Our Land

Yes, you can grow bananas in the South Island

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

How to grow tequila

The plants really want to hurt you, the harvest is carried out by digger, then chainsaw, you cook the heart out of it for three days, but the end result is worth toasting.

Going nuts for growing nuts

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

Riparian design 101

Riparian design is an investment in something beautiful and it works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forever.

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.

A food farm in the heart of Remuera

Reuse, reclaim and recycle is the motto of a zero-waste Auckland gardener inspired by Michelle Obama.

DIY project: Build this Spud Stacker

Freshly spuds are glorious but can take up coveted growing space in the veggie patch. This Spud Stacker encourages vertical plant growth and tidily contains backfilled soil, with shiplap frames stacked on top of a base frame and pegged corners for stability.

Attention young gardeners

Entries are now open for the Yates Budding Young Gardener competition.

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.

Five generations of Central Otago orchardists

Five generations of a Central Otago family have tilled soil, trained trees, and fought the forces of nature and political upheaval to sustain a lifestyle they love.

Behind the scenes at Hortensia House

Behind the scenes at the September/ October issue of NZ Life & Leisure cover shoot at Hortensia House.

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.

Orchid growers put down roots in Titirangi tree house

Ice cream and photography were the unlikely stepping stones that led a couple to a house among the trees and into the exotic-flower business.

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.

DIY: Build a bug hotel for the garden

Beneficial insects are essential for any garden and bugs will naturally find a home under leaves, bark, stacked wood or within your garden beds. A ‘bug hotel’ is an enjoyable way to celebrate your garden helpers, a fun family project and instant garden art.

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.

Andy Ellis' tips for creating a backyard native haven

Ex All Black and landscape designer Andy Ellis shares tips on growing native plants from his new book Kiwi Backyard.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Kate White's crusade to protect the Waitaki river in Kurow

Just as the Waitaki River grinds down mountain ranges carrying them in serpentine fashion to the sea, Kate White is an irresistible force changing the face of a small south island town.

An eco school where kids learn outdoors - and take risks

Dani Lebo uses her family’s permaculture farm to teach local children about farming, food, fun and taking an element of risk – all outdoors and in all weathers.

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.

How to control wild blackberry

There aren't many weeds with as many benefits as blackberry. With a proper weed control strategy, there's no reason not to grow this delicious treat.

Growing Mexican limes in New Zealand

How to keep a lime happy, even in the cold.

We're going on a truffle hunt

Hunting for truffles is not for the impatient or the olfactorily impaired. Success calls for a sniffer-out of buried bounty – in other words, a dog.

Hydroponics 101: Grow veggies without soil

Growing veggies hydroponically is the ultimate way to maximise an indoor harvest. this soil-free gardening system is a satisfying way to reap home-grown goodness.

8 tips for making the perfect riparian zone

Conserve NZ's waterways and your budget with riparian planting. May to September is the best time for it as the land is generally wetter and plants can become established before next summer. Here's how to get started.

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

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.

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.

8 things you need to know before you try growing hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are still a niche product in New Zealand but they have the potential to be the country’s main nut crop.

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.

soil

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.

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.

11 ways to reduce pugging in your pasture

Pugging soil does enormous damage to it, reducing pasture yield by 20-80% for four to eight months, or longer if not remedied. Follow these tips to reduce the amount of pugging this winter.

plastic bag

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.

chris ballantyne

Take a tour of Chris Ballantyne's organic mini-farm in Te Atatu

A landscaper with a mini backyard farm believes small-scale food production is key to well-being and urban ecological balance.

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 grow mushrooms at home

Growing kits are an excellent way to get started with your first crop of home-grown mushrooms.

 

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.

Grow a strong shelterbelt with these 40 tree types

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

Two important things you can learn from a smoking chimney

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

 

The best heritage apples to plant

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

cauliflower

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?

Trading London life for paddock-to-plate

Getting to grips with the grassroots of growing, and of a community, Lloyd Rooney and Michael Fraser found contentment by leaving the glamour of London for the quiet backwaters of the Waikato.

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.

NZ's finest food producers revealed

We raise a glass, and a tasty morsel or two, to the winners of this year’s Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards.

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.

Grow your own stevia

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

8 nuts you need to grow

Growing your own nuts is a long-term plan, but these trees don’t need a lot of attention and having your own fresh, free nut supply is definitely worth a few years of waiting.

4 reasons to plant buckwheat in your garden

If you’re interested in grain-free eating, Buckwheat is a great option - and you can grow it in your own garden.

Three lime myths busted

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

lamb's lettuce

What to plant in the veggie patch in April

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

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.

How to grow guavas bursting with flavour

If you want a wonderful taste of the tropics, try this small tree.

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.

The Growroom project aims to encourage urban agriculture

Architects are collaborating on innovative solutions for food production in increasingly urbanised areas.

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.

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.

 

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.

Chive talking: tips for planting alliums

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

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.

 

 

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.

radish in ground

Quick tips: Veggies to plant in March

It’s the start of autumn and time to get ready for winter, but still room for a touch of summer.

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

Video: Take a tour of Rory Harding's Dunedin Food Forest

A wild orchard in the heart of Dunedin is planted with more than 60 fruit trees.

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.

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.

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.

How to make damson gin

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

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

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?

The cave at the bottom of a Mt Eden garden

Some people have fairies at the bottom of their garden; the Jacob family of Mt Eden have a cave.

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.

3 inspiring New Zealand food forests

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

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.

Tips for a breezy summer with your livestock

How to protect your livestock from facial eczema and why it pays to have good shade.

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.

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.

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.

Water Cooler: Learning te reo and the NZ Flower and Garden Show

This week in the water cooler, Nadene brushes up on her te reo, and Emma visits the NZ Flower and Garden Show.

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.

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.

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.

Garden Marlborough

Water Cooler: Garden Marlborough marvels

This week in the water cooler, Kate explores Garden Marlborough, Emma steps aboard the Orient Express and Nadene finds inspiration in a new book Growing More than Grass.

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.

cat on fence

How to garden with cats

Kirsty Pascoe is an avid gardener who has applied permaculture principles to her back yard and her cats.

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.

Homegrown present idea: Greek basil topiary

Greek basil, also known as bonsai basil, produces clusters of small leaves that grow naturally into a dome and make a beautiful homegrown present.

hanging lettuce ball lettuce orb

Grow this lettuce ball as a Christmas gift

Create this lettuce sphere as a homegrown gift or an edible  patio decoration.

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.

cucumber seedling

Veggie growing tips: raising seedlings

The November 2017 issue of NZ Lifestyle Block comes with a free packet of McGregor's veggie seeds - we show you how to sow and care for your favourite seedlings.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

soil biology

8 facts you need to know about soil

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

The 10 best lettuces for a 365-day salad supply

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

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.

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.

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.

6 ways to clean up sorry-looking citrus

A neglected grapefruit tree gets an organic makeover.

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.

lemon ice cream

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.

14 tips to getting a great asparagus crop

Planting asparagus crowns all comes down to technique.

manuka rx natural New Zealand skincare

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.

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.

How to build a sandpit

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

Sustainable crayfish venture wins accolades

A flagship venture in the forests of Southland and Otago aligns commercial interests with conservation ideals

Video: Botanist Philip Simpson shares his love of totara

Our native trees are some of the most unique in the world, and so is the man who has dedicated his life to studying them and telling their stories, including his latest on the king of them all.

7 tips for protecting your bore

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

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.

4 steps to pruning an apple tree

Haven't pruned your fruit tree in years? Here’s where to begin.

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

rubbish car driver

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.

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.

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

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.

Andean superfood quinoa grown in Taihape

A little experiment with a superfood has turned into a win-win business for a young farming couple.

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 caves at the bottom of the farm

Looking for opportunities to keep their adult children working and raising their families nearby, Philip and Anne Woodward added cave exploration and a café to their farming operation in a remote area south of Port Waikato.

How to grow your own bath scrub

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

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.

Which apple varieties are best to plant?

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

The 6 plants every chocoholic needs in their garden

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

How to grow chervil

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

Native tree flammability test

Data gathered will be used to identify fire-prone ecosystems and the best plants to use as 'green' firebreaks to reduce the spread of destructive wildfires.

Snake beans, bitter melons and curry leaf - grown in Whanganui

Whanganui based green house gardener Shane McCulloch has created a niche market for the hugely popular unusual Asian vegetable market.

Growing kale over winter

If you’re a bit bored by cabbage for your winter garden, its ‘cousin’ kale is a great-looking, great-tasting alternative.

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?

Tips for your best broccoli crop

Broccoli has hit sky-high prices in supermarkets - so why not try growing your own?

How to weave a wattle fence

Weaving wattle is an ancient craft where you can make fences out of coppiced branches and stakes to form a woven lattice.

willow maker golden bay

Artisan willow weaver encourages community spirit

This old craft is still immensely popular, and encourages a true community spirit on a Golden Bay lifestyle block.

Home-made fragrance from your garden

Bottle that scent by way of distillation, tincture or enfleurage  and you could find yourself in the perfume business.

apple orchard

Design a home orchard

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

Drying firewood

5 tips to drying firewood

The art of firewood isn't cut and dry, here's how to make your wood  dry thoroughly to burn well.

8 tips to having a great WWOOF experience

WWOOF host Diana Noonan offers some vital tips on how to attract and manage reliable, happy willing workers in a digital age.

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.

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.

Raymond Herber's sculpture park

Forging ahead at the Iron Ridge Sculpture Park

Canterbury sculptor Raymond Herber has carved out a true niche for his life and work in an abandoned quarry.

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.

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.

boiling water to sanitise

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.

8 tips for preserving herbs

Don't let those end of season herbs got to waste. Here are some ways to preserve herbs for the winter months.

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.

Scientists explore cancer-fighting properties of heritage apples

An everyday accountant is working with New Zealand scientists to explore the disease-fighting properties of heritage apples and orange tomatoes.

The return of the community fridge

Zero-waste blogger Amanda Chapman discusses the community fridge project and her eco heroes.

How to get an official 'natural' product

Launching a natural product comes with unique compliance and marketing challenges. The women behind Dove River Peonies share their tips for starting a natural product business in New Zealand.

How to make the most of your autumn garden

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

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.

Yes, this is actually a cucumber

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

How to make herb vinegars

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

Are you breaking the law when you host a wwoofer?

Some businesses are disguising their employees  as volunteers, so are you breaking the law when you host a wwoofer from another volunteer scheme?

Mexican photographer's first farm visit

Mexican photographer Carla Danieli had never spent time on a farm before her stay on a remote station in the Waihopai Valley.

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.

Mary Biggs and the Country Cooking School

Mary Biggs started with Le Cordon Bleu, detoured into lemon cordial and is now back to basics with a country cooking school, sharing the bounty of her beloved farm.

The ultimate self-sufficiency nut

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

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.

Growing a family business on the Wanaka Lavender Farm

Two brothers have turned a patch of Wanaka into a lavender business in full bloom.

The colourful history of carrots

The carrot might seem like one of those boring but reliable veges, but they have a colourful past and a much brighter future in terms of health and organic growing.

urban block

This self-sufficient urban garden will inspire you

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

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.

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.

orchard

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.

10 tried and tested mulches

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

Dahlia

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

SOY BEANS

What to do in the garden this December

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

3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees

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

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.

22 Lessons in running a successful Farmers’ Market stand

The woman who started London’s hugely successful farmers’ market gives her timeless tips for selling at a market.

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.

2 organic DIY ways to beat weeds this spring

If weeds are springing up all over your freshly tended beds, there are a couple of easy, spray-free ways to beat them back.

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.

How to use horse manure with no regrets

It may not smell the greatest, but your garden will thank you for using horse manure to help it flourish.

10 great cutting flowers for summer

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

Inside Lynda Hallinan's "posh barn"

Hurricane Hallinan, aka the country’s liveliest gardener Lynda Hallinan, shows us her spring makeover in time for another charity fundraiser.

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.

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

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.

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.

Which bean varieties to plant for summer

A warm summer makes bean-growing a snap.

Dr Libby on nutritional deficiencies

In a two-part series, Dr Libby fronts up to a question about nutritional deficiencies.

seedling

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.

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.

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.

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?

Garden tasks for September

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

Clachanburn Country Garden

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

10 things to know about growing walnuts

The fabulous walnut is a tasty treat for the home orchard owner, or a potential future crop with New Zealand’s climate meaning we can produce high quality nuts.

Planting seed potatoes.

What to sow in the garden right now

The wind-up to spring planting is starting, and one big decision is going to have year-long repercussions.

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.

Ken Johnston of Stevens Outdoor Power Equipment.

Things to consider when buying a ride-on mower

If you’re tired of pushing yourself to do the lawns get our tips on how to buy possibly the biggest investment in a single product you’ll make when you live on a lifestyle block.

 

Success with bush basics

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

Markantonia

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

wheelbarrow

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.

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.

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

soil test

Give your soil the sniff test

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

Garden jobs for August

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

Mulching over winter

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

Masanobu Fukuoka

What gardeners can learn from this man

The late Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka created a revolutionary way of farming that has no plowing, no fertiliser, no weeding and no pesticides.

Norfolk Island

Self-sufficiency on Norfolk Island

When you live on a little island in the middle of a big ocean, you have to make your block of land pay its own way in the most self-sufficient manner possible.

giant pumpkin

Grow a giant pumpkin

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

planting a tree

Bare, naked tree planting tips

Winter is a great time to plant your future fruiting trees, but do you know how to do it so you give a tree the optimal start?

tamarillo in bowl

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.

Hukerenui School

How a school is making a profit from the land

The enterprising students of Hukerenui School are making a profit from growing maize, lavender and keeping bees.

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

construction equipment

Essential safety gear for DIY enthusiasts

If you’re buying power equipment then you need to budget in the cost of safety gear.

pruning tree

12 tips for good tree pruning

grazing horses

3 winter grazing secrets

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

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

What to do in the garden in July

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

Lighting up NZ's economy with lasers

Laser technology might be the next big driver of economic growth in New Zealand according to an Auckland University scientist.

sheep under fence

Nineteen tips for better fencing

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

gumboots and mud

Don't get stuck in the mud

No-one likes mud, and it's something you need to manage carefully or the damage to soil can be devastating.

Signs of problems with your bore water. Photo: Dreamstime

Bore water problems?

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

chainsaw safety

A beginner's guide to buying a chainsaw

Chainsaws are an essential backyard tool, but it pays to do your research before you buy and learn how to maintain them.

Water weeds Alternanthera: Photo Harry Rose

4 ways to weed your waterways

Aquatic weeds can be a major problem in lowland farming areas, but there are a few ways to tackle these pesky and persistent plants.

Auckland edible flower business blooming

A South Auckland grower shares the secrets of her edible garden.

CUP OF TEA

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.

Winter is the time to start thinking about planning your garden

5 tips for a prettier vegetable garden

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

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

How to build irrigation-free raised beds

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

Olveston gardens

3 green-fingered generations

A chance vacancy at Olveston Homestead has enabled three generations of the Goldsmith family to polish up a bit of Kiwi history

Create a worm windrow.

Create a worm windrow

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

rabbit in mobile hutch to eat weeds

5 organic ways to weed

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

garlic in basket

Garden jobs for June

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

how to build a good fence

5 tips for keeping your fences in good condition

A fence is essential on any property with livestock, but not all fences are created equal.

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.

peony growers New Zealand

Peony flower power: the secret beneath the soil

The peony is one of the most beautiful flowers in the world, but it’s what it grows beneath the soil that has turned into a unique business for one Nelson couple.

Macademia

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.

8 must-try microgreens

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

chainsaw safety

A beginner’s guide to chainsaw safety

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

lifestyle block

4 things to consider when buying a lifestyle block

Green grass, blue skies, peace and quiet, cows, sheep, chickens, a pony, an elegant garden or a food forest full of heritage fruit trees. But there's important questions to ask yourself before you commit to moving to a block.

Things to do in the garden in May

The weather outside is frightful, but there's plenty of delightful things to plant in the garden in May.

13 things to know about growing & eating rhubarb

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

Clachanburn Country Garden

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.

Create a refreshing rosemary hydrosol

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

Leaderbrand

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.

Kurow lavender farm’s sweet smell of success

A picture-perfect lavender farm, is just one of a bunch of businesses nourished by a Kurow dairy farm.

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