Fiskars PowerGearX bypass pruners PX92 – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

powergear-x-pruner-m-bypass-px92-1023630_productimageThe PowerGear™ mechanism is not new to Fiskars. In fact some years ago it was launched but this is a new version of it.

I then had the opportunity to test the P92 bypass secateurs and found them very good indeed. In fact it is the pair that travels with me to my garden – well, it is not a long travel but – each and every time. The P92 also has a very nice little plastic holster that came with it. Alas, that is the one thing that I am sorely missing with the PX92.

The Fiskars PowerGearX bypass pruners PX92 is intended For cutting of fresh branches up to Ø 20 mm, that is just someone under one inch for those that work in old money. Bypass pruners are not – theoretically – meant to be used for dry dead wood.

Unique PowerGear™ mechanism makes cutting up to 3.5 times easier vs standard mechanisms, says Fiskars, and that is certainly does.

Light-weight and durable FiberComp constuction and blades from extra hard, corrosion resistant steel (CrMoV) with PTFE coated upper blade for ultimate performance. Conformed SoftGrip™ handles for optimum comfort and balance. Optimized for small and medium hand sizes.

To some extent the PX92 is, more or less, a slight upgrade to the older P92 (shame they left the holster away), though with somewhat more oomph, as the cutting seems to be easier still. The PX92 is also significantly larger than the P92, which, in turn, also increases the cutting action and power.

A very powerful pair of pruners in small package.

© 2017


A new pop up takeaway serving award-winning plant-based foods from ethical food firm VBites has opened in Vienna, Austria.

Located in the busy Mariahilferstraße 101 shopping area, the ‘vegan to go’ takeaway is open six days a week and offers a selection of vegan foods along with vegan beers and iced tea.

Visitors to the pop-up can choose from the delicious VBites meat-free pizzas, burgers, fries and wraps along with Thai curry soup and salad.

Stand out options include the vegan doner kebab featuring VBites’ meat-free ‘lamb’ as well as hoisin ‘duck’ wrap.

The first of VBites’ expansion into Europe, the potential franchise is initially set to run for two months and could become a permanent fixture if it proves a success, according to Paul-Josef Colloredo-Mannsfeld, a potential franchisee and promoter of the vegan takeaway.

“Vegan food is really booming worldwide,” he said. “With VBites we have a strong and established partner. If the pop up is successful, we plan to establish a year-round business. Feedback so far has been extremely positive.”

All VBites foods are made from 100% natural plant-based ingredients and free from animal products/derivatives, cholesterol, lactose, hydrogenated fats, artificial colours and GMOs, so suitable for vegetarians, vegans, people who are lactose or casein intolerant, meat reducers and those looking for healthier and more ethical lifestyles. Many VBites foods are also kosher and halal approved and pareve.

The VBites ‘vegan to go’ takeaway is open from 10am till 8pm, Monday to Saturday. There is also a small pub garden for those who want to 'eat in'.

For more information about VBites Foods, please visit
For information on VBites cafes, visit

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

5 Reasons You Should Start Your Own Seeds Instead Of Buying Seedlings

It's a little extra work upfront, but the benefits are pretty astounding.

seedlings in biodegradable pots

Sure, it’s easy to pick up a few “six packs” of tomatoes and marigolds at the garden center. But why do that when you can have a greater selection of veggies (and fruits), huge yields for way less money, and plants that have never been treated with chemical fertilizers or herbicides? Seems like a no-brainer to us.

Here, we cover the 5 most compelling reasons to start your own seeds this growing season.

Bigger Yields For Less Money

Even after you figure the cost of seed-starting supplies, growing your own transplants is still cheap. At the garden center, a flat of 36 petunias, for instance, will cost you about $12, but a packet of 100 seeds costs only about $2.

Read more here.



Fiskars, one the UK’s leading gardening tool suppliers, is proud to unveil its exciting new PowerGear™ X range. The innovative cutting tools are a true evolution of engineering and ergonomics, making pruning and lopping easier than ever before.

This brand new generation of gardening tools is surprisingly powerful, with the pioneering PowerGear™ mechanism creating 3x the power in each and every cut, significantly reducing the physical effort needed to prune.

With super sharp PFTE coated precision blades, designed to slice effortlessly through the toughest wood, the PowerGear™ X range is weather resistant, virtually unbreakable and feature a brand new structural 3D soft grip for increased grip and optimal comfort. For the more intensive tasks, a robust aluminium shaft to reduce weight and increase control, complements the lightweight loppers.

Every aspect of design, performance and usability has been considered. Vibrant orange handles increase visibility, making tools easy to locate in even the most overgrown setting. With rivets replaced by bolts, maintenance is easy, increasing tool performance and longevity.

The new Fiskars PowerGear™ X range gives power to all gardeners - whether novice or seasoned.

PowerGear™ X Pruners

With 3x the cutting power of traditionally designed pruners, the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X pruners are easy to use. The patented gear mechanism and impressive power means that bigger, more efficient cuts can be made with a fraction of the effort.

The ergonomic rotating handle follows your hand’s natural clenching motion, reducing stress and fatigue. With a textured soft grip providing optimal comfort, the PowerGear™ X is the perfect pruner for those with large scale pruning tasks, as well as those who suffer from arthritis, rheumatism or carpal tunnel syndrome.

With increased visibility and a new locking mechanism, the pruners are easier to locate and safer to use. The advanced FiberComp™ construction results in a lighter, weather resistant tool, perfect for serious gardeners.

The new PowerGear™ X pruner range is available in Bypass pruner M, Bypass pruner L and Anvil pruner L.

Fiskars PowerGear™ X Hedge Shears

The innovative design for the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X Hedge Shears incorporates ergonomic principles with advanced technology, resulting in a lightweight hedge shear with more balance and control than ever before.

It is hard to believe that the patented gear mechanism can improve productivity so dramatically, but with 3x the power to every cut, this hedge shear cuts effortlessly through growth.

The new soft 3D contoured orange handle provides optimal grip and comfort, reducing fatigue and improving visibility in the garden. Fiskars hedge shears cut along the full length of the blade and the new construction makes it easy for tool maintenance.

The Fiskars PowerGear™ X Hedge Shears are the tool of choice for gardeners that need to take control.

Fiskars PowerGear™ X Lopper

Cutting through tough woody branches should be hard work, but with the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X Lopper, it’s surprisingly easy. The ingenious PowerGear™ mechanism creates 3x the cutting power in every cut, without increasing effort for the gardener. When you take the precision ground stainless steel blades with friction reducing coating into account, and the robust lightweight aluminium handles, it is easy to see why the Fiskars PowerGear™ X Lopper has the best in class cutting power.

The new handle design utilises the soft grip material and with its 3D contour surface increases control and reduces the need for excessive grip, reducing the strain often associated with lopping. The lightweight aluminium shaft results in a tool that can be comfortably used for extended periods. Like every tool in the new Fiskars PowerGear™ X range, the new loppers can be dismantled and maintained with ease, providing gardeners with powerful tools, designed to last.

For more information on Fiskars gardening tools and the brand new PowerGear™ X range visit

Fiskars is a leading global supplier of branded consumer products for the home, garden and outdoors. Products are renowned worldwide for their functionality and cutting-edge design, and the group boasts a strong portfolio of trusted international brands such as Fiskars, Iittala, and Gerber. Our most iconic product, the orange-handled scissors, was born in 1967 and is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year. The orange scissors revolutionized the everyday cutting experience, being the first plastic-handled scissors in the world. Fiskars is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. The group recorded net sales of 768 million euros in 2014, and employs some 4,800 people in over 20 countries. Founded in 1649, Fiskars is Finland's oldest company.

This press release is presented without editing for your information only.

Full Disclosure Statement: The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW received no compensation for any component of this article.

8 cooking liquids you shouldn't toss

How to turn these 'waste' liquids into culinary gold.

Liquid from canned chickpeas can be used in many recipes as a substitute for egg whites.

Think of all the leftover food-related liquid you pour down the drain — everything from that briny water in canned artichokes and jarred pickles to the cooking water from boiled potatoes. Even thrifty types may have trouble seeing a way to reuse them, but tossing these fluids is like throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater, a real kitchen crime.

That’s because many juicy throwaways — fluids you either already paid for or created from scratch — are often worth their weight in gastronomic gold. They add not just vitamins and minerals to dishes you whip up, but also deliver flavor, depth, creaminess and thickness (similar to store-bought spices, marinades and other expensive recipe-enhancers).

Here’s how to turn eight common kitchen "waste" liquids into liquid gold. These ideas are sure to please your inner penny-pincher, as well as your family’s taste buds (including pets and plants).

Read more here.

From Trash To Treads: Turning Tomato Peels and Eggshells Into Tires

Scientists at Ohio State University are replacing the petroleum-based filler in tires with food waste


Back when she lived in California, Katrina Cornish found herself wondering about those open trucks she saw carrying big loads of ripe tomatoes. Why, she thought, weren’t the tomatoes on the bottom crushed into big red puddles.

The reason, she would later learn, is that the tomatoes were bred to have tough skins that allowed them to withstand all that weight from above.

That bit of knowledge would come to serve Cornish well after she moved to Ohio State University, where she is a biomaterials researcher. Recently, she and her research team discovered that not only those tough tomato peels, but also crushed eggshells, can be effective replacements for the petroleum-based filler used in car tires.

“What you want in a filler is something really tough and strong,” she says. “That was why we looked at the tomato peels.”

The filler of choice in tires and other rubber products has long been something called carbon black, a powdery carbon product that comprises 30 percent of most tires. In fact, it’s the reason many rubber products are black. Carbon black helps makes the rubber in tires more durable.

But it is in increasingly short supply as demand for cars is rising rapidly in developing countries. At the same time, carbon black production in the U.S. has dropped in recent years as the EPA cracked down on plants emitting excessive amounts of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.

That has made U.S. rubber manufacturers more dependent on overseas companies for a product that has always been susceptible to fluctuations in world oil prices.

The potential of food waste

So, being able to use food wastes to reduce the amount of carbon black needed could lower costs. It also could bring environmental benefits. “One reason these are such an asset is the whole sustainability issue,” says Cornish. “Carbon black is produced with petroleum. If you could start replacing some of this non-sustainable material with sustainable material, then you’re helping to wean us off petroleum.”

There’s clearly no shortage of food waste in America. Americans consume more than 30 pounds of tomatoes per person per year, according to the Department of Agriculture most of them canned or processed in some way, such as sauce on pizzas. Food companies peel and discard the tough skin. And, every American consumes, on average, close to 270 eggs a year, bringing the total in the country to about 86 billion. Roughly 40 percent of those eggs are used by food companies, which end up shipping tons of cracked shells to landfills. There they sit for a long time because they don’t break down very easily.

“We thought that using eggshells as filler would be a better fate than ending up in the landfill,” says Cornish. “And I was very pleasantly surprised when it turned out that they are a very effective reinforcing filler, and not a diluent filler.”

Read more here.

Bicycle Highways: Clear road and green light all the way for cyclists

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Cycle highwaysGermany has just begun bicycle highways in several of the federal states with Northrhine-Westphalia being the staring point, so to speak. Others are due to follow, including in the state of Saxony in the East of Germany (territory of the GDR).

The fist one has now been opened, though only the first three-mile stretch, that will eventually span over 62 miles, connecting 10 western cities including Duisburg, Bochum, and Hamm, as well as four universities.

Saxony is geared to create four of those but the building of those won't get started until 2021. The first route will be between Halle and Markkleeberg via Leipzig, and others are between Radeberg and Dippoldiswalde, Pirna and Meissen, as well as from Markkleeberg to the White Magpie (Weisse Elster), a river.

Those bicycle highways are entirely separate roadway that will remain completely car-free. Like a traditional highway, those bicycle highways have passing lanes, overpasses and underpasses for crossroads, and even streetlights. However, cyclists won't have to worry about trucks zooming by or bus lanes. It's just a clear path for miles and miles.

It is hoped that those highways will encourage more commuters onto their bicycles rather than using the car and it is certainly something that other regions and countries, including the UK, should copy.

The idea of those Velo Routes comes from the Netherlands where such highways have been in existence for quite some time already.

A study in the Ruhr area suggests that the route there will have the potential to take an estimated 50,000 cars off the road each day. Not a bad number for sure.

© 2017

Greenpeace Energy erreicht Durchbruch für Balkon-Solarkraftwerke

simon solar balkon

Im Streit um die Nutzung kleiner Solarmodule für Balkone und Terrassen gibt Deutschlands größter Verteilnetzbetreiber Westnetz auf Druck von Greenpeace Energy seinen Widerstand auf.

Ab sofort ermöglicht Westnetz den Anschluss der Module auf unbürokratische Weise: In ihrem Versorgungsgebiet genügt es für Nutzer jetzt, Namen und Adresse, Leistung und Fabrikat der Module zu melden, dann können diese dort bis zu einer Leistungsgrenze von 300 Watt de facto ohne sonstige Auflagen in die Steckdose gesteckt werden. „Das Einlenken von Westnetz ist ein Durchbruch für die städtische Energiewende in Bürgerhand“, sagt Sönke Tangermann, Vorstand bei Greenpeace Energy. „Damit bekommen Millionen von Mietern die Chance, sauberen Strom zu erzeugen und selbst zu verbrauchen.“

„Der Anschluss und der Betrieb einer Eigenanlage Photovoltaiksystem ‚simon‘ ist möglich“

Möglich wurde dieser Erfolg durch ein von Greenpeace Energy unterstütztes Verfahren vor der Bundesnetzagentur. Westnetz, die Netztochter von Innogy (früher RWE), hatte den Anschluss eines Solarmoduls des Typs simon mit 150 Watt Spitzenleistung blockiert und in Briefen an die Greenpeace-Energy-Kundin auf angebliche Gefahren verwiesen. Dabei schlossen Gutachten unabhängiger Institute solche Risiken aus.

In dem Verfahren räumte Westnetz abschließend ein, dass es nach Prüfung der vorgelegten Unterlagen an seiner bisherigen Einschätzung nicht weiter festhalte: „Der Anschluss und der Betrieb einer Eigenanlage Photovoltaiksystem ‚simon‘ ist möglich“. Schädliche oder störende Rückwirkungen auf das Elektrizitätsversorgungsnetz seien nicht erkennbar. Unterhalb der 300-Watt-Grenze verzichtet der westdeutsche Netzbetreiber zudem auf den Einbau von Stromzählern mit Rücklaufsperre.„Die anderen deutschen Netzbetreiber müssen dem Vorbild von Westnetz nun folgen“, sagt Tangermann. „Noch aber schüchtern viele Betreiber Mini-Solar-Interessenten massiv ein.

Hier weiterlesen.

I Trust Cows More Than I Trust Chemists: A Conversation With Joan Gussow

Joan Gussow

This interview appears in the Spring 2016 issue of the Slow Money Journal.

Joan Dye Gussow, Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emerita and former chair of the Program in Nutrition at Columbia University Teachers College, Nutrition Education Program, lives, writes, and grows organic vegetables on the west bank of the Hudson River. Long retired, she is still co-teaching her course in nutritional ecology at TC every fall. She is author, co-author or editor of five books including The Feeding Web: Issues in Nutritional Ecology, This Organic Life and Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables.

Q. Michael Pollan has referred to you as his guru. You were talking about “nutritional ecology” way back in the 1970s. How did you originally develop this concept?

A. Yes, the term first went public in the subtitle of my book: The Feeding Web: Issues In Nutritional Ecology, which was published in 1978. This for me was an attempt to address the whole ball of wax. I might not have picked the right term for it. But I didn’t know how else to describe what I was after.

Some time earlier, I had seen an exchange in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Someone had written the editor asking why the journal had no coverage of the world hunger crisis, and the editor wrote back and said the world food crisis was the field of agricultural economists, demographers, and agronomists, but that it was not part of the field of clinical nutrition. Too often, the field of nutrition was this narrow.

Another example: I once asked a classroom of nutrition students to pick from a selection of journals about food, nutrition, and medicine one journal they thought their fellow students should read. I myself was fascinated by the food journals where you saw ads for what was coming next. Once I saw an ad for ”powdered cloud #9” that “gives your juice drinks eye-appealing opacity.” But not a single student in that class picked a “food” journal. One of them actually said to me later, “I don’t think that being interested in nutrition means you have to be interested in food.” So, on the one hand you had a nutrition editor who didn’t think his field had to do with hunger and on the other hand you had a nutrition student who didn’t see why she needed to be interested in food. Clearly, a broader view of things was needed. ‘Nutritional Ecology’ was my attempt at such a broader framework.

Read more here.

BALL® home preserving starter kit – Product Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

New to preserving? Here’s everything you need to get started, all in one package!

starterkit2As the reader may know from the other article about Ball® having just entered the UK market they have got this lovely little starter kit, suitable especially for the beginner but, obviously, not just the beginner.

I recently received this kit in the mail for review and this will just be – more or less – an initial review because in order to try it out with preserving something I will need to have the garden produce something and presently it is a little early in the season.

The kit came, as said, by post, actually by UK Parcel Force (not known for their gentle handling of parcels, similar to DHL) but, despite the fact that the package was just the carton in which the kit is sold all arrived without the least of a problem. No damage at all. More than can be said for well packaged grow table that came via DHL from the Netherlands and that suffered some damage. OK, the stuff arrived in good order and that is important.

The kit has everything that anyone starting out in preserving (canning as it is also often called, or bottling) would and could need, bar the pot, obviously. I had thought that I still had the large aluminium pot that I had a wile back but, alas, somewhere along the line it parted company with me. So, there I was having to go out and get a new one. But ALDI had a stock pot – OK, it cost almost £18 but it will serve for many years to come, I am sure – and that's what I do. Had to pay for that, unfortunately.

OK, so what do you get in the kit?

  • Preserving Rack (made of a silicone kind of plastic material) which fits most kitchen stockpots

  • 4 Ball® 240ml Jelly Jars with Lids & Bands – specifically designed for preserving to ensure a quality seal for the pantry

  • Basic Preserving Utensils – simplifies the process for beginners – consisting of a plastic funnel that is the proper size for the mouth of the jars, a plastic spatula kind of tool, and tongs for lifting the hot jars.

  • Home Preserving Guide & Recipe Booklet – includes 3 Simple Steps to Preserving & 3 Delicious Recipes

For anyone wanting to make a start with preserving their garden produce, making jams and chutneys, etc., this starter kit is ideal, as long as they have a big enough pot to put the rack into with enough water above the jars. That's all.

This is a great kit to get you started and after that continue with preserving and canning the produce from your own garden, the hedgerows and seasonal offers at the farmers' markets, greengrocers, and the produce section in your supermarkets even.

© 2017