HANDLES  A few years ago, we began to realise that it was no longer easy to just walk into your local garden centre, hardware shop or builders’ merchants and get a reasonably good quality ash handle for your garden tools.  It seemed only a few years since we had no difficulty finding good handles locally.  If you have read our Handles page, you will realise that we started selling handles as well, but the big drawback was the high cost of postage.  So we still say: try to get ash handles locally if you can!  Apart from anything else, if you don’t ask your local sources for them, they may become even more difficult to find!
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Back in August 2004, Dave started trying to find a UK source for tools that Eliot Coleman recommends, like his design of ‘collinear’ hoe and wheelhoes.  The manufacturer in Switzerland has a comprehensive range, so we started a new branch to our little enterprise – importing quality Swiss garden tools, especially the ‘Collinear’ hoe, plus wheelhoes and attachments for them.  As you will have realised, the whole thing grew a lot more after that!  More details on the OnLine Toolshop pages.

We are very pleased with our ‘two-wheeled tractor’.  As well as the rotavator attachment, we also have chipper / shredder, plough and ridger attachments.  We have a SEP 1500 Special with a diesel engine, though this model has now been superseded.  Supplied by Bunce (Ashbury) Ltd, of Ashbury, Swindon, SN6 8LW.  (01793) 710212, and their website at www.bunce.co.uk – don’t be put off by references to ‘winter maintenance equipment’ on their site – look at Page 41 of their Online Catalogue and you will find the ‘2-wheeled tractors’.  SEP cultivators are made in Italy and the manufacturer’s site is at www.sep.it and yes, there is an English version!

Our lovely big polytunnel greenhouse came from Ferryman Polytunnels .  As well as being local to us, they are national suppliers of polytunnels large and small.  (01363) 83050 Website: www.ferryman.uk.com E-mail:  info@ferryman.uk.com

For easy seed sowing in larger areas, we find the EarthWay Seeder is brilliant.  We used to recommend another supplier on this page, but then started supplying these ourselves for several years, and at a better price!  Go to the OnLine Toolshop for the latest information.

We have found that using soil blocks is a really effective way of raising young plants ready for transplanting to the open ground.  We started looking for them after reading Eliot Coleman’s book The New Organic Grower (see the ‘Recommended Books’ page) and it took quite a search to find that they were actually produced in the UK!  We have been quietly recommending them for years, but in early 2007 we were delighted to start SELLING them as well!  Have a look at them in the OnLine Toolshop

We started making soil blocks with our own modification of Eliot Coleman’s ‘recipe’, using peat mixed with sand, garden compost, etc.  After doing this for a few years, we tried using coir fibre as a peat substitute, with very good results, so we stopped buying peat and started getting coir fibre in compressed blocks from Fertile Fibre, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8LT.  (01584) 781575.  They also sell seed/potting mixes, etc.  Website:  www.fertilefibre.co.uk
Tools, Equipment and Machinery
Dave and Val Taylor
Wilanson, Blackberry Lane, Lapford, Devon, EX17 6LY  Tel:  07792 592068
blackberrylane.co.uk@gmail.com   http://www.blackberrylane.co.uk      See ‘What’s New?’ Page for more contact details
The Blackberry Lane Blog            @Blackberry_Lane