NZ Lifestyle Block
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.
When is a peach a plum?
Peacherines and nectarines are peach-plum crosses, but there's some debate as to whether they are the same thing.
What to do in the garden in February
Deadhead flowers, and sow late summer peas and beans this month.
How to make a great beetroot juice
It's bright, bold, very red and packs a powerhouse of nutrients. Beetroot's distinguished, rich, purple-crimson colour alone should be a clue to its natural potency.
Dot Smith's garden with no soil
This is a garden of no soil that supplies the award-winning Riverstone Kitchen with its fresh vegetables and fruit all year-round, and it's a work of art.
Why tagasaste is a useful tree to know about
If you are looking for the next perfect edition to your backyard, then tagasaste is the one you've been searching for.
Bold new ideas at Mangarara Station
The Hart family might run a commercial beef and sheep station, but their goal is to create paradise on earth for their community, and they've been inspired by one of the most famous farmers in the world.
Family of 5 living large in a 20sqm tiny house
This family of five lives in a 20m², off-grid and smart phone-free home with a composting toilet and a shower they share with the sky.
Thinking outside the box on Great Barrier Island
Less than 100km away from the 1.4 million people who make up Auckland is an island of the self-sufficient. Great Barrier Island resident and author Lindsay Wright checks out some of his industrious neighbours.
Why natural products for hens are about to take off
With more commercial farms turning free-range, there are going to be exciting, more natural, scientifically-proven ways to fight diseases for all of us.
Serial inventor's wastewater system could revolutionise dairy industry
He blew up his first methane tank, built a boat in the shape of a saucer, and helped to design a super-efficient water blaster, but Coll Bell’s favourite inventions involve manure, and the more, the better.
15 tips for designing a great country home
Today’s needs, tomorrow’s changes and even resale appeal need to be taken into account when designing the rooms in your home.
14 tips to a great pumpkin crop
Research is proving that the simple pumpkin is packed with beneficial nutrients. Jenny Somervell tells us just how healthy pumpkins are.
Recipe: Strawberry salad.
Don't reserve strawberries just for pavlova - liven up your salads with a few colourful berries.
Recipe: Elderflower cordial
This has to be the most divine cordial ever. I can never make enough of it. You just need a small amount in a glass topped up with water and you'll be in heaven. This is how one writer describes it.
How to help your chooks in the itchy, scratchy season
As temperatures and humidity rise, so do the creepy crawlies in and around your hen house. Listed below are some ways to be rid pests the natural way.
Why you should give nashi pears another chance
You’ll never know the joy of a truly magical-tasting pear until you grow your own.
How to create the perfect salad
A salad is the celebration of homegrown, leafy vegetables but there’s an art to mixing the perfect salad.
6 books for Christmas reading
Find a sunny spot and curl up with one of our picks for great Christmas reads this season.
What to do in the garden this December
This December plant annuals, de-head flowers and try growing soy beans.
Super hens or old-fashioned girls?
There are the super-efficient commercial hens, or the heritage birds with colour and longevity, but how do you know which bird best suits you?
3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees
The cabbage tree is the gift that keeps on giving, if you know its secrets.
Harvesting a culinary profit
Starting a backyard herbal enterprise can be a viable means of earning extra cash. Donna Lee of Cottage Hill Herbs spills her secrets to success.
How to make almond milk
Kristina Jensen talks about the health benefits of almonds, how to make milk from almonds, and what to do with the leftover pulp.
This bad bug sounds the alarm about your water
E. coli is generally thought of as baddie in your water that makes you sick, but it’s actually doing you a favour.
10 great cutting flowers for summer
If you love a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, here are 10 great options for a cutting garden.
4 things you need to know about the new farming rules
Regional councils around NZ are introducing new rules around farming, and you need to know how they may affect what and how you do things on your block.
How to achieve the perfect lawn
A carpet of soft green grass does put the finishing touch to any landscape. Here, we look at 10 common problems standing in the way of the perfect turf.
6 flowers for the cottage garden
If you want to emulate the soft, frothy hues of a cottage garden, these six flowers are a good start.
10 tips for growing good seedling transplants
You can save yourself a lot of money growing your own plants from seed, but getting them to transplant size can be frustrating.
10 clay-loving native trees
There’s nothing more disappointing than having an ugly gap where little will grow because of clay soil.
Repurpose office furniture into a chicken coop
A West Virginian farmer has some handy ideas for creating chicken homes from an old desk.
A beginner's guide to becoming certified organic
Organic farms make up just a fraction of New Zealand's total farmland, but there's big potential.
Prosperity through permaculture
This enterprising couple don’t just want to create a green future for their family – they want to create a sustainable lifestyle for their whole community.
Innovation driving success at watercress farm
A gravity driven watering system is just one of the innovations in use at an organic watercress farm in Raglan.
A guide to gravity fed water systems
If power is a problem, gravity may be your best bet for a reliable water supply.
Sheep hard at work at organic winery
Going organic was a pragmatic decision for the owners of Bellbird Winery.
A beginner’s guide to wood burning stoves
Fans of the wood-burning stove explain why they find an old-fashioned form of cooking far more satisfying than modern gadgetry.
3 organic fertilisers
Two of the best additions for your soil are byproducts of everyday activities, and one of them you can make in your sleep.
Her patented pint-sized plant has fans around the world
Elsie Hall's patented plant creations are the celebrities of the lavender world
Business bubbling along in the Catlins
A bubbly soapmaker has turned her favourite hobby into a cottage industry on her Otago small block.
How to post an egg
One of the most economic ways to get a new breed in your coop is to get someone to post fertile eggs.
How to have hatching success
Part of the fun of owning a small flock is hatching eggs, whether by natural means or with a little mechanical intervention.
10 things to know about growing walnuts
The fabulous walnut is a tasty treat for the home orchard owner, or a potential future crop with New Zealand’s climate meaning we can produce high quality nuts.
10 natives that like wet feet
If you have a wet or swampy area, fence it off, plant something that thrives on wet soils, and turn it into a thing of beauty.
Success with bush basics
The secret to Diane Coleman’s successful tree nursery business is in the way she’s grown it.
5 things to know if you had a drought at your place last summer
The after-effects of a dry summer will still be with you this spring.
How to buy a wheelbarrow that will last
It used to be that when you wanted to buy a wheelbarrow, there was only one choice. Now there’s wheels for every occasion.
The tick of no approval
You may think there’s a wee way to go before tick season starts but in warmers areas tick nymphs, just 2mm long, will already be creeping through the pasture and up the legs of your horses, cattle, goats and deer as early as this month.
What to do if you find an injured bird
Sometimes you may need to help an injured bird, and sometimes its best to leave it alone.
Give your soil the sniff test
You may think you know a good soil, but have you had a good sniff of it lately?
Garden jobs for August
Spring is just around the corner, get ready by planting tomato seedlings and aubergines.
Mulching over winter
Mulching is an easy way to protect your soil until you’re ready to use it in spring.
Self-sufficiency on Norfolk Island
When you live on a little island in the middle of a big ocean, you have to make your block of land pay its own way in the most self-sufficient manner possible.
Is there a mouse in your house?
Pests are tricky, secretive creatures and it can be difficult to know if you have a small problem, or a really big one.
10 ways to raise better calves
Raising calves can be profitable if you keep in mind these 10 key principles.
What to do if a goat eats something toxic
Most goats have a tendency to nibble first, check the toxicity of a plant later kind of strategy to life, and that can be deadly.
How a school is making a profit from the land
The enterprising students of Hukerenui School are making a profit from growing maize, lavender and keeping bees.
Essential safety gear for DIY enthusiasts
If you’re buying power equipment then you need to budget in the cost of safety gear.
Why your livestock can't stop itching this winter
Winter can be a very itchy and scratchy time for your livestock.
Three amazing parsnip recipes
Don't overlook this gourmet low calorie vegetable. Jenny Somervell shares three tasty parsnip recipes.
Does this piglet think it's a dog?
A West Auckland pig breeder reveals it's easy to train a piglet to follow commands.
Nineteen tips for better fencing
Doing some fencing now the ground is softer? Here’s 19 tips you might find useful.
Bore water problems?
Is your bore water brown? Are your glasses streaky? Sometimes bore water can have as many chemicals as town supply.
Using herbs to aid stress
When she began she thought $100 was a good day's takings, now Brownwyn Lowe is helping hundreds of people cure the symptoms of stress.
Chilli facts for the chilly weather
What happens to your body when you eat chilli and how do you put out a chilli fire in your mouth? Jenny Somervell answers these burning questions.
5 essential pruning tools
The colder months are a good opportunity to cut back the jungle in your backyard.
5 tips for a prettier vegetable garden
Now is a great time to create something pretty and functional for this spring.
How to build irrigation-free raised beds
Do your raised garden beds dry out? Why not create a hugelkultur garden bed instead?
5 organic ways to weed
You can get rid of weeds using everything from a rabbit to a steam gun (but not together).
How to give a chicken a bath
When it comes to preparing birds for the annual poultry show season, every one gets a wash, dry and blow wave.
3 easy beetroot recipes
Easy to grow and delicious, beetroot are a versatile vegetable in the kitchen.
4 Reasons why microgreens are our health heroes (and how to grow them)
Easy to grow and nutritious, microgreens are a winter garden goer.
Are ducks the new chickens?
If you like the benefits of keeping chickens, you’re going to love having ducks.
Winter is coming – so look after your cattle
Poor grass growth this summer will mean lifestyle block owners will need to take particular care of cows this winter.
DIY: Make your own soap
Making your own soap is easy, affordable, doesn’t require any special equipment and is quite addictive.
4 things to consider when buying a lifestyle block
Green grass, blue skies, peace and quiet, cows, sheep, chickens, a pony, an elegant garden or a food forest full of heritage fruit trees. But there's important questions to ask yourself before you commit to moving to a block.
13 things to know about growing & eating rhubarb
Everyone knows if you eat rhubarb you need to add a little sugar, but there is another way to sweeten the deal.
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