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.
Dr Compost's secret to a healthy, efficient compost pile
Ben Elms (aka Dr Compost) says creating an effective compost pile shouldn’t involve back-breaking labour.
10 late-spring gardening tasks: Sow carrots, transplant tomatoes
The warmer days are practically begging you to get out the spade for late spring gardening.
10 most nutrient-rich leafy greens you can grow
If you’re going to grow your salads, here are the 10 greens that make every bite as nutrient-rich as possible.
3 common trees to get for free with propagation
There's no need to pay when a simple propagation will do the trick.
This organic grower hasn't had aphids in two years
A garden doesn't get much trickier than a steep slope by the sea, but this one produces enough to feed a family, a community, the birds, and the bees.
How to use vertical planting to maximise a small space
Vertical planting can substantially increase the growing area in a small garden or roof terrace.
10 tips to growing cucumbers
While cucumbers come in different shapes and sizes, their garden preferences are nearly identical.
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.
6 mistakes to avoid when buying a ride-on lawn mower
Buying a ride-on mower is a big investment, and it can be difficult if you’re new to a block. Here are six mistakes you want to avoid.
DIY project: Make a vertical growing frame for climbing veggies
This easy-to-make A-frame gives veggies in the gourd family a place to grow up.
How to grow good corn (from a self-confessed corn addict)
There’s very sweet corn and then there’s good corn.
How to control and prevent pests in the garden the natural way
It’s easy to malign pests, but they’re not malicious. Think before spraying them and adopt an attitude of gratitude to the many beneficial insects that feed on the nasties that attack the garden.
7+ flowers to brighten the best days of the year
Late summer and early autumn can lack flowers, but a little planning now will see it bright and blooming.
Spring gardening tasks to tick off this October
Grab your gloves and a spade to kick off our favourite gardening season of the year.
DIY project: How to make a garden cloche
A cloche provides protection for newly planted seedlings, keeping insects, pests and adverse weather at bay.
The best ways to mow your lawn and create lawn stripes
It is always a challenge to work out the most efficient way to mow a lawn. Clockwise? Anti-clockwise? Rows? Spirals? The answer is, it depends.
Creative ways with succulents
Succulents are a beautiful business plan if you enjoy some simple DIY and a little creativity.
A wild suburban garden inspired by Tāne Mahuta
Two of Valda Poletti’s ancestors arrived from England, settled on land near New Plymouth and burned the bush and forest to make way for pastures of ryegrass and clover. Valda has done precisely the opposite.
Seed raising 101: How to raise plants from seeds
Raising plants from seed is a cost-effective way of planting out a garden.
This garden design can grow food during droughts
Rising temperatures and extreme weather patterns have made gardening difficult in countries in Africa and the Pacific. Keyhole gardens may offer a solution.
How to be a very small dairy farmer (no cows required)
Their small farm and its small livestock are the perfect size for a Northland dairy farming couple.
Goodnature's self-resetting traps are changing pest control in NZ
A Wellington company is delivering a lethal blow to the world’s pests.
How to spot this aggressive new bramble
A bramble that can smother native trees is found in NZ for the first time.
Grow these plants to tap into the booming pet health industry
A Taranaki gardener has found there are some growing opportunities in the $1.5 billion pet health business.
Sally Brown's tips for displaying cut flowers
Don’t be myopic about what can be arranged in a vase to create beauty, says Sally.
Why you should give heritage corn a go
Heirloom varieties are under threat around the world. The more people who grow them, the better.
September gardening: it's time to sow
It's time to sow peas and carrots, plant tomato seeds, dig out weeds, avoid codling moths
Sally Brown's must-dos for a year-round cutting garden
A vase of fresh flowers is a simple way to bring joy into your home. Expert gardener Sally Brown shares her tips on how to grow cutting blooms all year-round.
30+ of the best tomato varieties to grow this summer
There are hundreds of varieties to try but these ones get top reviews.
3 reasons why there’s no spring flush
Look for these signs if your pasture isn't plentiful this spring.
Guest Blog: 'How my veggie patch has helped me grow'
Our guest blogger Poppy Vink shares what she’s learned starting a veggie patch from scratch and how her budding garden has helped with her mental health.
14 tips to getting a great asparagus crop
Planting asparagus crowns all comes down to technique.
The Kiwi connection at Wardington Manor
Designing duo Bridget Elworthy and Henrietta Courtauld are the pick of the bunch with their design and cut-flower company the Land Gardeners.
The 1 big thing you need to get right to grow nutritious, delicious food
Shannon Wright shares her secrets to creating fertile soil filled with biological life, and how to create a nutrient-dense salad.
Great New Zealand Gardens to Visit
When exploring the country, put these spectacular gardens at the top of the must-visit list.
What's On: Taranaki Garden Festival set to fully bloom November 1-10
The 32nd Taranaki Garden Festival will see visitors flock to the region from 1-10 November 2019 for the annual garden event.
8 tricks to successful pear growing
The pear season is over and there are always lessons to come out of it.
6 trends to consider when planning a specialty timber crop
When planting a crop that’s ready to harvest in 30 years, it’s smart to look at long term trends.
How Dr Compost makes biochar in a bathtub (and how he uses biochar in the garden)
Ben Elms is an expert compost-maker. But his latest way to create better soil is by adding biochar, made in his new bespoke kiln.
2 nutritious, delicious greens that love winter
Late winter and early spring are difficult times for vegetable growing, but these two nutrient-filled greens love it.
A beginner's guide to strawberry growing
The earlier you plant strawberries, the more fruit you’ll get.
This couple ditched their jobs to grow mushrooms
The Krummenacher family business is based on an ancient and dynamic natural system that is going about its important business silently beneath their feet.
How to use thyme to combat winter ills
Kristina finds her garden has the cure for what ails her.
How to profit from specialty timber (with tips from the experts)
Specialty timber trees or natives can be a profitable option if you're planning to plant out more than a hectare.
'Garden angels' transform cemetery into a blooming garden
An old cemetery — the final resting place of many notable Taranakians — is fully appreciated by the still (thankfully) alive and kicking due to the efforts of a bunch of hardworking volunteer gardeners.
4 common issues with citrus (and how to avoid them)
The things that turn citrus bad can be pesky little buggers.
If you haven't planted strawberries yet, now is the time
It's officially time to start prepping for spring.
David Walshaw traded city life to grow olives
A financier leaves a 25-year city career to pursue an ancient rural trade.
The secret to growing fruit and nut trees for free
Trees add immense value to a block of land, but they don’t have to cost a fortune.
Is this New Zealand's prettiest mushroom?
You may recognize this cute-as-a-button fungi from the NZ$50 bill.
DIY: Build an underground worm farm
Keep worms happy year-round with this easy-to-build underground worm farm.
How Kurow locals transformed a wasteland into a clean, green wonderland
North Otago locals transform a polluted river island into a community paradise.
This chrysanthemum is pretty and tasty
Chrysanthemums are a florist favourite, but one type makes a great dish too.
How to get the garden ready for warm weather (hint: get sowing)
Planning and prepping for spring is well underway.
5 easy things to do to ensure a fruitful orchard
Your fruit trees will thank you (with fruit, of course).
A step-by-step guide to grafting fruit trees
Master the art of grafting for unlimited new fruit trees.
Why you need to grow this ancient herb
It’s always exciting to find a new herb, even if it’s one that has been around for thousands of years.
3 reasons willows are a great tree choice
A willow might not be an obvious pick for your block, but it certainly could be the most ingenious.
Why your soil needs biochar (plus two ways to make it)
This special type of charcoal made from waste wood will enrich your soil and help save the planet.
Why East Cape manuka oil is gaining acclaim
Hundreds of times more potent than mānuka honey, mānuka oil is gaining international acclaim for its antibacterial properties. Its story begins in one of New Zealand’s most isolated regions.
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.
Hard work, scenic views: The farmers of Glenmore Station are earning the good life
Will and Ems Murray are the fifth generation of the family to farm Glenmore, a high-country station bordering Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park. They aim to not be the last.
How to grow finger limes — the new foodie favourite
Tagged “citrus caviar”, finger limes are a fresh take on a standard citrus.
A former movie exec creates a whimsical garden
Making movies in London one minute; growing grapes and welcoming guests to a rural garden the next. Life is full of surprises.
6 great companions for fruit trees
Give fruit trees a friend for better pollination, beneficial insects, and more surface minerals.
4 easy fixes for phosphorus loss (and a sweet benefit to clean waterways)
When you fix the conditions that cause phosphorus loss, you get some tasty benefits.
200 meals per day for kids in need
A community that not only grows its food — but also shares it around — is incredibly powerful, says this Wellington altruist.
3 essential types of shelter every block needs
We can put on a jacket or a sunhat, turn on the air-con or add another log on the fire. But all your stock can do is move in or out of shelter.
3 exotic fruits to add to your garden this winter
Winter can be pretty quiet for fruit, but you can add something exotic to sweeten up the cold season.
Inside a colour-blind gardener's 800-sqm wonderland in Taupo
Renowned gardener Gordon Collier is red/green colour blind — but it isn’t the reason he refuses to plant by painted numbers in his small suburban garden; he prefers to mix it up a little.
What is pugging? How to avoid damaging your soil this winter
Soil needs an open structure. Pugging destroys it.
9 gardening tasks to tick off during quiet winter months
The garden will be quieter but there’s still plenty to do.
How a living roof in Auckland flourishes without soil
A soil scientist is maximizing her growing capacity by planting well above ground without soil.
5 native plants to forage in New Zealand (and how to benefit from them)
These native plants will reward you with health-giving properties (if you know where to look for them).
How to grow citrus in small spaces
Even the smallest urban backyard can make room for the humble citrus tree.
5 reasons to plant heritage fruit trees
If you love summer fruit, or fruit all year round, now is the time to go wild and plant your dream orchard.
How to get spring blooming with tulips and daffodils
Fancy a spring floral display that gardeners in Holland would be proud of? It’s time to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs for gorgeous spring bouquets.
From clay soil to a block blooming with herbs
Cathy Bouma never planned to have a herb business. Or a block.
How to tell when a persimmon is ripe
The softer and squishier persimmons get, the better they are.
Walnuts 101: How to grow, store and cook walnuts
It’s technically not a nut, but Kristina is nuts for this nut.
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.
7 tips for buying good hay
Buying good quality hay can be a fraught business.
Everything you need to know about the ambrosia beetle
A serious pest of avocado trees has been found in NZ for the first time.
15+ shelterbelt tree suggestions
A good shelterbelt will filter the wind, provide food for birds and bugs and above all, keep stock happy.
Growing Mexican limes in New Zealand
How to keep a lime happy, even in the cold.
4 natural helpers to your garden (and how to keep snails away)
On any given day you'll find Jane outdoors mixing up a comfrey fertiliser or brewing a chamomile tea.
15+ jobs to get done in May on your lifestyle block
Looking ahead to winter and summer is a smart move for the mid-autumn checklist.
The secret life of nocturnal pests (and how to capture them on camera)
You may think you know what goes on when you’re asleep, but a night vision camera can be illuminating.
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.
May gardening tasks: Prepare for asparagus, plant Asian greens
The garden will be cooler but you can still be productive this month.
Taranaki farmers go with the grain in dairy country
A Taranaki family with an eye on the future have sown their faith in an ancient grain.
Pruning 101 with Kath Irvine
Kath demystifies the art of pruning in this special extract from her book Pruning Fruit Trees: A Beginner’s Guide.
A guide to companion planting
Give vegetables a suitable companion and reap the rewards.
Power up your peach tree by giving it a good prune
Pruning a peach tree can be a test of a marriage but the results are bountiful.
Provenance Meat owner says healthy soil is behind award-winning lamb
Bio-farmed and ethically raised, the lambs grown for Provenance Meat are owner David Crutchley’s pride and joy — and reason for winning the paddock category of the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards for 2019.
Plant rotation 101: How to grow crops in succession
Healthy soil and biodiversity are among the many benefits of rotating crops.
Taranaki farmers lead by example with riparian planting schemes
There’s little room for nuance in the debate over the health of the country’s rivers and streams.
160kg of fruit per tree at this Whakatane feijoa orchard
Whakatane’s White Goose Orchard produces fantastic feijoas and winning wines, and its owners are huge proponents of the potential nutritional benefits of the aromatic fruit.
Everything to do this April for a healthy, productive block
Seasons are everything for productivity, so kick start the month with this autumn checklist.
Plans for organic farming teaching centre in Motueka
Work is underway on a teaching centre that will offer workshops, lectures, and apprenticeships for anyone eager to learn the peculiarities of organic enterprise.
7 garden tips for April: Sow carrot seeds and dig up those potatoes
We’re on the road into winter, but there’s still plenty to produce for your kitchen.
Seaweed 101: How to forage, harvest and use seaweed
There’s a great source of free greens in the sea, if you know the ones to look out for.
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 make an easy seaweed garden spray
Seaweed is full of nutrition, both for you and your garden. Warning: may be stinky.
How a Papamoa couple grew their house tree by tree
A couple, seeing the wood within the trees, set out with a long-term vision for a new home and an alternative forestry industry.
Make a compact trestle table
This trestle is ideal for a compact potting table or a base for a plant container.
Self-sufficiency with sweet chestnuts
It's easy to process, stores for a long time and is incredibly versatile. There’s no other fruit or nut that makes a great baking flour, a lovely soup, or a great-tasting pesto.
10 things you need to know about growing pears
Nothing beats the melting succulence of a fresh, ripe, well-grown pear.
Beekeeper's tiny house passion stemmed from a teenage illness
Nathan Orr’s enthusiasm for tiny homes and leaving a smaller footprint on the planet is rooted in a teenage illness.
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.
A Waitakere ranger finds joy protecting vulnerable park
The park ranger reflects on the past, present and future protection of Auckland’s Waitākere Regional Park.
10 gardening tips to make the most of March
Planning ahead in March can make all the difference for autumn and winter harvests.
A Waikato block harnesses the power of Paulownia
Graham and Tess Smith prove that it’s the size of your attitude that counts, not the size of your block.
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.
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.
A tram to call home in a rainbow flower garden
If this green-fingered Dunedin landscape architect had her way, the entire world would be a massive garden with flowers bursting into bloom all year round.
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.
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.
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.
Meet the guardians of bird-lover's paradise Kapiti Island
The vast majority of Kāpiti Island is a nature reserve. But 20 hectares of the iconic island is privately owned by a whānau dedicated to preserving their whakapapa — including the land and everything upon it — and sharing it with the world.
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.
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.
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.
7 things quad bike owners need to know
Quad bikes are popular vehicles on farms and lifestyle blocks, yet one of the trickiest to use.
How to farm koura (worth $100 a kilogram)
The world wants our freshwater crayfish. Now there’s a practical guide on how you can farm them and get a bite of the juicy price tag.
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.
How to set up a rainwater collection system
Installing a rainwater-collection system makes the most of this natural resource and cuts down on water bills.
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.
Discovering the lost spring of Taputapuatea
Most people avoid getting into hot water, but the creator of a Coromandel resort spent two decades, and many millions of dollars, drilling for it.
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.
Why gooseberries deserve a second chance
They’re the alternative grape of the garden, can be sweet or sour, and have nothing to do with geese, but gooseberries are one traditional kitchen garden berry that will liven up your cooking.
Top January gardening tips
Moisture and sunlight have a good and bad effect, depending on what you’re growing.
On holiday at Project Kiwi's home base
One man’s vision for protecting an unspoiled Coromandel Peninsula is shared by family and friends who count themselves lucky to holiday there.
January on the farm: How to care for livestock in summer
The January guide to livestock and pasture care.
Photo essay: Rangitoto Island's historic baches
Rangitoto, Auckland’s most familiar landmark, harbours unexpected reminders of less-complicated times.
Volunteer divers keep Wellington's waterfront plastic-free
Meet the scuba diver on a mission to clean up Wellington’s ocean floor.
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?
This couple call a wildlife sanctuary on Great Barrier home
The only human residents of a thriving Great Barrier Island wildlife sanctuary are fiercely protective of their native neighbours.
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.
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.
10 practical tips for using fire on a lifestyle block
Burning is an ancient, organic way to clear land of undesirable plants, turning them into fertiliser. But a good burn takes planning and timing, so think about the following before you strike a match.
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.
From backyard hobby to blooming business
A novice gardener's flower growing efforts have bloomed into a home-based business.
Round cucumber varieties to try
If you like the long green cucumbers, you're going to love these extraordinary orbs.
December garden to-do list
The summer garden will be growing in earnest, but keep up the sowing.
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.
Blueberry growing guide
Blueberries can make a lovely edible hedge, and with the right care one bush can provide eight kilos of berries.
Native plant nursery founder wins big at NZI Rural Women Business Awards
A group of innovative thinkers has been given top honours at the prestigious NZI Rural Women Business Awards.
A comprehensive guide to growing, using and cooking with daylilies
If you love daylilies, you’ll be delighted to know they’re a delicious option in the kitchen too.
SOLD Enchanted storybook cottage
A unique opportunity to own a fairy tale property in Central Otago.
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.
DIY project: Build a vertical gutter garden
Build this smart stand-alone ‘gutter garden’ to grace a deck, patio, courtyard or an external wall. It has a shallow base and best suits shallow-rooted plants.
Save space by growing veggies vertically
Maximise space in a small garden by growing plants vertically. These climbing vine vegetables can be trained to grow up walls, fences or stakes.
Buy the best artisan food products in our new Farmers' Market
NZ Life & Leisure and thisNZlife's involvement in the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards has opened our eyes to the wonderful boutique products New Zealanders are making.
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.
What is wrong with my lettuce?
Jenny answers six common questions about what could be going wrong when it comes to growing lettuce.
Watch: Brooke & Maggie Noonan find true north in Mangonui
Brooke and Maggie Noonan left jobs at Auckland Zoo to build an off-grid, eco-friendly house in the Far North.
Creative thinking is driving a blooming biological economy
A book argues New Zealanders are already starting to make a living out of the natural world in new ways based on “value” rather than “volume”.
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.
Cracking a profit with macadamia
One woman is making a strong stand for the macadamia nut in her community, and it’s a crackingly good option for a block-sized business.
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.
The truth about E. coli
A common bacteria sounds a warning of contamination, but it’s not the baddie it seems.
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.
10 great cutting flowers for summer
If you love a beautiful vase of fresh flowers, here are 10 great options for a cutting garden.
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.
Know and grow your grains
When you start reading about what goes into making the daily loaf, you realise what a luxury item bread is.
October in the garden
In October the garden is starting to take shape for summer. Here's a list of everything you'll need to sow and plant to make fresh, full and colourful salads.
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?
How to grow a rainbow
Turn your kitchen garden into a feast of colour with these tips for growing silverbeet, violas, mesclun, beetroot and more.
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.
Tips for planting a multi-coloured pumpkin patch
Whether you like yours white, blue, grey, pale green, orange, striped or knobbly, you can never have too many pumpkins. Or so says this pumpkin lover. A dedicated pumpkin patch will ensure you remain in pumpkin for the whole year.
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?
A beautiful spring garden created with a hands-off approach
A laissez-faire approach and Monet-inspired palette flow into a magnificent Marlborough garden surrounding a sparkling creek.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to garden with cats
Kirsty Pascoe is an avid gardener who has applied permaculture principles to her back yard and her cats.
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.
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.
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.
8 facts you need to know about soil
We summarise the results of 200 studies about soil so you can improve your soil biology.
The 10 best lettuces for a 365-day salad supply
Jenny Somervell selects the best lettuces to grow this summer (and the rest of the year).
8 spring pasture tips
If there’s no good spring flush, then find out why - there are always plenty of reasons.
The 7 common reasons why a septic tank fails
It’s estimated that more than 40,000 of the 270,000 or so on-site domestic wastewater systems in NZ are at risk of failing.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Garden tasks for September
Try planting baby turnips and some bee-friendly plants this month.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
Grow a giant pumpkin
If you've ever wondered how people win pumpkin-growing competitions, get ready for some seriously strange gardening.
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?
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.
3 winter grazing secrets
Grazing stock on a small farm in winter, can be a challenge but good pasture management can get you through.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 tips for a prettier vegetable garden
Now is a great time to create something pretty and functional for this spring.
How to build irrigation-free raised beds
Do your raised garden beds dry out? Why not create a hugelkultur garden bed instead?
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Create a refreshing rosemary hydrosol
Learn how to make a refreshing distillation of this aromatic herb.
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