Runner Beans - TBD 
  • Clear the storage area to the side and the back of the shed - TBD
  • Cut back the tree over the shed so it can be re roofed - TBD
  • Remove and dispose of Corex on the roof - TBD   
  • Temporary Bitumen the shed roof where felt is missing - TBD  
  • Re felt the roof of the shed - TBD   
  • Fix the potting Bench - Never ending job   
  • Clear the Wasp Nest in greenhouse 1A - To Be Done one the wasps have gone! 
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - clearance of weeds in current location and move when ready
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing and looking better all the time 
  • Clear area behind the Greenhouse - TBD
  • Weeding - Never ending job   
  • Clear Seating Area - TBD
Mill Green - Plot 1

  • As much infrastructure works as the weather will allow - Subject to rain    
  • Install the kerb edging along the bottom of Plot 1 - TBD
  • Clear the weeds and install a 600mm margin around the perimeter of the plot - TBD
  • Woodchip the Margin around the perimeter of the plot. - TBD
  • Clear fire area - TBD
  • Have fires to clear the rubbish - TBD
  • Start digging and weeding the Beds and Paths - Ongoing
  • Lay the paving for the greenhouse - TBD 
  • Erect the greenhouse - Timbers Cut for base need to be treated  
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing and looking better all the time
  • Remove remaining Hawthorne bushes from the wall - TBD
  • Stock pile Hawthorne to dry before burning - TBD 
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Ongoing
  • Install Flower Beds - TBD   
  • Plant Spring Bulbs - TBD
Home
  • Planning
  • Catalogue seeds
  • See what New Varieties of seeds there are for 2020  
Reminders
  • None at the moment.

To Do List



NOV
Week 2Squash / pumpkins - start to use
Week 3Brussels Sprouts - begin to harvest if any had survived !

Monday, 28 October 2019

Squash - Low Cal/Low Carb/High Fibre Alternative to Potato


Thompson & Morgan is launching two intriguing new winter squash varieties. Intriguing because when cooked, they taste just like mashed and baked potatoes whilst offering fewer calories, along with lower carbohydrate and higher fibre content.

As a type 2 Diabetic who needs some heather options and to loose some weight these are a couple of squash that I'm interested in growing next year especially as I will hopefully have more of the infrastructure on my second half plot in place. 

Squash plants are vine-like and will trail on the ground and are a god send come the annual  site inspection as they can cover areas you have not quite finished with if you are putting in a infrastructure of beds and paths. Both varieties typically produce 3 to 4 fruits of approximately 450-700g each.

The press release states that the cooked flesh of both squash is lower in carbohydrates and calories, and higher in fibre than that of potato. Per 148g portion, ‘Mashed Potato’ has 23 calories against potato with 110; 2.25% carbohydrate against 9%; 9% dietary fibre against 7%. 


Winter Squash ‘Mashed Potato’ is a white-skinned acorn-type with almost white flesh that when baked, scooped out, mashed and seasoned has the look and taste of mashed potato. 


Winter Squash ‘Baked Potato’ is an acorn-type with a pale butternut-coloured skin and off-white flesh that when cooked has the appearance, texture and taste of baked potato.

Peter Freeman, Thompson & Morgan’s new product development manager, said:

We’re excited to be offering these two new squash varieties for next season. Jumbo plugs and seeds will be available, enabling gardeners and allotmenteers to grow these highly productive plants. In staff taste tests, we’ve been amazed at how similar to potato the winter squash flesh is!”


Plants and seeds of both squash are available to order here: https://www.thompson-morgan.com/squashpotato


A 10% discount is being offered when the hashtag #squashpotato is used when ordering from Thompson & Morgan’s website until 6th November 2019. 

Seeds ordered now should be dispatched in December. 

Cooking suggestion:

Both squash should be cooked in the oven, with the cut side lightly oiled and placed cut side down on a baking tray, at 200 °C for approx 30 mins. The flesh can then be scooped out and in the case of Squash Mashed Potato, mashed with butter, salt and pepper according to taste and enjoyed as you would regular mashed potato. In the case of Squash Baked Potato, the flesh can be eaten as you would that of a baked potato, with butter and cheese or any other filling of your choice.