TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

January 25, 2011

Sharpen up in the Garden!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — TopVeg @ 12:19 pm

Lets sharpen up our act and get out into the garden!  As the days lengthen the urge to sow seeds gets stronger although the soil is still too wet and cold.  But if we sharpen up our tools there are other gardening jobs we can be getting on with.

  • Sharpen Spades - a sharp spade will make digging a hole, large enough to plant fruit bushes or fruit trees, much easier.  It is not too late to plant raspberries.


  • Sharpen hoes - removing weeds now will save time later.  Use the hoe to reach out from the path; don’t tread on the soil while it is wet as the pressure will compact the soil and spoil the structure.  Weed roots can get stronger and spread if left in the soil, so pull them out before they become more difficult to remove.


  • Sharpen pruners – to give a cleaner cut.  Ragged edges left on plants are more likely to become diseased.  Free-standing fruit trees should be pruned now by removing any dead, dying and diseased branches.  Ties also need attending to! 


  • Sharpen lawn mowers – it’s a bit too early to start on spring lawn care yet, & too soon to mow the lawn.  But it is worth taking the mower in to get the blades sharpened, so that it will be ready to start when the moment comes.


A few days in the garden, planting fruit, removing weeds or getting the lawn mower ready for action, will sharpen up our act!

April 11, 2010

Second Hand Garden Tools

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — TopVeg @ 8:35 pm

Good quality garden tools are expensive, so buying second hand is worth considering.  If a tool is well made, of good material, and has been looked after, it will last for years.  So a well maintained, quality second-hand tool is probably much more useful than a cheap, new item.



This parsnip digger is about one hundred years old, and we still use it!



Second hand garden tools can be found:

  • in charity shops
  • on recycling network sites
  • on ebay

Second hand garden tools are worth considering.

December 19, 2009

Hoe hoe hoe…for Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — TopVeg @ 10:15 am

A good quality hoe is a great present or Christmas gift for the dedicated vegetable gardener.

The ideal hoe is:

  • sharp & shiny, so that the soil does not stick to it.
  • good quality stainless steel hoe because this will keep shiny & sharp.

Most people do not have time to maintain tools – but a good quality stainless steel hoe will look after itself.
Click this link to buy a hoe hoe hoe for Christmas!

November 15, 2009

How to Choose a Wheelbarrow

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 10:07 pm

It is important to choose a wheelbarrow that is fit for your needs:

  • where will you be pushing it to?
  • what sort of ground will you be pushing it over – gravel, bogs??
  • will the barrow fit down your narrow passages, or through your gates?
  • what will you be carrying?
  • what capacity would you prefer?

Choose a barrow:

  • that suits your needs
  • that you can handle easily – try them out
  • with the number of wheels to suit your purpose -  two-wheeled barrows are easier to push and balance with a heavy load
  • narrow tyres are easy to move down narrow paths
  • wide tyres are better for heavy loads and will be easier to push over soft ground
  • deep bodies are easier to balance & hold more
  • plastic bodies are lighter and won’t corrode, leak or rust
  • sunlight makes plastic bodies brittle, but metal bodies are easily scratched, rust & leak
  • stainless steel bodies will keep in good condition for a long time, but will be heavier
  • wooden handles are more comfortable to hold, metal handles are cold in winter

Visit a garden centre when you choose a wheelbarrow, and try several out, then go home and consider the options before making a decision.

November 14, 2009

Garden Bag and Tool kit

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — TopVeg @ 10:43 pm

This garden bag & tool kit will be a useful, welcome gift or Christmas present for the vegetable gardener!

garden bag & tool kit

garden bag & tool kit

  • heavy duty green tool bag
  • weather resistant aluminium fork and trowel
  • soft grip pair of bypass secateurs
  • a handy ball of garden twine
  • Price: £24.99

Click this link to buy this garden bag & tool kit.

November 10, 2009

Five good reasons to buy a leaf blower

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 9:27 pm


The leaves have been falling off the trees for quite a few weeks, and there seem to be good reasons for buying a leaf blower!  We have had ours for well over ten years and it has been well worth the investment.

Our five good reasons for buying a leaf blower are:

  • saves time – much quicker than using a rake
  • blower does a better job than a rake – it blows all the leaves off the surface, whereas a rake mixes the leaves in, so it is difficult to rake all the leaves up
  • simple & easy to use
  • blower clears leaves from nooks and crannies, & will tidy up around pots and gate posts
  • cheaper & more compliant than a gardener

Leaf blowers come in all shapes and sizes, the one below is on the large side but smaller leaf blowers are less expensive.

Some machines can be used to blow leaves and to shred them.

There are many different sorts of leaf blower to suit different needs, but they are a very useful tool.  There are at least five good reasons to buy a leaf blower.

June 20, 2009

Favourite tool award – Gardeners’ World Awards 2009.

Filed under: vegetable gardening — Tags: , , , , — TopVeg @ 7:14 am

Secateurs came top of the voters favourite garden tool in the Gardeners’ World Awards 2009..


Inline Image

  • an essential tool for vegetable and soft fruit gardeners
  • annual pruning of raspberry canes, gooseberry and currant bushes requires a decent pair of secateurs.
  • 1 pair – now only £14.99

No wonder secateurs won the favourite tool award -in the  Gardeners’ World Awards 2009!

Click this link to buy these secateurs.

May 10, 2009

Equipment Needed for Sowing Seeds

Filed under: Uncategorized, fruit, vegetable gardening — Tags: , , , — TopVeg @ 8:07 pm

This collection of equipment shows the tools we use for sowing seeds:



  • a wide toothed rake for raking soil before sowing – which will allow some lumps to be left on the surface.  This helps to reduce soil capping.
  • rake for tamping down (firming ) the surface
  • tape measure
  • walking board – to spread weight over the soil & avoid compaction
  • trowel
  • marker pole – with seed spacing marked on the pole
  • marking sticks – for marking row ends

Collecting the equipment needed for sowing seeds before starting saves time.

March 23, 2009

The Mattock – Spanish Gardening Tool

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 9:08 am

Jan read our post about Essential Gardening Tools and has added another from Spain.




This tool has a sharp blade, and they come in varying widths and lengths, depending on the soil type being tilled.  They are used extensively in Africa, where they are called Jembes.

The mattock in the picture is reversible, with two tines at the other side.  The tines are used in the same way as a garden fork.

The mattock and jembe produce a very uneven depth of soil which restricts root growth and leads to uneven plant growth.

Thank you Jan for sending this photo of the mattock, a Spanish gardening tool.

March 15, 2009

Name the Tool Competition – Parsnip Digger.

Filed under: root veg — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 3:31 pm




 Thank you to everyone who entered the Name the Tool Competition.  The tool is actually a
parsnip digger.

We received a great range of suggestions, and I was beginning to doubt
the name we were given. But I then chatted to a farmer who worked on a
farm in Royston in the 1960s. He remembered 15 men walking out in the
mornings, each armed with a parsnip digger. They spent a couple of hours
lifting parsnips, then they pulled the turnips by hand! All produce was
loaded onto a lorry destined for the following morning’s market in
Covent Garden.

Thank you to Sara from farmingfriends who has joined with us to promote the Name the Tool Competition.
It is good to have another joint project along with the interblog leek growing project
Some of the interesting answers are listed below:

    * a soil aerator or an old fashioned pitch fork? farmingfriends

* for lifting onions ? oktarine
    * a hole maker for planting bulbs? Meg Wolff

    * It looks like my aerator but mine has a shorter handle and wider
      forks. Carver

    * a mushroom or garlic picker? Chris & Laurie
    * an aerator for use on a lawn or other compacted piece of ground?

    * THIS IS MY PATCH  said “Are       you sure it isn’t just a broken fork …!!!”

    * John – Farmer giles from Farming Memories said, “Nearest that I can Guess
      is that it would be used for digging out Docks

    * for uprooting nettles? A nettle remover! farmingfriends

    * a potato digger? Jean

Thank you, again, to everyone who took part and also to the 94 year old
gardener who gave us the parsnip digger! We are proud that he considered
the parsnips in our vegetable garden worthy of such a tough tool!

click on the image to enlarge it








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