NZ Lifestyle Block

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.

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 grow sunflowers

Sunflowers are not only pretty, but they are extremely useful - particularly if you own chickens.

What to do in the garden this October

A productive summer garden is at your fingertips via a whole lot of prepping, sowing and planting.

Native plants to use for fodder

New Zealand plants didn't evolve for browsing ruminants, but there are a few that are beneficial fodder.

The 10 most cost-effective edibles to grow

Food is the biggest household expense after accommodation, and the cost of it seems to be skyrocketing year after year, so what are the most high value things you can grow to save money?

8 tips for growing and harvesting rocket

Rocket can be grown year-round, although the cooler temperatures in spring and autumn produce the best crops.

Going nuts for growing nuts

The Horwell’s are surrounded by nuts — the fresher, the better.

How to grow microgreens (PLUS how to avoid these common problems when growing them)

Easy to grow and nutritious, microgreens are a winter garden goer.

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 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.

Tips for your best broccoli crop

Broccoli is in short supply in supermarkets - so why not try growing your own?

10 tips for growing saffron

It’s worth as much as gold per gram, but fortunately it’s easy to grow.

A Motueka couple's long road to importing adorable Valais Blacknose sheep

They’re often mistaken for stuffed toys, but Valais Blacknose sheep are real and spreading their cuteness around New Zealand.

firewood how to check if your firewood is dry enough

Get winter ready: Is your firewood dry enough to use?

Firewood should have less than 25 per cent moisture to burn at its most efficient. If you don’t have a moisture meter, here’s how to work out if your firewood is dry enough.

10 gum trees that also make good firewood

Gum as a tree divides a lot of people. One reason is different varieties do better in different parts of the country

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.

5 easy-to-grow flowers for homemade bouquets

When you’re creating a bouquet, think about balance. If you put one type of flower on one side, it looks good to put the same thing on the other side.

What and when to harvest this month

Tomatoes, cucumbers, courgettes, beans and more are all ripe for the picking. But how and when you pick them can make all the difference between sweet and succulent, bland or bitter.

3 irresistible plum recipes

When plums go crazy, these recipes will help you use them all up in the most delicious ways possible.


How to make damson gin

It’s a funny-looking cousin of the plum, and it can tarten up your gin too.

What is regenerative agriculture? Here's how one farmer does it

Regenerative agriculture is a term thrown around more and more frequently, but what exactly is it and how can it be practised on a lifestyle block in New Zealand?


Does orchard size matter?

Ben Gaia visits two small sections that are big on production.

10 ways to help make cut flowers last

These simple steps will keep your cut flowers looking fresh for longer.


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.

What is wrong with my lettuce?

Jenny answers six common questions about what could be going wrong when it comes to growing lettuce.

9 tips for growing great passionfruit

Passionfruit is a warm-climate plant, but with protection from wind and cold, plants can be grown in cooler areas too.

How NZers can build smarter and more efficient homes

A smart house isn’t filled with fancy electronic gadgets. It’s a design concept that keeps you warm and can save you money during building and after. But most NZ homeowners are missing out.

6 easy-to-grow cherry tomato varieties

Cherry tomatoes are a good option for smaller gardens.

A Waikato family's sweet life growing organic citrus

David Whyte's tree crops outgrew his 500m² section. Now he and his family live a sweet life growing organic citrus.

Recipe: Garlic Chive Scrambled Eggs

Top with smoked salmon, a touch of sour cream and little snips of garlic chives.

Why you should consider raising turkeys

Turkeys are beautiful birds, work hard to keep your farm pest-free and make a great roast.

9 things to consider you're raising chicks

If you’re raising chicks this spring, here’s how to avoid some common mistakes and ensure yours get the very best start in life.

10 things you may not know about building a log home

You might think hunting lodge, you might think it’s too much  wood for one home, but the modern log house is a strong statement in clean, green, renewable, hand-crafted building work.

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.

3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees

The cabbage tree is the gift that keeps on giving, if you know its secrets.

How to grow great raspberries

Raspberries are a great option for the lifestyle block. Ben Gaia looks at how to get the best production.

Onion talk: Tips for planting alliums

The onion family make a pretty and tasty addition to your garden.

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?

How to make apple cider vinegar

There's no need for any part of an apple to go to waste.

9 tips for starting a local food co-op

For more than 25 years, the locals of a small rural Southland community have co-operated to provide themselves with mostly locally-grown, organic food.

How to build a Norwegian Round Stack

Norwegian rounds are a space-saving wood stacking technique that will keep your wood dry

2 quince recipes: Quince paste and quince chutney

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?

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.

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?

Recipe: Pear and Beetroot Salad

This salad is a dreamy companion to any showstopping dish, with earthy beetroot flavour enhanced with soft pear.

5 weird but really tasty things to make using basil

If you only think pesto when you think of basil, Jenny has some recipes to tickle your tastebuds.

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.

Are ducks the new chickens?

If you like the benefits of keeping chickens, you’re going to love having ducks.

How to stay in charge of the pecking order

A chicken doesn’t appear to be a complicated bird, but the social structure of a flock is complex.

What not to do with your ride-on mower

NZ Lifestyle Block editor Nadene Hall has a confession: she is a bad ride-on mower owner.

How to grow your own bath sponge

There aren’t many mouth-watering veggies that can also be a bath sponge and a dishcloth.

14 tips for getting a great asparagus crop

Planting asparagus crowns all comes down to technique.

The plant to attract the good guys to your garden

Under the cover of the right plants lurk good guys who are weapons of mass destruction.


This herb is the best substitute for cucumber

If you need cucumber but don’t have any, this leafy herb is here to help.

6 tips for composting in winter

As temperatures tumble, the process of composting slows down, but it doesn’t stop altogether.

How to make ginger beer at home

The secret to good ginger beer is in the bug, says Sheryn Dean.

Recipe: Elderflower vinegar

Elderflower can be used to make vinegar, jelly and wine.

20 expert tips to growing great tomatoes

Long-time tomato growers share their secrets to getting a bumper crop.

Recipe: Coriander cake

Take any plain cake recipe and finely grind 1-2 tbsp of coriander seed and add to the mix, or use this upside- down apple cake.

Recipe: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Saffron Almond Cake

This cake is gluten and dairy-free - and delicious. It’s a beautiful saffron-gold colour, and has a delicious orange flavour and moist texture, plus it’s easy to make.

How to install lights safely to keep hens laying longer

You can use lights to extend your hen’s working year. We look at how to design a lighting programme that can give you more eggs without harming your hens.

Two ways to get into a cauliflower pickle

If you are struggling to eat up your cauliflower, Kristina Jensen can get you into a pickle.

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.

watercress soup

Recipe: Cream of Watercress Soup

Our make your own Cream of Watercress Soup from this easy to grow green.

How to tell when a persimmon is ripe

The softer and squishier persimmons get, the better they are.

The best regional firewood trees to use in NZ

Winter is coming. Prepare to fill the fireplace with wood from the best-suited firewood trees in your neck of woods.

Why mustard is a garden must-have

Mustards are the most feared of leafy greens, but they’re now essential in Jenny Somervell's kitchen.

Can chickens and turkeys live together?

The most fatal disease in turkeys is passed on by chickens, which can make the hen house a deadly place for your gobblers

Recipe: Red Wine Poached Pears

An elegant yet simple dessert, perfect for autumn evenings.

Beware: this nasty chicken parasite loves autumn weather

There is one particularly nasty parasite that can cause symptoms which are often confused with a respiratory infection.

9 tips for growing big, juicy grapes

Grapes are easy to grow and nothing has to go to waste.

Recipe: Chunky Monkey Feijoa Chutney (the best-ever feijoa recipe)

Kristina reluctantly shares one of her best-ever chutneys.

How to bake lighter, fluffier cakes with duck eggs

You can use duck eggs for any recipe that uses chicken eggs if you take a few things into account.

How to design a pantry for year-round food storage

Autumn is a season of plenty. Here’s how to store any leftover crop safely and mitigate against a spring shortage.

Lessons from an award-winning, 10-year-old smart house

This award-winning Geraldine home may be 10 years old, but it's still way ahead of the average NZ house.

Recipe: Ruth Pretty's Iceberg Salad with Cucumber, Beans, Mint and Buttermilk Dressing

Cucumber Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Stay cool as a cucumber by pairing this simple salad with any main dish.

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

Let's get ranunculus

Prepare beauties like anenomes and ranunculus this month for a spring filled with gorgeous flowers.

10 gardening tips to make the most of March

Planning ahead in March can make all the difference for autumn and winter harvests.

Are you feeding your chickens to death?

Why the right feed is the difference between life and death for your chickens.

How to avoid metabolic syndrome

Add metabolic syndrome to the long list of medical maladies that can be avoided by living well.

nitrogen leaching on farm new zealand

Nitrogen 101: 4 ways to reduce nitrogen on your block

It’s not fertiliser, and the cause is probably looking at you.

3 delicious ways to use up a peach glut

Make the most of a late summer peach glut with three quick (and tasty) recipes.

9 tips for feeding livestock during a drought

More hot, dry weather is forecast and that’s going to have ongoing implications for your livestock, especially if you are relying on supplements.

3 common concerns about hosting bees

What about swarming? Will I get stung? Will there be bees in the house?

The art of the perfect free range for chickens

Going free-range can improve the health of your hens, but there are some factors to consider when letting your hens loose.

Cooking with capers: 3 recipes to try

You don’t need a lot of capers, but they can give a dish a real flavour punch.

Are your sheep and cattle underweight?

If you’re noticing your sheep or cattle just don’t look as good as they should, but you can’t put your finger on quite why that would be, it’s highly likely to be these key factors, jointly known as ‘ill-thrift’.

The lazy gardener’s way to save garlic

How to save time by sorting your seed garlic during the harvesting process.

Recipe: Ginger and Green Tomato Jam

Tomatoes won't ripen? This green tomato jam might be the solution to the green tomato glut.

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.

February on the farm: Be on high alert for FE

Make sure ewes, pigs and poultry have plenty of shade and keep water troughs clean to encourage drinking.

How a chicken breathes

The chicken has a unique way of moving air through its body.

Why silkworm caterpillars make fantastic pets

The little caterpillar that creates silk is also an unusual and hungry pet.

How to arrange a simple bouquet

A few principles of flower arranging will help to create lovely bouquets from your garden this summer.

Why facial eczema is a year-round problem

Each summer we remind you to get extra zinc into your livestock to help prevent the liver damage caused by facial eczema, but FE is actually a problem you need to be thinking about all year round.

Make hay the old-fashioned way

During the week Jason Price is a management consultant and efficiency expert. At the weekend he has an odd fascination with doing things by hand, like baling hay.

Architect Julie Villard's eco home built with cross-laminated timber

French architect Julie Villard has built a quiet, airy, compact smart home above a noisy  port.

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.

20+ feed options to grow tasty pork

The price of feed can be high, but Sheryn Dean has perfected ways of growing the tastiest pork at very little cost.

How warm, dry and safe is your house? Take the test

A new, free website will work out how smart your home is, and offer suggestions on how to make it smarter.

Tasty ways to use avocados

The smooth, creamy texture of avocados makes them a great ally in baking. Give these delicious recipes a try.

Could llamas help us beat the flu?

A simple nasal spray using antibodies produced by llamas could give humans protection from the flu.

10 delicious vinaigrettes for salads

Whether you like to dress up or dress down, there is an analogy here for salad creators.

5 types of common free range poultry set-ups

There are many different interpretations of what ‘free range’ means, and it’s hard work to create and maintain one that works well all year round.

10 hard-to-find edibles (that you can easily grow at home)

These are tasty foods you typically can’t get in supermarkets but are easy to grow on your property.

12 tips for caring for cattle this summer

Grow healthy calves and yearlings this summer with these helpful tips.

Recipe: Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender goes beautifully in dessert recipes. Just add to any liquids in a recipe that require gentle heat, then strain the flowers out.

Top January gardening tips

Moisture and sunlight have a good and bad effect, depending on what you’re growing.

Cooking camp-out style

Potatoes, s'mores and sausages: Campfire cooking is caveman stuff but even burnt the food tastes better.

January on the farm: How to care for livestock in summer

The January guide to livestock and pasture care.

Biosecurity in the backyard chicken flock

What does an official-sounding word like biosecurity have to do with your small flock of chickens or ducks?

Watch: NZ's first flock of cute Valais Blacknose sheep

Valais Blacknose must be the cutest sheep in the world. We meet Sally and Lindsay Strathdee on their piece of paradise in Motueka, and meet their friendly flock in an exclusive video.

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.


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.

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.


What to consider when adopting a dog

There are rescue groups around NZ with dogs that need homes, from puppies to pensioners. Here's what you should think about when saying hello to your potential pet dog.

The Southland wedding venue with a difference

It takes a village to create a thriving business for one Southland couple. Or in this case, several very small villages, a railway, and a real church.

Golden Bay's Clean Earth Soap

While her knowledge of soap-making was limited, she had already studied essential oils through a correspondence course which proved useful for what has turned out to be Clean Earth Soap.

Why you should plant round cucumber varieties

If you like the long green cucumbers, you're going to love these extraordinary orbs.

Protein, fats and minerals: Why bees need pollen

Why native trees and shrubs, pasture plants and weeds are especially important for bees when pollen is scarce.


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.

The Canterbury couple who swapped sheep for peony power

When you’re a long-time traditional sheep farmer, it’s a big step to growing one of the most glamorous flowers in the business.

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.

Beating facial eczema the old-fashioned way

A genetics company is working to reduce the impact of facial eczema in sheep using some old-fashioned breeding strategies.


Signs your hen might have worms

If a hen doesn’t have any other symptoms of a respiratory problem, then it is likely to be suffering from gapeworm.

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.



A guide to importing farm animals

Bringing a new breed into NZ is expensive, and you can only import certain species of farm animals from approved countries.

Why a loquat tree might be perfect (or maybe not) for your garden

Loquat seedlings will grow in most areas of New Zealand, although they're becoming a pest in northern areas. The tropical fruit is delicious and the tree produces a fine hardwood.

How to speak chicken

You might hear ‘book book book’ but your flock has a lot to say, and they can be pretty sophisticated gossips.

Grow delicious salad greens all year round

Jenny shares her tips for a year-round lettuce supply and how to get more flavour into your greens.

What's better than a plum and an apricot? A pluot

Combine plums and apricots and you get the best of both fruit.

Top 10 strategies for the ultimate lifestyle block

It’s not luck, it is hard work and the right skill set that makes holistic living on the land the ultimate lifestyle.

chicken coop stencil

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.

10 great cutting flowers for summer

If you love a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, here are 10 great options for a cutting garden.

6 design tips from NZers who built eco houses

A smart home is one designed and built to a standard that few NZ houses meet. We talk to three design specialists about building small, efficient, warm, smart homes.

8 beneficial trees for your livestock

Having animals without trees means you have only half an ecosystem. Trees provide shelter, food, and medicine, capture and recycle waste, and provide habitat for beneficial companions.

The easiest sheep of all

This busy lifestyle block owner is a music teacher, hoof practitioner and lavender grower which is why she went for the easiest sheep of all.

How to import rare and unusual seeds to NZ

You support local business when you buy plants and seeds in NZ, but what happens when something you want to grow isn’t here?

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+ 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?

Sheryn Dean: 'Does NZ have too many hives?'

Is having your own hive of bees a good idea? Environmentally or economically? If that is the question, the answer may be surprising.

Case study: The mystery of the dying flock

Do not take unexplained chicken deaths for granted, especially when it involves more than 2-3 birds. Acting quickly, through a vet if possible, could perhaps avert an exotic disease outbreak too.

Yes, you can grow bananas in the South Island

This tropical plant is a great survivor in more places than you’d 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.

What to consider when buying an air-rifle

Spring brings all kinds of new projects. Here are some tips on how to win the pest war against possums.

Is your pasture not growing yet? Here's why

September means warming soil temperatures, and for most lifestyle blocks that means pasture will be growing markedly faster than it has in the last few months. If it’s not, it’s telling you one of three things.

Taranaki gardener grows pet health business

A Taranaki gardener has found there are some growing opportunities in the $1.5 billion pet health business.

7 homemade beeswax products

If you are lucky enough to have access to beeswax, or have a good stock from your own beehives, then you can use beeswax to make useful household and cosmetic products.

Make your tempeh without using plastic

Once you’ve got the hang of fermenting tempeh in plastic bags, you can move onto the real deal by producing it in leaves, with a Kiwi twist.

What feathers can tell you about your bird

Feathers are a feature of all birds, whether they can fly, swim or just live on the ground, and there’s a lot they can tell us.

How this tiny goat breed found its way to NZ

A small herd of tiny goats are NZ's newest breed and it has been a long journey for them and their determined owner.

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.

How to deal with the death of an animal

Unless your pets are cockatoos and turtles, you are probably going to outlive them, which means sooner or later you need to deal with death.

Get the garden growing for summer

September is time to plant early potatoes, sow parsnips and peas and your last chance to plant strawberries in time for Christmas.

Bolt-resistant coriander varieties to grow

Coriander can be a little bit fussy to grow, but with the right care you can prolong leaf growth.

3 lessons from a lifestyle block newbie

Reader story: There’s nowhere else in the world Michelle Holmes would rather be than on her slice of paradise.

Increase the size of your potato crop by this much

A researcher at Christchurch’s Biological Husbandry Unit found mesh covers led to a 40,250% reduction in the levels of tomato potato psyllid on potato crops - and a huge increase in yield.

The art of making paper

Looking for a satisfying craft project, therapeutic activity and a better way to recycle all in one?  Paula Lang in Whangarei suggests trying to make paper.

Which tomatoes are the healthiest to grow?

Studies have shown that high lycopene intake is associated with decreased risk of heart disease and cancer, especially prostate cancer. But it’s not the red tomatoes that score the highest for tetra-cis-lycopene.

8 ways to minimise storm damage to your trees

Strong winds bring down trees in forests, on farms, in parks and gardens every year and leave a big mess behind them, but there are tricks to minimise damage and save you money.

How to buy a second-hand tractor

If your budget doesn’t stretch to a new machine, a second-hand tractor can be a great option, if you know the tricks to spotting a good one.

This is the most common cause of death in poultry

A breathing problem in chickens is difficult to diagnose, and not to be sneezed at.

How to grow mustard greens

Mustards are an easy-to-grow, cool season crop — follow these quick tips to grow them in your garden.

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.

Finding and keeping an ethical beekeeper

Pick your beekeeper carefully, and you will be totally in the clover.

7 tips to growing sweet carrots

You can go for a rainbow of different coloured carrot varieties if orange isn’t your thing, but the trick to making any of them sweet and succulent is optimal growing conditions.

Make your own lavender mint tea

For the best tea, pick flowers first thing in the morning, after any dew has evaporated – the fresher the flower, the better the flavour.

How to cook with culinary lavender

You can cook with lavender in sweet and savoury dishes, but there is an art to it.

Building a dry garden in Central Otago

Lavender enthusiast and landscape designer Karen Rhind has crafted a wild and beautiful garden in one of the country’s most inhospitable environments.

August farm guide: Prepare the farm for spring

Some of us will still be cold, but for others, spring is stirring.

5 tips for building a small shed

You can never have too many sheds, but if your budget doesn’t spring to something that requires a council permit, it is possible to build a garden shed under 10m², the typical size of a shed before you need one.

Garden tasks for August

It’s still officially winter, but there’s plenty to do before the days get longer and warmer.

The best leafy green you can grow this winter

If you are missing summer’s salad greens, this is the plant for you.

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.

Expert tips on raising fat healthy lambs

During one very bad winter, award-winning sheep farmers Lynley and Matt Wyeth lost 1000 lambs in one night. They've since implemented a ground-breaking indoor lamb-raising programme. It drastically increased lamb survival rates, but also production and profitability.

How to make a homemade beeswax salve

Beeswax is thought to help heal bruises, inflammation and burns, which make this oil an excellent ingredient in homemade salves and cosmetics.

How to get more dahlias for free

Love dahlias? Don’t like the ridiculous prices you can pay for tubers? Here’s how you can increase your stock by forcing tubers to produce early shoots.

Book review: Pruning Fruit Trees: A Beginner’s Guide

A new book from a permaculture expert helps beginners conquer their fear of fruit tree  pruning.

20+ things chickens know by instinct

The chicken is a fighter, not a lover, a born percher and bather, but not that bright when it comes to knowing who their friends are.

How this couple built a thriving quail egg business from scratch

Gourmet delights wander round this lifestyle block south of Gisborne, and its owners can’t get enough of what is turning into a delectable little bird business.

Expert tips on raising calves

Profitability depends on the purchase price of the calves, the input costs of calf milk replacer and meal, and the price that can be realised for a 12-week old, 100kg calf.

Trees that reduce risk of storm damage

It is impossible to prevent windthrow, but it is possible to reduce the risk to trees, property and life. Some of it comes down to tree choice and some of it comes down to smart planning.

July on the farm: Be prepared for spring

The days are short, but it’s an important time to make plans for spring.

6 reasons you need this monster grass

A giant sterile hybrid grass that grows to 4m and looks a bit like bamboo could be the answer to a lot of problems on farms

DIY: How to make lip balm with beeswax

As an ingredient in cosmetics, beeswax acts as both an emollient, soothing and softening skin, and a humectant, attracting water and helping to absorb it in the skin.

From bare dry pasture to successful lavender business

When Karen Rhind left behind her carefully-maintained Garden of National Significance for bare, dry pasture and a new challenge, she also opened the door to a sweetly-scented business.

How to humanely kill a chicken

Death is a natural part of life and you need to make plans on what to do to ensure a bird is humanely culled.

A guide to gravity fed water systems

If power is a problem, gravity may be your best bet for a reliable water supply.

July garden tasks: plant sweet peas now

Start planning, planting and prepping your garden now for spring.

The high-protein, low-fat fermented food you can make yourself

If you’re interested in eating more plant protein, a little fermentation can go a long way.

12 things you didn't know about salad burnet

This backyard herb has a colourful history, it was prized by Roman soldiers for its medicinal qualities and used in the 16th Century as a wine additive.


How micro-organisms can super-size your soil

This award-winning organic farmer near Kaipara coast may have hundreds of sheep and cattle, but what she’s really farming is millions and millions of invisible helpers.

pekin duck

3 ways ducks differ from chooks

Ducks have different physiology to chickens and require different care.

chocolate cake stevia

Have your chocolate cake and eat it without sugar

Unlike sugar, stevia doesn't add calories or carbs. So you can afford to have an extra slice or two of this chocolate cake delight.

10 cattle tips for winter

Calving time can come any time of the year on a small farm so it pays to be prepared.

lamb photo

10+ management tips to ensure your lambs survive

Lamb survival rates can vary dramatically from farm to farm, and your management plays a big part.

Growing secrets from NZ's first coffee harvest

New Zealand's first commercial coffee growers share the secrets to growing coffee plants in our temperate climate.

The tree that attracts bees and distracts the birds in your orchard

It doesn’t bear fruit, but this little tree will vastly improve your orchard’s productivity.


From posie to plate: How to cook with scented geraniums

From garden to posie to plate, scented geraniums are a delight to the senses and fabulous fodder for the experimental gardener/cook.

How to build a house from firewood

Rather than burning your seasoned firewood, with a tight budget and some time, you can use it to build a home.

Why you should grow ginger in your garden

Posh, Sporty and Scary have nothing on Ginger spice. Brush up on your planting and harvesting skills for this winter.

Why red mites are such a big pest for chickens

One of the most aggravating pests in any hen house is red mites. They’re also one of the hardest to spot until they’re a real problem.

Grow a strong shelterbelt with these 40 tree types

Good shelterbelt trees are practical, but they can be so much more. Experts from the NZ Tree Crops Association give us their recommendations.

Two important things you can learn from a smoking chimney

Heating your home using a wood burner is cheaper than ever in New Zealand, if you know how to get the best out of it.


The best heritage apples to plant

You definitely won’t have eaten as many varieties of apple as a couple who have made it their personal crusade to save the heritage apple trees.

An ancient natural beauty tonic recipe

One of the first commercially-produced cosmetic products in Europe was the ‘Queen of Hungary’s Water’, a simple but versatile cleanser that you can make at home.


Make a lemon verbena herbal tea

Take good care of lemon verbena in your garden and its herbal tea will take care of you.

10 adorable guinea pig facts

Nothing prepares you for the special challenge of caring for these pigs.

Odd reasons your chicken might be lame

If you have a limping chicken, you need to turn detective and work through the clues.

Growing, dividing and harvesting garlic chives

This chive is not meant to be eaten raw, but cook it properly and your dishes will dance.


How to make a wet-felt beret

Turn your wool into a nice cosy hat for winter.

Why scientists are interested in these rare NZ sheep

Five of the rarest sheep breeds are living reminders of New Zealand’s colonial history, but may also hold the genes to future farming success and much more.

A quick guide to feral sheep in New Zealand

These five feral sheep breeds are vastly different to romney breed which make up approximately 68% of this country's sheep population.  They are extremely rare and are part of New Zealand's colonial history.

Recipe: Bake your own natural dog treats

A simple oat cookie that dogs can eat as an alternative to manufactured treats.

A beginner's guide to cordwood masonry

Cordwood masonry is an old building technique using short logs and mortar. Cordwood homes are cheap to build and provide excellent insulation, writes Nadene Hall.

Using toilet rolls to fight a rat problem

When you take on an island heaving with rats, you learn some tricks.

2 apple stevia recipes

Serve up stevia instead of sugar in your autumn baking for a diabetic-friendly dessert.

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.

6 lifestyleblock design strategies to save time, money and effort

Here’s how to create a future-proof plan for your lifestyle block or farm to make sure you do it once, and do it right.


How to tell if your chicken has caught a cold

Chickens with breathing problems can wreak havoc with your flock and are difficult to identify, but here are some signs to look out for.

2 vegetables to spice up this winter

Plant salsify and scorzonera soon and they'll be ready in time for all your winter soup and steamed veggie needs.

otago cavalcade

Behind the scenes on the Otago goldfields cavalcade

Discover "real New Zealand like it was 100 years ago" on Otago's cavalcade, the high country horse ride of a lifetime.

How to substitute stevia in baking and preserves

If you take sugar out of baking and use stevia as the  sweetener, you need to replace the 'bulk.' Test out these stevia baking tips with a hazelnut shortbread recipe.

Grow your own stevia

As a cash crop, stevia ticks all the boxes: it's easy to grow; doesn't take up  much space; and doesn't need your full-time commitment.

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.

buckwheat pancake, buckwheat crepe

Recipes: Buckwheat crepes and flapjacks

Try something different for a weekend brunch with these two flipping good buckwheat recipes.

Three lime myths busted

Dr Doug Edmeades busts pH balancing myths and explains why you should try adding lime to your soil.

lamb's lettuce

What to plant in the veggie patch in April

We’re on the road into winter, but there’s still plenty to produce for your kitchen.

Guava growing in New Zealand

Like all the guavas, these ones like a constant heavy mulch to feed the roots, and a good supply of moisture.

How this family reduced their power bill to $30

Inside the life of a sustainable family who only need to work part-time and eat from a permaculture pantry that grows right up to their back door.

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.


5 tips for beating every pest on your block

From cluster flies to feral cats, we’ve got tips and products to help you beat the pests on your block.


Pasture tips for autumn

How to stop pastures going to seed and tips to take note of for autumn.

Creating the hawthorn walk at Barewood Garden

The gardeners of Barewood tell their secrets to recreating a beautiful feature of their landscape.

Tending to your fruit trees in March

Apple picking, branch cutting and the secret to sweet peaches. Add Ben Gaia's seven tips to March your to-do list.

Recipe: Roasted Baby Turnips

A simple turnip recipe that makes a great addition to a weekend roast.

Cattle tips for Autumn

Calves and rising yearlings are the main priority in autumn.

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.

Your sheep care checklist in autumn

It’s a great decision time for sheep farmers as it’s time to tidy up the flock before the rams go out to start the next breeding season.

radish in ground

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.

Tips to growing and preserving great capers

They’re small but pack a piquant punch to a dish, and it is possible to grow them in NZ, if you know what they like.

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

One family's experience with deer velvet farming

The Inch family farm red deer with a velvet hand and a soft touch, but it has been a learning curve for his city-born-and-bred wife.

How to create a food forest garden

Food forests can seem like the most complicated of garden designs, but here's how to do it yourself, step-by-step.

Build a chicken coop in a day for less than $100

This step-by-step guide shows just how easy it is to build a basic chicken run without breaking the bank.


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.

What clover reveals about your block’s pasture health

Dr Doug Edmeades' key tips on using fertiliser and assessing the health of your pasture.

Stop parasites feasting on your poultry this summer

We look at the insects that can have population explosions in your hen house over summer.

Don't make these design errors on your lifestyle block

When a block has a design fault it can seriously affect the practical aspects of growing plants and livestock.

Top 17 trees you can plant to feed bees

How you can help hungry bees and add value to your property at the same time.

11 tips to marketing a successful food business

Three experts share their wisdom on how to create a profitable food product.

Recipe: Peach and Ginger Jam

For this recipe, the peaches don’t have to be super-ripe. In fact, the jam turns out nice and chunky if you choose slightly harder fruit.

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.


Summer gardening hacks

Keep an eye on soil moisture and keep picking and pruning cherry tomatoes for a continuous crop.

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.

How to grow fat leeks for winter feasts

As summer stumbles along we’re heading into winter crop planting time and leeks are one crop that are best planted sooner rather than later.

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.

Gourd-geous craft projects

If you’ve ever grown gourds you’ll know just how prolific these cucurbits can be, but do you know how to turn them into an art form?

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.

How to get your preserves on supermarket shelves

Havelock North's Margie Chambers understands the importance of knowing your market when pitching preserves nationwide.

3 inspiring New Zealand food forests

We take a guided tour through three very different food forests at different stages in their lifecycle.

Make money from honey (without being a beekeeper)

Here’s how to profit from bees without becoming a beekeeper.

Watercress, the king of superfoods

Watercress is the most nutritious plant you can grow in your garden.

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 make a living from preserving

If you’re a dab hand at making jams and preserves, you could consider selling your homemade goods.

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.

Watch: How to make wild sauerkraut

The founder of Forage & Ferment demonstrates gives a lesson in fermenting 101, demonstrating how to make her wild sauerkraut with turmeric, ginger and marigold.

Video: The buzz about Kelli Walker's booming business

Kelli Walker felt a business was brewing inside her, and found one that can’t stop bubbling, burbling and babbling about itself.


Top tips for a thriving watercress plant

Watercress can be grown in pots, is surprisingly hardy and tolerates being frozen.

5 reasons to add guinea fowl to your flock

These birds look crazy, sound crazy and can act crazy too, but no person, insect pest or predator can get past them.

What your hens' eggs say about them

Sometimes the nest box holds a little egg of horrors.


How to grow great gooseberries

The gooseberry is one of those plants which only gets better and better with age.

11 ways to use edible flowers

A dish isn’t complete without a little petal power.

Motueka nursery growing rare native seedlings

The nursery supporting its local habitat, local gardeners and its owners.

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.

Behind the scenes on the peony harvest

Peony-growing basics, what you need to know about commercial production, and tips for aspiring planters.

A guide to NZ duck breeds

Traditional domestic duck breeds are rare in New Zealand so you will have to hunt around to find breeders in your area, or a supplier of fertile eggs.

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.

5 ways to avoid a bad fencing job

Follow these five tips to avoid a bad fencing job and learn how to spot a good fencer from the pack.

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.

Is this the worst fence ever?

There are four golden rules to building a fence - and this one breaks them all.

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.

What's your soil's score?

Soil and herbage testing is a great way to improve the productivity of your land.

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.

Nelson peony root farm expands into Chinese market

The secret ingredient of an award-winning skincare range has turned out to be the holy grail of lifestyle block business.

The best sex strategy for a lifestyle block

 The thought of pampering a male 364 days of the year so he can have sex on the remaining day irks my feminist principles, but years of testing sex strategies shows it does have its merits.

How to deal with a broody hen

Spring can be a confusing season for the flock owner who wants eggs, and equally confusing for hens who want to be mothers.

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.

Things to do in the garden in October

This October plant potatoes, peas and carrots and there's time for one last sowing of broccoli before the onslaught of white butterfly.

How to make natural fabric dyes

Your garden is full of opportunities for you to make and use natural dyes.

30+ lessons from the Sherry River Project

Ten years ago, a project began to improve the water quality of the Sherry River near Nelson, and there are a lot of practical lessons to learn from their hard work

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.

Is there a secret income growing in your garden?

If you love to grow flowers and foliage, there may be some profit waiting for you.

'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.

The veggie that helps break the sugar habit

Kristina is trying to break her addiction to sugar and she's found there's a veggie on her side.

soil biology

8 facts you need to know about soil

We summarise the results of 200 studies about soil so you can improve your soil biology.

The 10 best lettuces for a 365-day salad supply

Jenny Somervell selects the best lettuces to grow this summer (and the rest of the year).

8 spring pasture tips

If there’s no good spring flush, then find out why - there are always plenty of reasons.

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.

The case for planting manuka

It can be expensive to plant manuka as a crop, up over $1000 per hectare so it’s not for everyone.

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.

Animals in your orchard

Some animals in an orchard are your friends and some are a definite no-no

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.

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.

Recipe: Berry yoghurt smoothie

A fruity breakfast treat for when you want to impress.

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.

How to build a sandpit

There are regular sandpits, and then there are the best kind: epic.

Recipe: Red Onion Marmalade

Take your cheese board to the next level with this onion marmalade recipe.

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.

Marek's disease, what you should know

Just the mention of Marek’s disease arouses dread in many poultry keepers, but there is a lot of misinformation around which only serves to enhance those fears.

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.

'Lessons we learned building a cob house'

Buying a bush block, building a cob house, and starting a natural soap business takes huge amounts of energy, enthusiasm and commitment, but this family are thriving on the challenge of being as clean and green as possible in everything they do.

7 tips for protecting your bore

A little detective work reveals a common issue for anyone with bore-supplied drinking water.

1 easy way to save a cold, wet lamb

One simple injection can be a life-saver for cold or weak lambs.

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.

Composting loos: the final frontier

Composting toilets are a sustainable waste disposal for the 21st century. Home owners share their experiences with the next generation of fuss-free, low-odour, environmentally-friendly waste systems.

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.

5 amazing food forest gardens

A food forest can take up half a lifestyle block or be as small as an urban backyard and can create a resilient, self-sufficient garden that will feed you and your family all year-round.

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.

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.

Why the first feed makes all the difference

The health and performance of your adult cattle throughout their lives all comes down to the very first feed they receive in the hours after their birth.

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: How to make kimchi

This Korean fermented cabbage dish has many health benefits.

Recipe: Fermented beetroot

Try fermenting beetroot to add to your next burger or salad rather than opening a can of the sliced stuff.

A beginner's guide to fermenting veggies

From kombucha to kimchi, sauerkraut to sourdough, kefir to kashk, the fermentation bug is catching because it’s tasty, easy and good for you.

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.

Cathy Dickison's thriving Erb business

The last thing Cathy Dickison thought she would be doing is turning her gardening skills into a dried herb business.

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.

Horse trekking off the beaten track

Baerbel and Thomas Hack were so determined to set up a dream seaside location for horse lovers, they built a road.

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.

The hunt for the real llamas of NZ

This llama farmer is so dedicated to her quest to find and save the real llamas of New Zealand, she is making a life-changing move to a new home on a new island.

How to make pumpkin pie in NZ

How to make the classic North American dessert using New Zealand produce.

Which apple varieties are best to plant?

Apples were among the first plants that people planted on purpose.

3 easy ways to share pears

How to preserve pears and two pear chutney recipes to try.

The 6 plants every chocoholic needs in their garden

If you like chocolate, you’re going to love chocolate flowers. Not the edible type, but real, chocolate-scented blooms.

How to grow chervil

The versatile and  subtle French herb that’s well worth adding to your garden.

NZ's plant 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.

Meet the stars of Pecking Order

The 2017 National Poultry Show is a celebration of NZ’s oldest poultry club, and its members are all stars of a chick flick with a difference.

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.

Why Japanese quails might be the bird for your block

Lifestyle block owners and city dwellers can breed a healthy profit by introducing Japanese Quail as an option for quick profit 'turn around', by becoming a supplier of fancy eggs.

How this rare pig could aid biomedical science

The rarest pig breed in the world is teetering on the brink of extinction, and the few people working to save it would love some help from anyone who enjoys the company of pigs, and a good slice or three of the tastiest bacon around.

Hedgehogs: friend or foe?

Hedgehogs present a prickly problem, being both garden friend and foe.

Get to know your chicken breeds

There are purebreds, heritage breeds, hybrids, strains, crossbreeds and ‘barnyard specials’ which can make it hard to work out exactly what kind of bird you have.

Recipe: Gluten-free quinoa tart

This easy-to-make quinoa tart is a tasty and filling dish to serve to guests on a gluten-free diet.

willow maker golden bay

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.

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.

apple orchard

How to design a home orchard

A well-designed orchard means you can be self-sufficient in fruit all year-round.

Drying firewood

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.

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.

Confessions of an alpaca farmer

David and Heather Bridson love their alpaca, but there are good reasons why they're not David's favourite animal to farm.

alpaca baby cria

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.

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.

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.

How to be a better all-natural farmer

There is a whole new world of natural products you can use to increase the fertility of your farm, but how do you know which one is the best one?

Plantain is a pasturing game changer

The new popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock.

Building a human nest

Creating your own human nest? Landscape architect Sara Gerard has some tips on how to survive the renovation process, plus some tree house inspiration.

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.

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.

Architect Graeme North on the benefits of natural homes

Renowned architect Graeme North  discusses the benefits of natural homes with Nadene Hall.

boiling water to sanitise

How to sanitise water

If water is contaminated after a disaster, there are several ways to purify it.

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.

lamb injured

How to look after animals in an emergency

How to keep animals calm after a disaster and how to plan for animal evacuation.

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.

How to make the most of your autumn garden

The softer light of autumn is shining. It’s the best time of year for making sure your garden is looking the best it can. Here are some of Jane Bellerby's tips for achieving the best autumn garden.

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.

Autumn cattle care tips

Cattle on small blocks need a lot of feed going into autumn and winter. Here are some tips to keep them happy and healthy in the cooler months.

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.

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.

How to make herb vinegars

These vinegars look fantastic, taste great, and are very easy to make.

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.

What it takes to kill a rat

Rats are incredibly smart, and it can be difficult to reduce their numbers if they’ve learnt to avoid bait and traps. But science has discovered the one thing a rat can’t resist, and Sheryn Dean has successfully put it to the test.

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.

The ultimate self-sufficiency nut

If you love flour and want to be self-sufficient, go nuts.

We try NZ's top artisan cheese

Nadene Hall samples New Zealand's top artisan cheese and comes away smiling.


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.

Start thinking about strawberries for next summer (no, really)

The sweet juicy strawberries of summer might be a faint memory now but you need to start planning now for next year’s bounty.

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.


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.

How to make fruit leather

The ultimate guide to the do's and don'ts of fruit leather.

How to care for sheep this autumn

It’s the start of a new sheep year and the breeding season, so start with tidying up the ewe flock before the rams go out.

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.

Two fab fig recipes

Kristina Jensen shares two fab fig recipes and the secrets for ensuring they always taste delicious.

'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.

How to choose the right fruit species

You probably shouldn't try growing mangoes if you live in the South Island but don't give up on dreams of citrus, tamarilloes and nashi pears.

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.

urban block

This self-sufficient urban garden will inspire you

Meg and John Christie are living their self-sufficient dream on a half acre block, but they haven’t had to leave the city to do it.

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 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.

7 weeds you didn't know were good for you

We're quick to see their faults, but these seven weeds deserve a place at the table.

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.

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.

10 tried and tested mulches

Which mulch is your best ally in the war against weeds?

3 fantastic green bean recipes

Turn a bean overload into three fantastic summer dishes.


What to do in the garden in February

Deadhead flowers, and sow late summer peas and beans this month.

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 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.

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.

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.

12 ways to prevent FE using your pasture

Get a handle on Facial Eczema this season by following these 12 tips.

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.

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.

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.

Why pumpkins are the new superfood

Pumpkins are frost tender and need a long, warm growing season (at least 14 weeks) in a sunny sheltered site.

An ode to nikau palms

Out her kitchen window, Barb Davies watches a battle for life as her nikau palm trees brave the weather.

Recipe: Strawberry and Rocket Salad

Don't reserve strawberries just for  pavlova - liven up your salads with a few colourful berries.

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.

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.

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.

Christmas books

6 books for Christmas reading

Find a sunny spot and curl up with one of our picks for great Christmas reads this season.

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.


What to do in the garden this December

This December plant annuals, de-head flowers and try growing soy beans.

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.

The secret life of NZ's bats

They may be on your property right now and they come in peace.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

Which bean varieties to plant for summer

A warm summer makes bean-growing a snap.


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 guide to wheat-free pizza bases

Try these gluten-free alternatives to a standard wheat-based pizza crust.

repurposed chicken coop

Repurpose office furniture into a chicken coop

A West Virginian farmer has some handy ideas for creating chicken homes from an old desk.

6 organic ways to get rid of gorse

Gorse is one of New Zealand's worst weeds, and your best ally in tackling it will be diligence.

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.

sheep in a field

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Sheep hard at work at organic winery

Going organic was a pragmatic decision for the owners of Bellbird Winery.

Garden tasks for September

Try planting baby turnips and some bee-friendly plants this month.

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.

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

calf and dandelion

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.

Business bubbling along in the Catlins

A bubbly soapmaker has turned her favourite hobby into a cottage industry on her Otago small block.

Fluffy black beauties

There’s a common theme running through Southland block of Margaret Cockeram.

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.

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.

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.

How to bake with leeks

Leeks are a vegetable that Kristina loves and hates, and then she gets baking.

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.

Planting seed potatoes.

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.

Ken Johnston of Stevens Outdoor Power Equipment.

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.


Success with bush basics

The secret to Diane Coleman’s successful tree nursery business is in the way she’s grown it.

Dog sniffing plant

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.

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.

Thinking inside the box

This shipping container uses every square inch to nurture the future of country kids, and the adults too.


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.

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 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.


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.

Lambing 101

Are your ewes due to lamb? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider.

Animal grave

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.

soil test

Give your soil the sniff test

You may think you know a good soil, but have you had a good sniff of it lately?

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.

Garden jobs for August

Spring is just around the corner, get ready by planting tomato seedlings and aubergines.

spinning wool

How to spin wool and weave

Looking for a new hobby? Weaving and spinning your own wool is an easy and really addictive.

Mulching over winter

Mulching is an easy way to protect your soil until you’re ready to use it in spring.

Masanobu Fukuoka

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.

Norfolk Island

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.

Horse hay feeder

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.

mouse hole

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.

giant pumpkin

Grow a giant pumpkin

If you've ever wondered how people win pumpkin-growing competitions, get ready for some seriously strange gardening.

Coop of the month

Goats and chooks live in harmony in this funky recycled coop in Portland, Oregon.

planting a tree

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?

jersey calf

10 ways to raise better calves

Raising calves can be profitable if you keep in mind these 10 key principles.

Hukerenui School

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.

construction equipment

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.

pruning tree

12 tips for good tree pruning


Three amazing parsnip recipes

Don't overlook this gourmet low calorie vegetable. Jenny Somervell shares three tasty parsnip recipes.

grazing horses

3 winter grazing secrets

Grazing stock on a small farm in winter, can be a challenge but good pasture management  can get you through.

Bo the trained pig.

Does this piglet think it's a dog?

A West Auckland pig breeder reveals it's easy to train a piglet to follow commands.

Prune back blackberry and boysenberry bushes now and reap the rewards in summer.

What to do in the garden in July

Prune your berry bushes, prepare for early spring veggies and harvest chervil amd miner's lettuce.

sheep under fence

Nineteen tips for better fencing

Doing some fencing now the ground is softer? Here’s 19 tips you might find useful.

gumboots and mud

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.

Signs of problems with your bore water. Photo: Dreamstime

Bore water problems?

Is your bore water brown? Are your glasses streaky? Sometimes bore water can have as many chemicals as town supply.

Feed your chickens 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.

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.

chainsaw safety

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.

chocolate chilli sauce

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.

ARV quad bike on a hill

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.

5 tools for pruning

5 essential pruning tools

The colder months are a good opportunity to cut back the jungle in your backyard.

Water weeds Alternanthera: Photo Harry Rose

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.

Water tank

How to clean your water tank

Winter is an ideal time to clean  your water tank.


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.

baguette making

How to make a baguette

This simple no-knead baguette is perfect for beginners.

Swedish Vallhund

Is this the ultimate Kiwi dog?

This 30cm dog might be the ultimate Kiwi canine.

Winter is the time to start thinking about planning your garden

5 tips for a prettier vegetable garden

Now is a great time to create something pretty and functional for this spring.

Top tips for buying your first poultry flock

Avoid ruffling feathers when buying your first flock with our simple guide.

A Hugelkultur (‘mound culture’) garden bed. Photo: WikiCommons/ Maseltov

How to build irrigation-free raised beds

Do your raised garden beds dry out? Why not create a hugelkultur garden bed instead?

Recipe: Rhubarb and Rosehip Jam

Gather rosehips and rhubarb to make this yummy winter jam.

mallard ducks

How to pluck a duck

Brush up on your plucking skills for duck shooting season.

Create a worm windrow.

How busy worms can turn a profit (or at least, a lot of good compost)

A worm farmer shares his secrets of making money from worms and manure.

rabbit in mobile hutch to eat weeds

5 organic ways to weed

You can get rid of weeds using everything from a rabbit to a steam gun (but not together).

concept chicken coop

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.

how to give a chicken a bath

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.

building an effective fireplace

Build an efficient fire

How to make sure your firewood is working at its best and tips for staying warmer than ever this winter.

garlic in basket

Garden jobs for June

It's time to apply some love to your soil and prepare for spring.

how to build a good fence

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.

9 tips for growing beetroot plus 3 easy beetroot recipes

Easy to grow and delicious, beetroot are a versatile vegetable in the kitchen.

Signs of a healthy hen

Our top tips for buying a healthy egg-laying hen.

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 in winter

Caring for sheep during the colder months

The unseasonably hot summer means farmers should keep a close eye on ewes this winter.

caring for cow in winter

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.

peony growers New Zealand

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.

8 must-try microgreens

There isn’t anything else you could grow this easily that tastes this good.

Tagines in Morocco,

How to cook with a tagine

The accidental inheritance of a tagine has meant more food experiments for Jenny Somervell and Chef Ken.

homemade soap

DIY: Make your own soap

Making your own soap is easy, affordable, doesn’t require any special equipment and is quite addictive.

chainsaw safety

A beginner’s guide to chainsaw safety

This is one tool that deserves your full respect and a good training regime.

lifestyle block

4 things you must consider before 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.

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.

13 things to know about growing rhubarb

Everyone knows if you eat rhubarb you need to add a little sugar, but there is another way to sweeten the deal.

Alpaca farming

Why we need to start eating alpaca

Alpaca numbers are rising, reaching over 25,000 in the last few years, which is why this dedicated breeder believes we need to eat them.

Create a refreshing rosemary hydrosol

Learn how to make  a refreshing distillation of this aromatic herb.

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