Behind the scenes on the peony harvest
Peony-growing basics, what you need to know about commercial production, and tips for aspiring planters.
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.
DIY: herbal seed bombs
Seed bombs are easy to make and a fun project for kids. The idea is that the ‘bombs’ can be lobbed over fences to abandoned land or down city gullies and grow into bee-attracting blooms or herbs.
What Carolyn Ferraby learned creating Barewood Garden
Every vista in this world-class garden, photographed through the seasons, tempts visitors down a path laden with promise. Barewood Garden's creator shares how she's grown alongside her garden.
How to build a house of hemp
When you take the magic ingredient out of marijuana, you get a building product to keep you warm, cosy and very happy.
Make your own Kawakawa herbal healing salve
Use gathered kawakawa to make an all-purpose salve for bites, itches (including eczema), and minor burns and cuts. Although there’s no formal scientific research into kawakawa has been used by Maori for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Animals set to steal the show at Heroic Festival
A colourful Auckland family with a motley crew of animals are opening their garden gate for the Heroic Garden Festival.
6 keys to tomato-growing success
Growing tomato growing is easy even if you don’t have much space – they thrive in containers, buckets, bags or even sacks.
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.
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.
A Gondwana garden retreat
Peter Cooke and Anna Moore are turning a lifetime's commitment to organic gardening and sustainable living into a retirement income.
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.
All about Meyer lemons PLUS lemon ice cream
Learn how to look after your citrus - and treat yourself with this yummy ice cream recipe.
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.
Creating a Garden of International Significance
As Liz Morrow sits and drinks in her environment, she sees an extraordinary place of which she is but kaitiaki — or guardian.
Why manuka is New Zealand’s super-healing oil
A New Zealand super-plant is powering the healing properties of a must-have multi-tasking new balm.
How to preserve lemons
Preserving lemons requires lots of lemon juice so do it when you have a surplus of lemons on your tree, or they are in season and on special at your local shops.
6 ways lifestyle blocks pollute water ways - and how you can change
It is a matter of the tragedy of the commons that we as small land-holders are individually powerless to make any difference in the declining state of the water quality of our local streams, rivers and lakes.
Garden tasks for August
It’s still officially winter, but there’s plenty to do before the days get longer and warmer.
Sustainable crayfish venture wins accolades
A flagship venture in the forests of Southland and Otago aligns commercial interests with conservation ideals
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.
Video: Hitching a ride on a rubbish truck
thisNZlife’s Emma Rawson and Sarah van Boheemen from Love Food Hate Waste hitch a ride on an Auckland Council food waste collection truck and see, firsthand, how much food New Zealanders throw away.
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.
Video: Locals fighting to protect the waterways that feed Lake Wanaka
Water, a precious resource, is at its most pristine in a spring-fed stream chuckling its way through the heart of Wanaka
Things to plant in the veggie garden this July
Things may go a little dull in winter, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy leafy greens.
Andean superfood quinoa grown in Taihape
A little experiment with a superfood has turned into a win-win business for a young farming couple.
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.
How to grow your own bath scrub
There aren’t many mouth-watering veges that can also be a bath sponge and a dishcloth.
Which apple varieties are best to plant?
Apples were among the first plants that people planted on purpose.
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.
Home-made fragrance from your garden
Bottle that scent by way of distillation, tincture or enfleurage and you could find yourself in the perfume business.
5 tips to drying firewood
The art of firewood isn't cut and dry, here's how to make your wood dry thoroughly to burn well.
4 plants in the NZ bush you could eat (if you had to)
Gathering water is a top priority if trapped in the New Zealand bush, but dining on native edible plants can provide additional energy and sustenance to survive.
Forging ahead at the Iron Ridge Sculpture Park
Canterbury sculptor Raymond Herber has carved out a true niche for his life and work in an abandoned quarry.
Plantain is a pasturing game changer
The new popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock.
5 tips for fighting rabbits
A family of 10-15 rabbits is the equivalent of an adult sheep grazing - here's five ways to to keep them under control.
7 ways to fight New Zealand weeds organically
It’s the easiest thing in the world to get a chemical, add some water and spray and voila, within a week a pesky weed is gone. But if you’re more interested in being kinder to your land, its soil and the health of the creatures living in it, you will need to take a longer-term view of dealing with weeds.
8 tips for preserving herbs
Don't let those end of season herbs got to waste. Here are some ways to preserve herbs for the winter months.
Scientists explore cancer-fighting properties of heritage apples
An everyday accountant is working with New Zealand scientists to explore the disease-fighting properties of heritage apples and orange tomatoes.
How to get an official 'natural' product
Launching a natural product comes with unique compliance and marketing challenges. The women behind Dove River Peonies share their tips for starting a natural product business in New Zealand.
6 inspiring man caves and she sheds
We’ve all heard of ‘man caves’, but there are so many inspiring garden buildings, including the ‘she shed’. Check out these beautiful projects from NZ and around the world, most made on a small budget and out of recycled materials.
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.
5 bright and beautiful vegetables to plant now
If you love a plate full of colour, why not try planting some of the more bright winter vegetables?
5 tips to designing the best shelter for your orchard
Sheltering your orchard is critical but that doesn't mean they can't be creative.
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.
The ugly, indispensable quince
It’s completely inedible when raw and dangerous to cut up, with a heady, perfumed scent that is completely at odds with its appearance. Sound like your kind of fruit?
How to host a country wedding
If you’re a romantic at heart, turning your land into a wedding venue might be an opportunity to earn some extra cash.
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.
3 modern food forests
We take a guided tour through three very different food forests at different stages in their lifecycle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An ode to nikau palms
Out her kitchen window, Barb Davies watches a battle for life as her nikau palm trees brave the weather.
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.
What to do in the garden this December
This December plant annuals, de-head flowers and try growing soy beans.
3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees
The cabbage tree is the gift that keeps on giving, if you know its secrets.
22 Lessons in running a successful Farmers’ Market stand
The woman who started London’s hugely successful farmers’ market gives her timeless tips for selling at a market.
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.
2 organic DIY ways to beat weeds this spring
If weeds are springing up all over your freshly tended beds, there are a couple of easy, spray-free ways to beat them back.
How to use horse manure with no regrets
It may not smell the greatest, but your garden will thank you for using horse manure to help it flourish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
You're invited to our readers' spring luncheon
Tickets are now on sale for NZ Life & Leisure special event and hear the incredible Jane Falconer of Clachanburn Country Garden
It's not easy being a green beekeeper
It's not easy being an organic beekeeper when bees can forage as far as 5km for their food.
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.
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.
Finding flower power
To cement their partnership, Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney got married. Now they combine their talents in one very creative business, Markantonia
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.
Boosting the Maori land economy
Taranaki-born Jamie Tuuta is enhancing the potential of Maori land and assets in his role as the Maori Trustee
Garden jobs for August
Spring is just around the corner, get ready by planting tomato seedlings and aubergines.
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.
Grow a giant pumpkin
If you've ever wondered how people win pumpkin-growing competitions, get ready for some seriously strange gardening.
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
What to do in the garden in July
Prune your berry bushes, prepare for early spring veggies and harvest chervil amd miner's lettuce.
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.
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.
How to build irrigation-free raised beds
Do your raised garden beds dry out? Why not create a hugelkultur garden bed instead?
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.
Maori macadamia industry tough to crack
Vanessa Hayes, aka the Nut Lady, is on a mission to establish a nut industry for Maori on the East Coast.
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.
Video: Behind the scenes at Clachanburn Country Garden
What does it take to create a garden of national significance in a remote place with an extreme climate and heavy clay soil? A body made of strong bones and a soul full of magic is a good start.
From a crop of potatoes to a booming enterprise
Starting with a single crop of potatoes, a Gisborne farmer has created one of New Zealand's largest and most innovative horticultural businesses.
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