Plant trees to 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.
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
Camp Glenorchy transformed into sustainable Zero Energy site
Two American environmentalists have turned a run-down campground in Glenorchy into a sustainable development where technology and nature work together.
A guide to gravity fed water systems
If power is a problem, gravity may be your best bet for a reliable water supply.
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.
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.
Minding their own beeswax
Two young Hawkes Bay parents are proud eco-exponents who turned their personal mission into an industrious enterprise. They're helping their little corner of the world go plastic free with beeswax food wraps.
Bags not: Retailers are ditching plastic bags – are you ready?
It’s finally happening. After lots of talk, greener bagging options are set for a checkout near you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How the advice of a headmistress shaped a corporate exec turned viticulturist
Annika Streefland’s dreams of being a botanist stalled when a formidable headmistress gave her a lecture on the value of independence. How thankful she is now.
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.
Using toilet rolls to fight a rat problem
When you take on an island heaving with rats, you learn some tricks.
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?
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 a Central Otago saffron harvest
It takes 125,000-150,000 flowers to produce just one kilogram of saffron which can sell for $30,000. So harvesting the stigmas is a delicate process at Wynyard Estate in Central Otago’s Teviot Valley.
7 ways to use up firewood ashes
If you're never sure what to do with the ash from your fireplace, don’t be too quick to dump it, give these helpful tips a try instead.
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.
Three lime myths busted
Dr Doug Edmeades busts pH balancing myths and explains why you should try adding lime to your soil.
NZ's first commercial coffee harvest
On the hills above Doubtless Bay in the Far North live New Zealand's first commercial coffee growers. Establishing the world's southernmost coffee farm has had its challenges - luckily its owners are full of beans.
In Your Backyard Urban Harvest: Online Extras
In Your Backyard: Urban Harvest, is a guide to growing fruit and vegetables in small gardens. We've compiled extra materials and videos here to help further your understanding of this exciting topic.
Video: 138 kg of food harvested from 15 sqm in 6 months
When NZ Life & Leisure editor Kate Coughlan left behind her vast veggie beds at the Rocket Ranch for city life, she called in the experts to create a 100% edible courtyard garden.
Creating the hawthorn walk at Barewood Garden
The gardeners of Barewood tell their secrets to recreating a beautiful feature of their landscape.
Chive talking: tips for planting alliums
The onion family make a pretty and tasty addition to your garden.
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.
Plant turnips now for a bumper crop
The range of turnips available today, especially the mini ones, are a very quick and easy plant to grow and sweet-tasting
How to 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.
What clover reveals about your block’s pasture health
Dr Doug Edmeades' key tips on using fertiliser and assessing the health of your pasture.
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.
Summer gardening hacks
Keep an eye on soil moisture and keep picking and pruning cherry tomatoes for a continuous crop.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Flaxmere Garden through the seasons
Drought, ferocious winds and extreme temperatures aren’t ideal conditions to create a garden, but Penny Zino has done it.
How to grow great gooseberries
The gooseberry is one of those plants which only gets better and better with age.
Motueka nursery growing rare native seedlings
The nursery supporting its local habitat, local gardeners and its owners.
Behind the scenes on the peony harvest
Peony-growing basics, what you need to know about commercial production, and tips for aspiring planters.
From city slicker to olive oil
Jared Gulian had always lived in the city, but these days there’s nowhere else in the world he’d rather be than on a small block in Martinborough in the dappled shade of his olive grove.
Artist John McLean's coastal orchard in Taranaki
Artist John McLean was driven by need to become self-sufficient 30 years ago, but today he and wife Chris couldn't live any other way.
DIY: herbal seed bombs
Seed bombs are easy to make and a fun project for kids. The idea is that the ‘bombs’ can be lobbed over fences to abandoned land or down city gullies and grow into bee-attracting blooms or herbs.
What Carolyn Ferraby learned creating Barewood Garden
Every vista in this world-class garden, photographed through the seasons, tempts visitors down a path laden with promise. Barewood Garden's creator shares how she's grown alongside her garden.
How to build a house of hemp
When you take the magic ingredient out of marijuana, you get a building product to keep you warm, cosy and very happy.
Make your own Kawakawa herbal healing salve
Use gathered kawakawa to make an all-purpose salve for bites, itches (including eczema), and minor burns and cuts. Although there’s no formal scientific research into kawakawa has been used by Maori for its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
Animals set to steal the show at Heroic Festival
A colourful Auckland family with a motley crew of animals are opening their garden gate for the Heroic Garden Festival.
6 keys to tomato-growing success
Growing tomato growing is easy even if you don’t have much space – they thrive in containers, buckets, bags or even sacks.
Couple create fernbird safehaven
A Southland couple have turned their block into an internationally-recognised wetland of importance, and a safe haven for one of NZ's rare birds.
4 good things that happen when you use plants for protection
Planting out alongside waterways has important long-term benefits, but scientists would love your help to find out more.
How to make natural fabric dyes
Your garden is full of opportunities for you to make and use natural dyes.
A Gondwana garden retreat
Peter Cooke and Anna Moore are turning a lifetime's commitment to organic gardening and sustainable living into a retirement income.
Grow wild strawberries
Alpine strawberries are quite easy to grow, and very hardy in marginal lands, like shady forests and snowy alpine hillsides.
'Things we learned installing our composting toilets'
When the owner-builders of one of New Zealand’s first hemp homes decided they also wanted to their toilet to have green credentials, they had to battle to get the loo of their dreams.
8 facts you need to know about soil
We summarise the results of 200 studies about soil so you can improve your soil biology.
Organic ways to control codling moth
Bugs are a part of nature and I come in peace, but when they invade an entire apple crop, its time to declare war and this is the time to get started.
The 7 common reasons why a septic tank fails
It’s estimated that more than 40,000 of the 270,000 or so on-site domestic wastewater systems in NZ are at risk of failing.
All about Meyer lemons PLUS lemon ice cream
Learn how to look after your citrus - and treat yourself with this yummy ice cream recipe.
How to make lemon balm tea
Lemon balm is easy to grow and requires little maintenance, apart from keeping it constrained. Its relaxing properties make the tea useful as an evening drink to promote sleep, and it can also be used to treat colic, nausea, poor digestion, nervous headaches and to help prevent colds and flu.
Creating a Garden of International Significance
As Liz Morrow sits and drinks in her environment, she sees an extraordinary place of which she is but kaitiaki — or guardian.
Why manuka is New Zealand’s super-healing oil
A New Zealand super-plant is powering the healing properties of a must-have multi-tasking new balm.
How to preserve lemons
Preserving lemons requires lots of lemon juice so do it when you have a surplus of lemons on your tree, or they are in season and on special at your local shops.
6 ways lifestyle blocks pollute water ways - and how you can change
It is a matter of the tragedy of the commons that we as small land-holders are individually powerless to make any difference in the declining state of the water quality of our local streams, rivers and lakes.
Garden tasks for August
It’s still officially winter, but there’s plenty to do before the days get longer and warmer.
Sustainable crayfish venture wins accolades
A flagship venture in the forests of Southland and Otago aligns commercial interests with conservation ideals
7 tips for protecting your bore
A little detective work reveals a common issue for anyone with bore-supplied drinking water.
The benefits of yacons and how to grow them in your backyard
It's and ugly veggie with a fruit flavour and perfect for winter. Here's how to grow yacons in your backyard.
5 tips for growing in a tunnel house
Whether home-made or custom-designed, having a large covered area in our climate enables us to extend our range of growing times and species.
Video: Hitching a ride on a rubbish truck
thisNZlife’s Emma Rawson and Sarah van Boheemen from Love Food Hate Waste hitch a ride on an Auckland Council food waste collection truck and see, firsthand, how much food New Zealanders throw away.
How to espalier fruit trees
Winter is a good time to start an espaliered fruit tree. However, some trees adapt better to espalier than others.
Video: Locals fighting to protect the waterways that feed Lake Wanaka
Water, a precious resource, is at its most pristine in a spring-fed stream chuckling its way through the heart of Wanaka
Things to plant in the veggie garden this July
Things may go a little dull in winter, but there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy leafy greens.
Andean superfood quinoa grown in Taihape
A little experiment with a superfood has turned into a win-win business for a young farming couple.
7 reasons to plant this hot poker
Red hot pokers (Kniphofia) are a welcome sight on a dull day in winter, or on any day at any time really.
11 winter pasture tips
Winter may appear as the dull period at the end of the farming year, but there’s much to do and learn about management for spring.
How to grow your own bath scrub
There aren’t many mouth-watering veges that can also be a bath sponge and a dishcloth.
Which apple varieties are best to plant?
Apples were among the first plants that people planted on purpose.
Growing kale over winter
If you’re a bit bored by cabbage for your winter garden, its ‘cousin’ kale is a great-looking, great-tasting alternative.
Tips for your best broccoli crop
Broccoli has hit sky-high prices in supermarkets - so why not try growing your own?
Artisan willow weaver encourages community spirit
This old craft is still immensely popular, and encourages a true community spirit on a Golden Bay lifestyle block.
Design a home orchard
A well-designed orchard means you can be self-sufficient in fruit all year-round.
8 tips to having a great WWOOF experience
WWOOF host Diana Noonan offers some vital tips on how to attract and manage reliable, happy willing workers in a digital age.
17 trees that turn wet areas into a food-growing zone
Riparian planting is not exclusively for natives. Fencing off your water’s edge provides the opportunity for a wide range of productive plants.
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?
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.
How to sanitise water
If water is contaminated after a disaster, there are several ways to purify it.
7 ways to fight New Zealand weeds organically
It’s the easiest thing in the world to get a chemical, add some water and spray and voila, within a week a pesky weed is gone. But if you’re more interested in being kinder to your land, its soil and the health of the creatures living in it, you will need to take a longer-term view of dealing with weeds.
Tips for planting flower bulbs for spring
Flower bulbs need to be planted now so they are ready to burst into flower at the right time. Here’s how to get the best results.
5 great shade tree options
If your animals suffered in the heat of summer, now is a great time to plan a plantation of shade trees.
The return of the community fridge
Zero-waste blogger Amanda Chapman discusses the community fridge project and her eco heroes.
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.
Yes, this is actually a cucumber
If you like the long green cucumbers, you're going to love these extraordinary orbs.
Are you breaking the law when you host a wwoofer?
Some businesses are disguising their employees as volunteers, so are you breaking the law when you host a wwoofer from another volunteer scheme?
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.
5 tips to designing the best shelter for your orchard
Sheltering your orchard is critical but that doesn't mean they can't be creative.
The colourful history of carrots
The carrot might seem like one of those boring but reliable veges, but they have a colourful past and a much brighter future in terms of health and organic growing.
The ugly, indispensable quince
It’s completely inedible when raw and dangerous to cut up, with a heady, perfumed scent that is completely at odds with its appearance. Sound like your kind of fruit?
How to host a country wedding
If you’re a romantic at heart, turning your land into a wedding venue might be an opportunity to earn some extra cash.
10 great ideas from a top New Zealand barn
A small obsession with old barns played a big part in the design of this award-winning home. Follow Tane's tips to get the look.
When is a peach a plum?
Peacherines and nectarines are peach-plum crosses, but there's some debate as to whether they are the same thing.
What to do in the garden in February
Deadhead flowers, and sow late summer peas and beans this month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 common plants causing your hayfever
Spring might be over, but there is plenty of pollen still in the air. Listed below are a few of the potential culprits, and it's probably not what you might think.
How to grow tequila
The plants really want to hurt you, the harvest is carried out by digger, then chainsaw, you cook the heart out of it for three days, but the end result is worth toasting.
How to sweep away broom
It's no secret that plant pests are fast-growing and very persistent, and Broom is one of the worst. Give these tips a go to combat this pesky plant.
How to make almond milk
Kristina Jensen talks about the health benefits of almonds, how to make milk from almonds, and what to do with the leftover pulp.
This bad bug sounds the alarm about your water
E. coli is generally thought of as baddie in your water that makes you sick, but it’s actually doing you a favour.
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.
10 great cutting flowers for summer
If you love a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, here are 10 great options for a cutting garden.
4 things you need to know about the new farming rules
Regional councils around NZ are introducing new rules around farming, and you need to know how they may affect what and how you do things on your block.
A garden of surprises
Planting in this geometrically composed garden was underway long before the decision was made to build a Restoration-period house in its centre. The two are a seamless match
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.
Dr Libby on nutritional deficiencies
In a two-part series, Dr Libby fronts up to a question about nutritional deficiencies.
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.
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.
Prosperity through permaculture
This enterprising couple don’t just want to create a green future for their family – they want to create a sustainable lifestyle for their whole community.
Innovation driving success at watercress farm
A gravity driven watering system is just one of the innovations in use at an organic watercress farm in Raglan.
Grow your own sweetener
To be truly self-sufficient, especially in colder climates, you may think you have to give up sugar, but that’s not the case.
10+ pasture picks for bees, poultry, pigs & goats
Spring is a great time for sowing new pasture, but what do you choose if your stock are a bit out of the ordinary?
You're invited to our readers' spring luncheon
Tickets are now on sale for NZ Life & Leisure special event and hear the incredible Jane Falconer of Clachanburn Country Garden
It's not easy being a green beekeeper
It's not easy being an organic beekeeper when bees can forage as far as 5km for their food.
Why messy orchards are best
The last thing you need is for your orchard to look neat and tidy, at least not ground level anyway.
What to sow in the garden right now
The wind-up to spring planting is starting, and one big decision is going to have year-long repercussions.
Things to consider when buying a ride-on mower
If you’re tired of pushing yourself to do the lawns get our tips on how to buy possibly the biggest investment in a single product you’ll make when you live on a lifestyle block.
Finding flower power
To cement their partnership, Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney got married. Now they combine their talents in one very creative business, Markantonia
6 drought-resistant pasture plants
If you’re planning to renovate pasture and you're in an area that gets dry or drought conditions, consider something tougher than ryegrass.
Boosting the Maori land economy
Taranaki-born Jamie Tuuta is enhancing the potential of Maori land and assets in his role as the Maori Trustee
Garden jobs for August
Spring is just around the corner, get ready by planting tomato seedlings and aubergines.
What gardeners can learn from this man
The late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka created a revolutionary way of farming that has no plowing, no fertiliser, no weeding and no pesticides.
Grow a giant pumpkin
If you've ever wondered how people win pumpkin-growing competitions, get ready for some seriously strange gardening.
Tips for getting 20kg of tamarillos per tree
They’re fussy, but tamarillos are a tangy treat, and prolific if you know the secrets to high production.
How hard can it be, to plant a stick?
Two great options for fodder, shelter, shade and firewood can be as simple as a stick in the ground
What to do in the garden in July
Prune your berry bushes, prepare for early spring veggies and harvest chervil amd miner's lettuce.
Nineteen tips for better fencing
Doing some fencing now the ground is softer? Here’s 19 tips you might find useful.
Bore water problems?
Is your bore water brown? Are your glasses streaky? Sometimes bore water can have as many chemicals as town supply.
4 ways to weed your waterways
Aquatic weeds can be a major problem in lowland farming areas, but there are a few ways to tackle these pesky and persistent plants.
The perfect cup of tea
New Zealand has a good climate for growing tea. Here's our guide to making the perfect cuppa from garden to table.
How to build irrigation-free raised beds
Do your raised garden beds dry out? Why not create a hugelkultur garden bed instead?
Great firewood trees (and what you might want to avoid)
Here’s what will keep you warm and cozy when you fire up your wood burner this winter.
Maori macadamia industry tough to crack
Vanessa Hayes, aka the Nut Lady, is on a mission to establish a nut industry for Maori on the East Coast.
A beginner’s guide to chainsaw safety
This is one tool that deserves your full respect and a good training regime.
Things to do in the garden in May
The weather outside is frightful, but there's plenty of delightful things to plant in the garden in May.
Video: Behind the scenes at Clachanburn Country Garden
What does it take to create a garden of national significance in a remote place with an extreme climate and heavy clay soil? A body made of strong bones and a soul full of magic is a good start.
From a crop of potatoes to a booming enterprise
Starting with a single crop of potatoes, a Gisborne farmer has created one of New Zealand's largest and most innovative horticultural businesses.
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