Preparing for Winter

November is usually a fairly quiet month on the gardening calendar. Catching up with the digging over, perhaps spreading some manure or lime on the soil to be ready for the spring but otherwise not a huge amount going on.

Well you can hardly describe this November as a quiet month. The storms have been incredible. I know we’re exposed here, so get it full-force but it’s been pretty rough everywhere from what I can gather.

Preparing Equipment for Winter Storage

My equipment is currently being stored in a pretty damp outbuilding but the allotment shed was hardly bone dry. By equipment, I mean two rotovators and a shredder. Left to themselves in the damp winter air they’re going to rust and by spring be in pretty sorry state so I’ve given them all a good wipe over with an oily rag and a spray of WD40 around the engines just to keep the wet repelled.

You should drain any fuel out of the engines as well. Strangely, fuel goes stale over time and apparently can deposit gunk inside the engine, which could cause it not to work.

Disposing of Stale Old Petrol

Draining the petrol leaves you with a disposal problem though. You should never pour it down a drain or onto land, especially near a watercourse. It’s polluting and you don’t really want to be responsible for blowing up a drain!

Some councils, but only some, have places where you can dispose of stale petrol – what they do with it then, I haven’t a clue. So what to do with stale petrol? I’m not going to suggest pouring it onto a patch of weeds and throwing a match in. Someone would be bound to blow themselves up and blame me!

I’ve been told you can get away with mixing old stale petrol with fresh petrol 50:50 or 1:3 and using that in your garden machinery. Once again, I’m not recommending it in case it damages your engine but that’s what I do/

Supermarkets – Can You Trust Them?

Even the most dedicated gardener and grower still needs to buy some food and usually from a supermarket. So I was amazed to see on the BBC’s Watchdog programme that Tesco have been selling a cheaper cut of beef as topside.

According to the BBC the cut they were selling would take a lot longer to cook to be tender. Now I can understand a mistake, but this was happening in a number of their shops.

Even more incredible was their response that from now on they’ll label the cheap joints as ‘Beef Roasting Joint’. No abject apology for misleading their customers, just a statement that they’d find a better way to mislead them.

If anyone would like to buy a Mercedes off me, then I’ve got one for sale. Yes, I know it’s badge says Skoda but it’s a car, innit? It’s got four wheels, just like the Merc.

Seriously though, it shows the attitude. Now how do we know we can trust anything they say? Tesco are the people who offered two 99p bottles of squash on an amazing offer of £2.00.

Asda, meanwhile, are having problems with their adding up and managed to over-charge some poor soul £100 on their online shopping bill! You couldn’t make it up. Meanwhile, Sainsbury were offering large value packs that were more money per kilo than the small normal packs.

Incidentally, we spotted that trick in a French supermarket and warned some French shoppers. Now British shoppers would just have said thank you but not the French – within minutes a crowd was gathering and berating a store manager for the outrage.

We sort of backed away quietly before they got around to rioting and burning down the meat counter whilst setting up a Guillotine.

It does make you wonder if we’re too well behaved in this country. Maybe some Gallic passion and temper would help stop the rip-offs and stop the big supermarkets treating us with utter contempt. Every little helps, you know!

Or perhaps we could go back to buying quality food from local butchers, fishmongers, farmers markets and the lady down the road who sells eggs. People who actually value their customers and their reputation.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
12 comments on “Preparing for Winter
  1. Fran says:

    We are lucky in that although we live in a fairly small village we still have a butchers, a bakers, a post office and a general store. The butchers and the bakers are cheaper and far better quality than any of the large supermarkets. Luckily most people in the village support them, but you still get the idiots who go would rather go to the supermarket and pay more for less!!

  2. Graham Johnston says:

    Hello all, I’m the butcher – Graham Johnston- who reported Tesco to watchdog on Monday.The butcher who sold the Cheaper cut as Topside knew it wasn’t Topside. After he served the beef to a customer, I said to him “That isn’t topside mate, is it mate?” He replied “I know. Tesco want us to do it”. There was loads of the same meat on the counter. Tesco are doing it all over the country. If you are not a butcher you wouldn’t know. I’m going to put the filming on U tube as soon as I can.
    The meat isn’t even 28days hung either, it’s too red looking. I would say to anyone that wants tender meat, ‘go to a proper butchers’.

  3. John says:

    Thanks for exposing this, Graham. I can’t understand why Trading Standards haven’t got them for this deliberate fraud on their customers.

    Let me know when it’s up on Youtube 🙂

  4. Graham Johnston says:

    Trading standards are not butchers they only look at the labels.There should be trading standards for the meat trade only.
    If you know the meat market in Birmingham, you can get good beef from there. Proper tender beef. I would go to Alan Dochety Butchers. All their beef is air hung 28 days.The Bullring Birmingham. That’s the butchers I was filmed in, it’s a great place.

  5. Graham Johnston says:

    Trading standards are not butchers they only look at the lables.There should be trading standards for the meat trade only.
    If you know the meat market in birmingham you can get good beef from there, Proper tender beef.I would go to Alan Doherty Butchers all there beef is air hung 28 days.The Bullring Birmingham.Thats the butchers i was filmed in its a great place.

  6. Samantha says:

    Well done Graham – need more like you to uncover the ‘truth’. I shop at Tesco online but walk into my town each week for my meat from the Butchers – it just tastes so different and have noticed my children eat more too now !! I also drive to the farm shop for my veg,eggs and coal.

  7. Lydia says:

    I cannot understand why supermarket shoppers dont make more fuss. I am very lucky as in town we have a farmer with a greengrocers shop in which she sells her own meat, local eggs and local juice. I do have to shop at Sainsburys but only for the things I cannot buy in town. I’m very fussy about the things I buy and dont have money to waste. Perhaps we should learn from the French and ‘revolt’ instead of being so very British and good mannered.

  8. roger says:

    recently bought 2 tesco ham mushroom pizzas the foulest thing i have in years

  9. pam carroll says:

    Hello All,
    I stumbled on this site, I am in Shawnee,Kansas, USA. and I have really enjoyed reading all of your posts. Funny how we all have the same views towards those that “cheat” no matter what country you are from.
    I am wanting to get more “off the grid” and learning how to grown food in pots (I have 1.5 acers, but soon when food prices go up, people will start stealing it right out off the bush) so I can grow inside my home.
    thanks for this website… pam carroll usa

  10. Colin says:

    I look forward to spring, when bloggers thoughts will turn to growing vegetables again.

  11. Graham Johnston says:

    Tesco are up to it again dirty tricks again with the christmas beef.I was the butcher Graham Johnston who reported them last for year selling thick flank as topside to bbc watchdog.Be carefull when you buy your beef from Tesco every one.

  12. Graham Johnston says:

    Hello every one who likes good beef. I’m the butcher Graham Johnston who reported Tesco to BBC Watchdog for selling crap meat. Its Christmas in 2 weeks so be careful, they are up to their old tricks as they have been doing for years. Topside/toprump labelling. Is it pine or oak or a jag or an old mini?
    4.00 a kg is not possible. It is a loss. It’s on sale to get you in the store. Good luck if you find any Topside and if you do it’s too fresh to eat. (Meat needs to age to be at its best)

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