NZ Lifestyle Block
We test it: No-dig vs double-digging
Bob has good news if you have sweated your way through double digging your garden for the first time.
Creating the hawthorn walk at Barewood Garden
The gardeners of Barewood tell their secrets to recreating a beautiful feature of their landscape.
Permaculture systems in your garden
Permaculture is a fancy name for all the things many of us are already doing in our orchards. Ben Gaia shares tips to get you growing more food using fewer chemicals.
Secrets to growing olives in cold weather
There’s a great way to grow olive trees even when your place gets really cold.
25 tips to protect your block from fire
When you live on a lifestyle block you face a higher risk from fire than people who live in a town or city.
Quick tips: Veggies to plant in March
It’s the start of autumn and time to get ready for winter, but still room for a touch of summer.
Plant turnips now for a bumper crop
The range of turnips available today, especially the mini ones, are a very quick and easy plant to grow and sweet-tasting
How to grow great raspberries
Raspberries are a great option for the lifestyle block. Ben Gaia looks at how to get the best production.
3 irresistible plum recipes
When plums go crazy, these recipes will help you use them all up in the most delicious ways possible.
8 lessons to learn from a herb garden gone wild
Five years after planting her herb garden, Jenny Somervell’s plants have forgotten who is boss.
Stop parasites feasting on your poultry this summer
We look at the insects that can have population explosions in your hen house over summer.
How to make Japanese moss balls
Japanese moss balls- kokedama- are an art form that’s easy and cheap to make, but there are a few secrets to their success.
Recipe: Citrus cooler
You can use any mix of citrus to make this perfect evening drink, and dress it up with mint and borage flowers.
A guide to find the perfect crop for your block
Moving to a new block is an exciting time, but it’s easy to get carried away. Before you get started, take a little time to think strategy.
What we can learn from the ancestors of the domestic hen
Get a better understanding of your hens by learning about their South East Asian ancestors.
The Matakana sancutary for animals in need of TLC
We visit a sanctuary for unloved animals and injured birds on a unique lifestyle block set up just for them.
Tried and tested bottled Blackboy peaches
Blackboy peach fan Kristina Jensen shares her overflow method for bottling with her favourite peach.
Truffle growing experiments
It’s an underground treasure whose production is unpredictable, but a delight chefs will pay $3500 per kilogram to shave over a dish.
3 inspiring New Zealand food forests
We take a guided tour through three very different food forests at different stages in their lifecycle.
9 tips to grow great passionfruit
Passionfruit is a warm-climate plant, but with protection from wind and cold, plants can be grown in cooler areas too.
Tips for a breezy summer with your livestock
How to protect your livestock from facial eczema and why it pays to have good shade.
How to give your coop a thorough clean out
Summer is the perfect time to clean out your hen house when there’s enough daylight hours and warmth to let it thoroughly dry out.
Why scientists are researching health benefits of Moonglow tomatoes
There are tomatoes, and then there is this great-tasting heritage variety with a very special secret.
4 tips to taking on a 'blocksitter'
We need a break beyond our boundaries sometimes, and that means making sure animals, gardens and your home are safe and secure without you.
Top tips for a thriving watercress plant
Watercress can be grown in pots, is surprisingly hardy and tolerates being frozen.
From derelict barn to award-winning berry business
A Wairarapa couple have transformed a derelict wee barn and rundown lifestyle block into a successful fruit and berry business.
7 tips to growing Japanese wineberries
Don’t be afraid of trying new fruits, especially ones as delicious as this.
From city slicker to olive oil
Jared Gulian had always lived in the city, but these days there’s nowhere else in the world he’d rather be than on a small block in Martinborough in the dappled shade of his olive grove.
Artist John McLean's coastal orchard in Taranaki
Artist John McLean was driven by need to become self-sufficient 30 years ago, but today he and wife Chris couldn't live any other way.
Hands-on help for an egg bound hen
The description of a hen being ‘egg bound’ is often mentioned but is it really egg bound? Here’s how to find out, and how you can get hands-on and help out.
Couple create fernbird safehaven
A Southland couple have turned their block into an internationally-recognised wetland of importance, and a safe haven for one of NZ's rare birds.
The best sex strategy for a lifestyle block
4 good things that happen when you use plants for protection
Planting out alongside waterways has important long-term benefits, but scientists would love your help to find out more.
How to make natural fabric dyes
Your garden is full of opportunities for you to make and use natural dyes.
Where will you find your eggs today?
If you want your hens to lay eggs in the right place, the most basic requirement is a nest they'll like over all others. But hens have some odd views on what they prefer.
Grow wild strawberries
Alpine strawberries are quite easy to grow, and very hardy in marginal lands, like shady forests and snowy alpine hillsides.
'Things we learned installing our composting toilets'
When the owner-builders of one of New Zealand’s first hemp homes decided they also wanted to their toilet to have green credentials, they had to battle to get the loo of their dreams.
8 facts you need to know about soil
We summarise the results of 200 studies about soil so you can improve your soil biology.
Organic ways to control codling moth
Bugs are a part of nature and I come in peace, but when they invade an entire apple crop, its time to declare war and this is the time to get started.
The 7 common reasons why a septic tank fails
It’s estimated that more than 40,000 of the 270,000 or so on-site domestic wastewater systems in NZ are at risk of failing.
12 tips for sheep in spring
Getting ready for lambing is the main priority, and this means being prepared for surprises like early lambs which weren’t planned and which often die.
How to build a pigtail rack
If you’ve got a big, messy pile of tangled pigtails, here’s a simple solution you can build to keep them neat and tidy.
How to avoid a crop-bound chicken
Sometimes a chicken bites off more than it can chew. Well, technically, more than it can grind.Sometimes a chicken bites off more than it can chew. Well, technically, more than it can grind.
How to make lemon balm tea
Lemon balm is easy to grow and requires little maintenance, apart from keeping it constrained. Its relaxing properties make the tea useful as an evening drink to promote sleep, and it can also be used to treat colic, nausea, poor digestion, nervous headaches and to help prevent colds and flu.
10 plus trees for fire resistant shelter belts
Climate change research predicts that Canterbury and other rural areas in NZ will be hotter, drier places in the next few decades. Vegetation to prevent the spread of fire will become an important factor for many country properties.
Reader story: Joany's sometimes stall
The roadside stalls that dot the rural landscape, suddenly appearing on a windy road when you least expect it, so I was trying not to let on just how desperate I was for one of my own.
Garden tasks for August
It’s still officially winter, but there’s plenty to do before the days get longer and warmer.
Art with a world view
A leading Japanese businessman who has chosen New Zealand as his home, wields art to encourage society to reuse what exists rather than waste resources. he shares his vision for bringing contemporary art into the natural landscape.
Video: Botanist Philip Simpson shares his love of totara
Our native trees are some of the most unique in the world, and so is the man who has dedicated his life to studying them and telling their stories, including his latest on the king of them all.
7 tips for protecting your bore
A little detective work reveals a common issue for anyone with bore-supplied drinking water.
The benefits of yacons and how to grow them in your backyard
It's and ugly veggie with a fruit flavour and perfect for winter. Here's how to grow yacons in your backyard.
5 tips for growing in a tunnel house
Whether home-made or custom-designed, having a large covered area in our climate enables us to extend our range of growing times and species.
Meet the 'unofficial mayor' of Awakino
Garry Wycherley and Robyn Ansell are putting tiny Awakino on the map, one building at a time
Organic solutions to a Cali thistle problem
Californian thistle is one of the most common weeds on NZ farms, and one of the hardest to kill off, but it is possible to do it without the use of chemicals.
How to espalier fruit trees
Winter is a good time to start an espaliered fruit tree. However, some trees adapt better to espalier than others.
Komatsuna the delicious leafy green (you’ve probably never heard of)
This is one of the most under-rated greens and a great staple vege to get you through winter.
Andean superfood quinoa grown in Taihape
A little experiment with a superfood has turned into a win-win business for a young farming couple.
Recipe: Fermented beetroot
Try fermenting beetroot to add to your next burger or salad rather than opening a can of the sliced stuff.
The science behind growth hormones
One of the enduring myths about commercial poultry is that poultry producers worldwide use growth hormones to make broilers grow faster and produce more meat.
7 reasons to plant this hot poker
Red hot pokers (Kniphofia) are a welcome sight on a dull day in winter, or on any day at any time really.
11 winter pasture tips
Winter may appear as the dull period at the end of the farming year, but there’s much to do and learn about management for spring.
The murky world of NZ water
The discussion around the state of NZ’s fresh water isn’t short of an opinion or two, but science is speaking out more loudly.
How to make pumpkin pie in NZ
How to make the classic North American dessert using New Zealand produce.
10 reasons chickens become murderers
A chicken doesn’t appear to be a complicated bird, but the social structure of a flock is complex.
Native tree flammability test
Data gathered will be used to identify fire-prone ecosystems and the best plants to use as 'green' firebreaks to reduce the spread of destructive wildfires.
Snake beans, bitter melons and curry leaf - grown in Whanganui
Whanganui based green house gardener Shane McCulloch has created a niche market for the hugely popular unusual Asian vegetable market.
Growing kale over winter
If you’re a bit bored by cabbage for your winter garden, its ‘cousin’ kale is a great-looking, great-tasting alternative.
Tips for your best broccoli crop
Broccoli has hit sky-high prices in supermarkets - so why not try growing your own?
8 nuts you need to grow
Growing your own nuts is a long-term plan, but these trees don’t need a lot of attention and having your own fresh, free nut supply is definitely worth a few years of waiting.
Artisan willow weaver encourages community spirit
This old craft is still immensely popular, and encourages a true community spirit on a Golden Bay lifestyle block.
Design a home orchard
A well-designed orchard means you can be self-sufficient in fruit all year-round.
8 tips to having a great WWOOF experience
WWOOF host Diana Noonan offers some vital tips on how to attract and manage reliable, happy willing workers in a digital age.
Meet Rosebud the premature baby alpaca (cria)
May 6 is National Alpaca Day, prepare for a cuteness overload when meeting Rosebud the premature cria, and learn 7 things about alpaca.
The best way to clean your coop
Everything you need to know to thoroughly clean your coop and chicken run to help keep it smelling sweet and healthy.
The secrets to stacking wood like a Norwegian
During the week Jason Price is a management consultant and efficiency expert. At the weekend he becomes a chainsaw-wielding, firewood-stacking ninja who also likes efficiency.
Plantain is a pasturing game changer
The new popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock.
2 secrets to getting your fruit trees through a frost
Two proven methods for helping frost-tender trees get through a big drop in temperature.
Architect Graeme North on the benefits of natural homes
Renowned architect Graeme North discusses the benefits of natural homes with Nadene Hall.
A healthy food plan for post-emergency power cuts
Food in a refrigerator won’t last long without power so plan your food usage carefully to avoid contamination.
How a grandpa's invention grew into a multi-national business
When Bill ‘Grandpa’ Kirkham came up with a good idea for a chicken feeder, he had no idea it would turn into a family-run multi-national business.
3 ways to keep your vet bills low
When you have four cats, two dogs, a horse and 13 goats, vet bills are inevitable, but there is a way to save a lot of money.
How to make your hens like you
Some hens aren’t fussed on humans, while others think they rule the roost and don’t understand why they can’t live with you in the house. Research by a NZ-based animal behaviour expert is now available to show farmers how to make a hen’s life happier.
Yes, this is actually a cucumber
If you like the long green cucumbers, you're going to love these extraordinary orbs.
Are you breaking the law when you host a wwoofer?
Some businesses are disguising their employees as volunteers, so are you breaking the law when you host a wwoofer from another volunteer scheme?
Mexican photographer's first farm visit
Mexican photographer Carla Danieli had never spent time on a farm before her stay on a remote station in the Waihopai Valley.
How to care for your pasture this autumn
It's time to make some tough decisions to make sure you make it through autumn. Here are some tips to ensure your pastures stay in prime condition.
Illegal poultry dumping: why setting a chicken free isn't kind
Everyone has seen poultry dumped on roadsides and around parks , but it's a cruel practice that those who love poultry are trying to stop.
Why this artisan cheesemaker doesn't get paid
The award-winning owners of Lonely Goat say the costs of compliance are nothing to yodel about, and explain why they are working for love, not money.
4 beautiful NZ barn houses
Converting a barn into a home can create a distinctive living space, but it involves a unique set of building challenges.
The basics to a happy hen
What the Animal Welfare codes say you need to do to give your hen the best environment to keep her happy, healthy and productive.
'Why I eat with the seasons'
When Loveday Why discovered she had chronic fatigue syndrome, she found the answer to good health was in her garden.
The colourful history of carrots
The carrot might seem like one of those boring but reliable veges, but they have a colourful past and a much brighter future in terms of health and organic growing.
This is why your eggs aren't perfect
At the first sign of an unusual egg – one without a shell, or those with ridges, pimples or strange markings – the popular advice seems to come from everywhere, but most of it is wrong, and worse, could cause more problems. This is why you need to understand the role of calcium.
5 medical uses of plants in a survival situation
Many of our current pharmaceutical products stem from the beneficial properties first identified in wild plants.
10 inventive NZers share their DIY coop designs
From a water-powered hen gate to a repurposed trampoline - ten inventive New Zealand chicken lovers share their best DIY coop designs.
10 great ideas from a top New Zealand barn
A small obsession with old barns played a big part in the design of this award-winning home. Follow Tane's tips to get the look.
Tasty ways to use avocados
The smooth, creamy texture of avocados makes them a great ally in baking. Give these delicious recipes a try.
4 great ways to frame a country view
Getting the best windows to frame farm views is a crucial part of the design of a country home.
NZer saving animals of all sizes on Victoria farm
A multi-tasking Kiwi with a passion for saving animals has set up a special sanctuary on her lifestyle block just outside Melbourne.
How to start small in the cheese business
Many people have a dream to become artisan cheesemakers. It was 20 years in the making for Adrian and Jill Walcroft of Cartwheel Creamery, but they’re maturing nicely.
A beginner's guide to foraging in New Zealand
There are plenty of edible wild plant foods in the NZ countryside, if you know where to look and what to look for.
How to make the most of a cucumber glut
When you’re knee-deep in cucumbers and zucchini, it’s time to make a mouth-watering preserve that has stood the test of generations.
12 ways to prevent FE using your pasture
Get a handle on Facial Eczema this season by following these 12 tips.
Why you need to give kale another chance
Kale is a trendy healthy option but it can be tough and chewy if not handled with care. Jenny Somervell shares her tips on when to plant and harvest kale and how to cook it properly.
Recipe: Balsamic strawberry bruschetta
If you're looking for something fresh and fancy for Christmas lunch this year, give this balsamic strawberry bruschetta a go.
12 summer pasture tips
There’s a lot to think about when it’s a normal summer, but an abnormal one makes things even more critical. Try out these tips for surviving summer on the block.
Zesty scallop and microgreen salad
These zesty summer flavours are the perfect partner for microgreens.
An ode to nikau palms
Out her kitchen window, Barb Davies watches a battle for life as her nikau palm trees brave the weather.
Make your own 'Chick Inn' coop sign
Follow these step-by-step instructions to create a Chick Inn Coop Sign, as seen on the cover the Summer bumper issue of NZ Lifestyle Block.
How to look after your sheep this summer
Ensure your sheep are the happiest and healthiest they possible can be this summer with these helpful tips.
12 tips to cooking the perfect Christmas turkey
Don't end up with a dried out bird on Christmas Day. Here's 12 tips to ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection.
Incredibly practical Christmas gift ideas
Running out of present ideas for the practical person in your life? NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Hall's gift list might provide inspiration.
This root is the secret to cooking authentic Thai at home
This root is a spicy little cousin of ginger and a great addition to the garden, especially if you love Thai cooking.
5 common plants causing your hayfever
Spring might be over, but there is plenty of pollen still in the air. Listed below are a few of the potential culprits, and it's probably not what you might think.
How to grow tequila
The plants really want to hurt you, the harvest is carried out by digger, then chainsaw, you cook the heart out of it for three days, but the end result is worth toasting.
The quick and slow of Christmas cakes
There is always an easy way and a hard way to do something, and Christmas cake is no different.
Can you grow juniper berries in NZ?
Juniper berries aren't typically found in your average kitchen, but this exotic fruit offers a flavour that jumps out at you and can add that extra punch needed to spice up a dish.
Garden work for November
As the weather starts to warm up, it is prime time to start sprouting flowers, fruit, vegetables, and herbs in your home garden.
Leading the way in eco tourism
Featuring New Zealand's largest earthbag buildings, tipis, a permaculture garden and solar energy, Raglan's Solscape eco-camp is leading the way in sustainable tourism.
A beginner's guide to geese
When you’re considering security options for your farm, you’re probably considering the obvious: alarm system, gate alarm, dog, automatic lights, security cameras, but have you considered the humble goose?
6 tips to growing mandarins (almost ) all year round
If you pick and choose your varieties carefully, you can be munching on sweet mandarins from early winter until late summer or even all year round if you plan it well, and spring is a good time to get planting.
5 common mistakes made by beginner organic gardeners
Making the switch to organic gardening can take some adjustment, but follow this cheat sheet to avoid common hurdles.
6 easy-to-grow cherry tomato varieties
Cherry tomatoes are a good option for smaller gardens. Get planting now to have fruit ready for summer.
A guide to wheat-free pizza bases
Try these gluten-free alternatives to a standard wheat-based pizza crust.
6 organic ways to get rid of gorse
Gorse is one of New Zealand's worst weeds, and your best ally tackle it will be diligence.
Livestock shots 101
If you’ve never vaccinated your livestock before and not lost any, you’ve been lucky. Vaccination is an easy, cheap and important way of keeping your livestock healthy, and alive.
5 fencing jobs you can do yourself
Anyone can build a fence, but it's a science and an art to build a good quality fence.
How do you like them heirloom apples?
An orchard of organic heritage apples, plums and pears is proving an educational experience for its owners and their community.
Grow your own sweetener
To be truly self-sufficient, especially in colder climates, you may think you have to give up sugar, but that’s not the case.
10+ pasture picks for bees, poultry, pigs & goats
Spring is a great time for sowing new pasture, but what do you choose if your stock are a bit out of the ordinary?
2 natives that you don’t want to mess with
You may think of all natives as friendly plants, but two common ones have a deadly secret.
5 things to know before you get pigs
Pigs are smart, engaging livestock, and they taste great too, but it pays to prepared for their specialist requirements before you take delivery.
How to talk turkey
Turkeys are beautiful birds, work hard to keep your farm pest-free and make a great roast.
Success in calf-rearing
It might seem an easy way to make money, but setting up a successful calf-rearing business is harder than it looks.
Why messy orchards are best
The last thing you need is for your orchard to look neat and tidy, at least not ground level anyway.
Take a leek & make a cake
Leeks are a vegetable that Kristina loves and hates, and then she gets baking.
What to sow in the garden right now
The wind-up to spring planting is starting, and one big decision is going to have year-long repercussions.
Things to consider when buying a ride-on mower
If you’re tired of pushing yourself to do the lawns get our tips on how to buy possibly the biggest investment in a single product you’ll make when you live on a lifestyle block.
40+ things that are poisonous to your dog
You need to keep your best friend safe from dangers around your home, but some of the most toxic things are sitting on your dinner plate.
Thinking inside the box
This shipping container uses every square inch to nurture the future of country kids, and the adults too.
6 drought-resistant pasture plants
If you’re planning to renovate pasture and you're in an area that gets dry or drought conditions, consider something tougher than ryegrass.
The 100 mile diet
In 2005, a city-living couple from Canada decided to try eating only food grown locally within a 100 mile radius of their home.
How to prepare a vege patch
It’s almost time to get the vege garden ready and for that, you’ll need to make the earth move.
How to dispose of a dead animal
One of the hardest things to deal with after the death of large animal is disposing of the carcass.
Grandma's recipe for success
Marie Mullins is known as the pickle lady, and the secrets to her success lie on the beautiful lifestyle block she calls home.
How to spin wool and weave
Looking for a new hobby? Weaving and spinning your own wool is an easy and really addictive.
What gardeners can learn from this man
The late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka created a revolutionary way of farming that has no plowing, no fertiliser, no weeding and no pesticides.
7 ways to save on feed costs
Winter feed can really blow your farm budget. Here are some ways to cut down on your feed costs during the colder months.
Grow a giant pumpkin
If you've ever wondered how people win pumpkin-growing competitions, get ready for some seriously strange gardening.
Bare, naked tree planting tips
Winter is a great time to plant your future fruiting trees, but do you know how to do it so you give a tree the optimal start?
Recipe: chocolate stout cake
Kristina Jenson brews up some great beer-based recipes, including a fabulously decadent chocolate cake.
Tips for getting 20kg of tamarillos per tree
They’re fussy, but tamarillos are a tangy treat, and prolific if you know the secrets to high production.
How hard can it be, to plant a stick?
Two great options for fodder, shelter, shade and firewood can be as simple as a stick in the ground
3 winter grazing secrets
Grazing stock on a small farm in winter, can be a challenge but good pasture management can get you through.
What to do in the garden in July
Prune your berry bushes, prepare for early spring veggies and harvest chervil amd miner's lettuce.
Don't get stuck in the mud
No-one likes mud, and it's something you need to manage carefully or the damage to soil can be devastating.
Feed your chicken flock fermented food
Kombucha. Kimchi. Kefir. Fermenting food is all the rage for humans, and now it turns out it can be of great nutritional benefit to your flock too.
A beginner's guide to buying a chainsaw
Chainsaws are an essential backyard tool, but it pays to do your research before you buy and learn how to maintain them.
How to ride an ATV on hilly ground
Riding an ATV is a learned skill and if you don’t do it properly you can easily be badly hurt.
4 ways to weed your waterways
Aquatic weeds can be a major problem in lowland farming areas, but there are a few ways to tackle these pesky and persistent plants.
The perfect cup of tea
New Zealand has a good climate for growing tea. Here's our guide to making the perfect cuppa from garden to table.
Top tips for buying your first poultry flock
Avoid ruffling feathers when buying your first flock with our simple guide.
Coop of the month: Hönshus-1
There's no reason your hens shouldn't live in style. Introducing our coop of the month, the Hönshus-1.
Build an efficient fire
How to make sure your firewood is working at its best and tips for staying warmer than ever this winter.
5 tips for keeping your fences in good condition
A fence is essential on any property with livestock, but not all fences are created equal.
Great firewood trees (and what you might want to avoid)
Here’s what will keep you warm and cozy when you fire up your wood burner this winter.
Caring for sheep during the colder months
The unseasonably hot summer means farmers should keep a close eye on ewes this winter.
Peony flower power: the secret beneath the soil
The peony is one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, but it’s what it grows beneath the soil that has turned into a unique business for one Nelson couple.
How to cook with a tagine
The accidental inheritance of a tagine has meant more food experiments for Jenny Somervell and Chef Ken.
A beginner’s guide to chainsaw safety
This is one tool that deserves your full respect and a good training regime.
Things to do in the garden in May
The weather outside is frightful, but there's plenty of delightful things to plant in the garden in May.
Why we need to start eating Alpaca
Alpacca numbers are rising, reaching over 25,000 in the last few years, which is why this dedicated breeder believes we need to eat them.
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