NZ Lifestyle Block
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Tips for your best broccoli crop
Broccoli is in short supply in supermarkets - so why not try growing your own?
How to make damson gin
It’s a funny-looking cousin of the plum, and it can tarten up your gin too.
Send us your feedback on NZ Life & Leisure
Do you have feedback about a story in the latest issue of NZ Life & Leisure? In every issue we publish the most interesting letters we’ve received and the writer of each wins a prize.
This herb is the best substitute for cucumber
If you need cucumber but don’t have any, this leafy herb is here to help.
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 in 2020.
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.
14 tips to getting a great asparagus crop
Planting asparagus crowns all comes down to technique.
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.
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.
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.
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.
10 things you need to know about growing pears
Nothing beats the melting succulence of a fresh, ripe, well-grown pear.
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.
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.
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.
10 ways to help make cut flowers last
These simple steps will keep your cut flowers looking fresh for longer.
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 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.
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.
Tips for a great house cow
These are the cows to consider if you want your own home-grown milk.
In Your Backyard: Living Lightly on sale now
Learn to live a greener and more sustainable life with our special edition. In Your Backyard: Living Lightly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to grow your own bath sponge
There aren’t many mouth-watering veggies that can also be a bath sponge and a dishcloth.
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.
Gardening tips for February and what 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.
Very hungry pet caterpillars
The little caterpillar that creates silk is also an unusual and hungry pet.
How to make ginger beer
The secret to good ginger beer is in the bug, says Sheryn Clothier.
How to arrange a simple bouquet
A few principles of flower arranging will help to create lovely bouquets from your garden this summer.
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 Clothier 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.
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.
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.
Recipe: Ukrainian Fermented Tomatoes
Make the most of a tomato glut with this simple fermenting technique.
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.
Round cucumber varieties to try
If you like the long green cucumbers, you're going to love these extraordinary orbs.
How to build the ultimate tree house
You don't need a permit, plans or instructions to build a tree house. All you need is some nails, timber and a hammer.
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.
What is wrong with my lettuce?
Jenny answers six common questions about what could be going wrong when it comes to growing lettuce.
Recipe: Ruth Pretty's Christmas Fruit Mince Croissants
Get Christmas morning off to a cracker start with coffee, perhaps a glass of champagne and this festive take on filled croissants.
Why a loquat tree might be perfect for your garden
Loquat seedlings will grow in most areas of New Zealand. 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.
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'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.
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 help New Zealand birds at home
Many of us have grass for cattle and sheep, but there are a lot of benefits to making room for the wild things.
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 Clothier: '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.
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 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.
Going nuts for growing nuts
The Horwell’s are surrounded by nuts, the fresher, the better.
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 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.
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.
Native trees to use for fodder
New Zealand trees did not evolve for browsing ruminants, but there are a few that are beneficial fodder trees.
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.
9 common mistakes when 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.
Advice for aspiring lavender growers
Be careful about the climate you are planting into. The bigger the patch, the bigger the investment. Producing wholesale oil is extremely costly, whereas lavender products is less so. Karen Rhind, the woman behind The Still Room, shares her best advice.
The grown anywhere green
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.
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.
3 ways ducks differ from chooks
Ducks have different physiology to chickens and require different care.
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.
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.
How to make apple cider vinegar
There's no need for any part of an apple to go to waste.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
How to subscribe to our magazines
A step-by-step guide to subscribing to NZ Life & Leisure and NZ Lifestyle Block magazines through our online store.
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.
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.
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.
How to grow guavas bursting with flavour
If you want a wonderful taste of the tropics, try this small tree.
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.
How to build a Norwegian Round Stack
Norwegian rounds are a space-saving wood stacking technique that will keep your wood dry
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.
Trees with the highest pollen count
An easy guide to understanding the pollen value of plants.
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.
Chive talking: tips for planting alliums
The onion family make a pretty and tasty addition to your garden.
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.
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.
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.
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 grow great raspberries
Raspberries are a great option for the lifestyle block. Ben Gaia looks at how to get the best production.
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.
3 irresistible plum recipes
When plums go crazy, these recipes will help you use them all up in the most delicious ways possible.
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: Citrus cooler
You can use any mix of citrus to make this perfect evening drink, and dress it up with mint and borage flowers.
Recipe: Ginger and peach 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.
9 tips to grow great passionfruit
Passionfruit is a warm-climate plant, but with protection from wind and cold, plants can be grown in cooler areas too.
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.
Tips for happy hens this summer
Look after your chooks in the summer heat and avoid pesky red mite with these handy tips.
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.
Five 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.
7 tips to growing Japanese wineberries
Don’t be afraid of trying new fruits, especially ones as delicious as this.
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 to do when you discover a bee swarm
Rudi Robberts stares into the eye of the bee swarm
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
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.
How to grow sunflowers
Sunflowers are not only pretty, but they are extremely useful - particularly if you own chickens.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Animals in your orchard
Some animals in an orchard are your friends and some are a definite no-no
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.
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.
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. They encourage others to try it, and to learn from their years of experience.
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.
A guide to NZ's backyard birds
How to identify birds and encourage birdlife in your backyard.
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.
6 tips for composting in winter
As temperatures tumble, the process of composting slows down, but it doesn’t stop altogether.
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
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
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.
10 tips for growing saffron
It’s worth as much as gold per gram, but fortunately it’s easy to grow.
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.
10 reasons chickens become murderers
A chicken doesn’t appear to be a complicated bird, but the social structure of a flock is complex.
How to grow chervil
The versatile and subtle French herb that’s well worth adding to your garden.
Native tree flammability test
Data gathered will be used to identify fire-prone ecosystems and the best plants to use as 'green' firebreaks to reduce the spread of destructive wildfires.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Get to know your chickens
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.
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.
Design a home orchard
A well-designed orchard means you can be self-sufficient in fruit all year-round.
8 tips to having a great WWOOF experience
WWOOF host Diana Noonan offers some vital tips on how to attract and manage reliable, happy willing workers in a digital age.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Make your own old-fashioned apple jelly
Getting wobbly at the knees about apple jelly.
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?
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.
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 Clothier 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Where size really doesn't matter
Ben Gaia visits two small sections that are big on production.
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 recipe
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.
Recipe: Balsamic strawberry bruschetta
If you're looking for something fresh and fancy for Christmas lunch this year, give this balsamic strawberry bruschetta a go.
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.
Zesty scallop and microgreen salad
These zesty summer flavours are the perfect partner for microgreens.
14 tips to a great pumpkin crop
Research is proving that the simple pumpkin is packed with beneficial nutrients. Jenny Somervell tells us just how healthy pumpkins are.
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.
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 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.
How to create the perfect salad
A salad is the celebration of homegrown, leafy vegetables but there’s an art to mixing the perfect salad.
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.
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.
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?
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.
3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees
The cabbage tree is the gift that keeps on giving, if you know its secrets.
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.
Can you grow juniper berries in NZ?
Juniper berries aren't typically found in your average kitchen, but this exotic fruit offers a flavour that jumps out at you and can add that extra punch needed to spice up a dish.
How to make almond milk
Kristina Jensen talks about the health benefits of almonds, how to make milk from almonds, and what to do with the leftover pulp.
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.
6 easy-to-grow cherry tomato varieties
Cherry tomatoes are a good option for smaller gardens. Get planting now to have fruit ready for summer.
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.
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 tackle 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.
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.
A beginner’s guide to wood burning stoves
Fans of the wood-burning stove explain why they find an old-fashioned form of cooking far more satisfying than modern gadgetry.
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.
How to talk turkey
Turkeys are beautiful birds, work hard to keep your farm pest-free and make a great roast.
Her patented pint-sized plant has fans around the world
Elsie Hall's patented plant creations are the celebrities of the lavender world
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.
Take a leek & make a cake
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.
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.
Success with bush basics
The secret to Diane Coleman’s successful tree nursery business is in the way she’s grown it.
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.
Are your ewes due to lamb? Are you ready? Here are some things to consider.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
10 ways to raise better calves
Raising calves can be profitable if you keep in mind these 10 key principles.
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 a school is making a profit from the land
The enterprising students of Hukerenui School are making a profit from growing maize, lavender and keeping bees.
Essential safety gear for DIY enthusiasts
If you’re buying power equipment then you need to budget in the cost of safety gear.
Why your livestock can't stop itching this winter
Winter can be a very itchy and scratchy time for your livestock.
Three amazing parsnip recipes
Don't overlook this gourmet low calorie vegetable. Jenny Somervell shares three tasty parsnip recipes.
3 winter grazing secrets
Grazing stock on a small farm in winter, can be a challenge but good pasture management can get you through.
Does this piglet think it's a dog?
A West Auckland pig breeder reveals it's easy to train a piglet to follow commands.
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.
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.
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 chicken flock fermented food
Kombucha. Kimchi. Kefir. Fermenting food is all the rage for humans, and now it turns out it can be of great nutritional benefit to your flock too.
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.
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.
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.
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 essential pruning tools
The colder months are a good opportunity to cut back the jungle in your backyard.
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.
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.
How to make a baguette
This simple no-knead baguette is perfect for beginners.
Is this the ultimate Kiwi dog?
This 30cm dog might be the ultimate Kiwi canine.
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.
How to build irrigation-free raised beds
Do your raised garden beds dry out? Why not create a hugelkultur garden bed instead?
Rhubarb and rosehip jam
Gather rosehips and rhubarb to make this yummy winter jam.
How to pluck a duck
Brush up on your plucking skills for duck shooting season.
Create a worm windrow
A worm farmer shares his secrets of making money from worms and manure.
5 organic ways to weed
You can get rid of weeds using everything from a rabbit to a steam gun (but not together).
Coop of the month: Hönshus-1
There's no reason your hens shouldn't live in style. Introducing our coop of the month, the Hönshus-1.
Build an efficient fire
How to make sure your firewood is working at its best and tips for staying warmer than ever this winter.
Garden jobs for June
It's time to apply some love to your soil and prepare for spring.
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.
4 Reasons why microgreens are our health heroes (and how to grow them)
Easy to grow and nutritious, microgreens are a winter garden goer.
Great firewood trees (and what you might want to avoid)
Here’s what will keep you warm and cozy when you fire up your wood burner this winter.
Caring for sheep during the colder months
The unseasonably hot summer means farmers should keep a close eye on ewes this winter.
Peony flower power: the secret beneath the soil
The peony is one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, but it’s what it grows beneath the soil that has turned into a unique business for one Nelson couple.
How to cook with a tagine
The accidental inheritance of a tagine has meant more food experiments for Jenny Somervell and Chef Ken.
A beginner’s guide to chainsaw safety
This is one tool that deserves your full respect and a good training regime.
Things to do in the garden in May
The weather outside is frightful, but there's plenty of delightful things to plant in the garden in May.
Why we need to start eating alpaca
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.