Friday, 10 May 2013

Product testing for The Guardian continued

Recently I had the great pleasure of writing a blogspot for The Guardian about accessible garden tools and the availability of such products.

After alot of searching I was sent quite a few products from Active hands, SeedSava, and PETA-uk which were included in The Guardian blog, please follow this link to find out all about them:

However I was sent so many items, which truly was a great surprise, I did not have enough space to write about them all, so I have decided to write about them here and hopefully lots of you will give some of the great products a go. All the following products were not designed with disability in mind, yet with a little creative thinking and in my case "I will make it work" attitude they have all proved great accessible products for the garden .

Firstly I trialed a great set of cloches from I was sent four cloches in all, two were a great barn shape for those higher veggies like cabbage and caulies and two really useful seedling tent style cloches. The thing I liked most about these cloches was the lightweight quality. They were easy to lift onto my raised beds, and being made from sturdy acrylic they are almost unbreakable. I really loved the way they look and feel, no sharp edges, easy to see through so you can keep an eye on your plants without having to remove them and they are small enough to be lifted without damaging your crops. A great idea too is that you can place as many as you like together so you can cover as much or as little as necessary. Wheelchair users would be able to lift these easily with one hand which is excellent, and children will love to use them thus being encouraged out into the garden and grow there own seeds. An all round winner that I would highly recommend for any gardener, whether you have a disability, arthritis, back trouble or none of these then these cloches will make your veg garden a better place.

I then gave a superb organic plant food maker a go, available from

This is a brilliant way to use up those pesky dandelion leaves, grass clippings and any other green garden waste. You simply fill the basket inside the main body, clip it together, add four litres of rain water and off you go. every now and then, about 2 to 4 times a week pump the handle connected to the basket through the lid, this aerates the green waste and adds oxygen. After three weeks all the goodness has been extracted and you have plenty of organic and free plant food. Again this product was not designed with disability in mind but Lakeland were keen to know if it was and how I used it.

The first thing that struck me was the neat and compact design. It can be placed at the perfect height to suit the users needs, mine is on a low table that is just right for small people such as myself. it can be popped at wheelchair height quite easily too. One thing I found a bit tricky was clipping the basket together as it is quite stiff and I did need a bit of help with this and I am yet to open the basket so at this point am unsure if I can open it to refill it. However I am sure my husband James will be able to modify it for me. only having two fingers has made him quite used to adapting most things for me, he is getting ingenious. This said though I loved this product, it looks smart and the fact that you get plenty of plant food and it can used over and over again in ideal if you have thousands of hungry plants like me. The pump action was simple and very easy to pull up and down, I could even do it just with one hand and two fingers, so if I can do it then anyone can! I would definitely advise all you keen and organic gardeners to give this product a try. I have thoroughly enjoyed using it and will continue to do so for many years.

I hope these extra reviews have been helpful, don't forget the have a look at The Guardian gardening blogspot for the other products that I tested.

I have one more review to write up however I only received the goods a day or so ago so have to yet give them a thorough try out yet, but watch this space for a review of the garden dungarees designed by women for women at

Useful Tips revisited

Over the weekend I thought it would be a good idea to take some photographs of the garden tools that I use and show you all how I use them. Hopefully they might help and inspire you :)

These three tools I most definitely could not live without. I can not in any way use secateurs, for years and years I tried but all I could manage was daft cuts that left stems hanging off the plant! Not a good idea.
The small pink deadheaders are just great for snipping off heads and taking cuttings. They are very light and even I can use them one handed, very very unusual for me. The slightly larger pink by-pass snippers are equally useful for those stems that are a little thicker and need a bit more effort. I have to use two hands here but as the blades are nicely pointed I can get them in between the stems easily as I can not hold whatever it is that needs a snip. Trust me I have tried to do this with the cordless electric secateurs in the picture and only just managed to avoid chopping off my little finger, the secateurs went one way and I went the other. With only three fingers I really don't have any to spare! :)

here you can see me in action, one handed  happily snipping the dead heads from my violas :)

Tulips need a bit more force so here I use the by-pass snippers, brilliant 
These cordless secateurs work a treat on those pesky tough branches and I can now prune much bigger trees and shrubs. Something I have always wanted to be able to do but could never manage it until now. My husband, James's face was quite a picture after I had finished pruning for the first time, the whole garden had become me sized!
My newest invention that came into being over the weekend is my new  mobile watering system.

After spending quite some time wondering how I could water the garden without trying to drag a hospeipe round the garden and getting very wet into the bargain I came up with this handy idea after watching James use his fertiliser/weed killer sprayer.
This sprayer holds 10 litres of water and fits neatly inside the shopping trolley. Once filled with water I can wheel the trolley around the garden, even across the grass and water away to my hearts content. I can even reach my beloved hanging baskets that used to wilt in the summer waiting for a water thanks to the handy wand. No heavy lifting of watering cans, not actually possible for me anyway and it also beats the hosepipe ban so it doesn't matter if you have a disability or not, everyone can water their garden easily.

I hope you have found some of my ideas useful

Bye for now


The Potting Shed :)