Our Land

The Golden Bay orchard dedicated to finding the perfect feijoa

Nigel Ritson has spent the last 35 years breeding feijoas, searching for the perfect fruit.

Prepare the garden for the incoming cold this April

There's plenty to do in the height of autumn.

Ever heard of a chook tractor?

Chickens and gardens don’t normally mix, so it often comes down to a choice: do you fence the garden, fence the chooks, or allow them to thrive together?

Hoop-jumping and council consents: Michael Andrew’s journey of building a home from scratch

NZ Lifestyle Block editor Michael Andrew writes about the essential yet tedious hoop-jumping business of council consents.

The Pumpkin episode four: The rise and appeal of homegrown milk

The Pumpkin, is our podcast devoted to homesteading and permaculture in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

How to keep a fly invasion under control

Nelson Lebo shares his tips to stiffen defences with an effective yet affordable homemade fly trap.

The pest species with surprising benefits

The elder tree has been revered by human beings for millennia for its spiritual and medicinal applications.

The Downward Journey: For the love of soil

Angela Clifford reflects on her almost two-decade journey into soil health.

A garden checklist for the first signs of autumn

Enjoy the final summer goodies and start to prepare for autumn.

8 plants to get through droughts

With water shortages becoming more common, here’s how you can keep your garden alive and thriving during the dry months.

A guide to garden arches

These versatile structures not only add a touch of elegance, but also provide a framework for climbing plants.

Fire prevention, done by a New Zealand block expert

Some of the best and most cost-effective fire prevention experts can be found on many New Zealand rural properties.

A mudbrick home in Golden Bay inspired by Native American and Mediterranean styles

This Kiwi chef is living his dream to build an adobe earth house and develop a permaculture block.

Tips for mowing on a slope

In a country like New Zealand, seldom is a block owner blessed with a tabletop-flat piece of land.

Rebecca Stewart: Following in the footsteps

Rebecca reflects on the struggles of those who lived on their block of land before her family.

The Food Farm reap the rewards of the coast

After a busy spring, it sometimes pays to take a break from the farm and head to the coast for its own unique bounty of kai.

A fresh start for a January garden

Start the new year with a thriving garden.

All of the gardening jobs to get done this December

Summer is finally here meaning there's a lot to get done in the garden.

7 ways to create abundant food

Rebecca Stewart explores the best ways to maximise food production on the block.

How to control kikuyu

It’s the undisputed bane of many blocks, smothering pastures and strangling gardens.

Permaculture paradise in coastal Waikato

In coastal Waikato, two enthusiasts are channelling resilience and innovation to create a hub of permaculture, arts and spirituality.

How to render fat

You can use fresh or frozen fat when rendering.

Late-spring gardening tips and tasks this for month

Summer is on the horizon, so best to get your warm-weather produce blooming.

Farming jobs for November

With summer approaching, it's important to take action on the farm now.

Rebecca Stewart: Living with the seasons

Rebecca reflects on the changes that come each day on the farm during a new season's approach

6 ways to create a survival garden

A “survival garden” can thrive perpetually with minimal inputs, conserving your time and energy.

The number one tree in the permaculture handbook

Tagasaste grows fast, fixes nitrogen, feeds bees and stock, withstands extreme storms and droughts, and helps other seedlings grow.

Maintaining the land on Blue Duck Station

A peek inside daily life on one of the country's most environmentally significant stations.

Have your say: The editorial future of 'NZ Lifestyle Block'

Take a quick 10 minutes to weigh in on the future of 'NZ Lifestyle Block'

Why kānuka is finally getting the spotlight

A new study on eczema treatment has started a conversation about the potential value of kānuka on private land.

A checklist for a successful October garden

Time to make the most of the slowly-warming weather.

The Bay of Plenty ginkgo growers

While foraging ginkgo might be relatively easy, growing the trees for their nuts is notoriously difficult and expensive

Why truffles could be a lifestyle block goldmine

With truffles worth up to $3,500 per kilogram, they could be the perfect money-maker for block owners with unproductive land.

How this Central Otago farm is mastering the art of prepping

They’re often viewed as extreme fanatics training for social collapse. But in light of recent events, are preppers just practising common sense?

Why you need to plant aloe vera this spring

It may seem too early to begin using this after-sun remedy, but now is the time to start growing the medicinal plant.

Why people love or hate the ginkgo nut

It’s infamous for the assaulting odour of its fruit, but the majestic and ancient ginkgo tree can be a forager’s shrine if properly understood.

Tips for September garden success

Spring is finally here. Now the garden fun begins.

Four tips for a bee-friendly lawn

The best ways to attract valuable pollinators to your lifestyle block.

The community behind the preservation of a key scientific reserve

Waikanae Estuary Care Group volunteers have spent nearly 20 years protecting the area where the river meets the ocean.

Advice from a tree farmer

There are two types of trees: the ones you want to shelter, feed, protect, and warm you, and the trees you need to plant first.

The catch with predator control

New research suggests predator control may need to be far more coordinated.

Six tips for when you’re laid low on your block

When illness and injury strikes, it can leave many critical duties up in the air.

DIY: Seed-Raising Tray

Have some pallets lying around? Transform them into a practical hub for your seeds to grow.

An expert's eye on firewood harvesting and storage

The ins-and-outs of keeping the best firewood for your homestead.

A food farm expert on the wonders of Jersey milk season

There’s a lot to be grateful for in August, but at The Food Farm the new season’s Jersey milk is the main event.

The most helpful trees for the best hedge

For shelter and privacy, you can’t go past a good hedge. But as Hel Loader writes, some trees are better suited to the task than others.

Eight jobs to help your garden thrive in August

Getting through the end of winter means prepping for spring now.

Gordon Collier's latest gardening masterpiece

Pushing close to four score and 10 isn’t deterring this horticultural legend from developing a third significant garden.

Do you know the 'three sisters'?

They may grow into a tangled mess, but planting these “three sisters” together can yield an abundance of nutritious, storable food.

11 mid-winter tasks for your garden

The frost may be settling, but that doesn't mean that the gardening takes a pause.

8 secrets to growing trees

The ins-and-outs from a tree farmer.

The pineapple people of Northland

With a few hand tools and a love of growing, a Northland family has created a thriving plantation and sowed the seeds for a burgeoning community.

Homemade herbal soothers for winter sniffles

Get on top of the seasonal croak with these common yet powerful garden herbs.

This lush garden near Whanganui took 45 years to plant

She has the brains; he has the vision. Together, this couple has developed an extraordinary and surprising garden.

The group protecting the Tamahunga Forest, one trap at a time

A community has rallied together to transform a corridor of forest north of Auckland.

How wiggly worms can help you assess soil health

One thing New Zealand isn’t short of is worms: the country has nearly 200 native earthworm species alone, although they mostly live in forests.

A bug family's block life in Taranaki

Science, imagination, and sheer hard work have helped Aaron and Melissa Jacobson grow their dream life on a hilltop block in Taranaki.

3 common ways to wreck winter pasture

Even professional farmers are guilty of doing these, and you pay the price for years.

3 weeds to watch for in winter

Keep an eye out for these pesky plants.

Secrets to growing great organic garlic

Growing garlic is a six month commitment of time, space, and work.

Your gardening checklist for June

Winter is here, and there are tasks galore to fulfil.

Why the feed you’re giving your livestock matters

It’s now even easier to supplement your animals’ diet with the highest quality feed through FeedSafeNZ.

The chainsaw safety tips and tricks you need to know

Make sure you have all the gear and the right idea.

The lifestyle block counsellors preventing burnout

“Permaculture is based on three ethics: earth care, people care and fair share.”

4 things to know about good wood

Why size matters, why feeding technique is crucial, and other good wood tips.

The best firewood trees, according to a forester

Eric Cairns has dedicated his life to growing trees. Here’s his advice for block owners who want to produce a good firewood supply.

5 mushrooms to forage in autumn

Wild mushroom foraging takes time and patience, but the reward of finding delicious edible fungi is priceless.

What happens after the pine trees go

Cleaning up the mess left behind after you harvest a stand of pine trees.

The journey of these rock stars from Te Hūpēnui

It takes a village to raise a child, and it turns out a village can also help four young growers in a time of disaster to start a community-minded business.

Ten essential tasks for your May garden

Late autumn is the perfect time to get these tasks done.

Why a generator should be at the top of your shopping list

The generator literally saved this Esk Valley family’s bacon for four weeks without power.

Gorse: friend or foe?

People tend to have strong opinions about gorse, but there are two sides to this prickly plant, and Nelson Lebo has found a way to make peace with it.

Rebecca Stewart: The joys of an autumn evening

A walk through her land during an autumn evening sees Rebecca Stewart reflect on the work and reward of many years.

Meet the block owners with 14 hectares dedicated to regeneration

This Bay of Plenty block is designed around improving the health of the planet.

How mise en place can help your place

A French cooking technique can help you get more done with less hassle on your block.

Seedlings and sowing: Your April gardening roster

It's time to sow new crops and encourage the last of the old ones.

What's on: A farming open day for families

Connect with local farmers and food producers at during this fun, family day out.

Why the tomato is this small-scale farmer’s greatest success

Angela Clifford shares wisdom from her family's organic, permaculture-based, self-sufficient small farm.

6 nutrient-dense herbs to grow (or forage)

We hear a lot about nutritious superfoods but herbs pack a powerful punch too.

9 garden tasks for the autumnal weather ahead

Time for your garden to say hello to the cooler weather.

DIY: How to make a garden cloche

A cloche provides protection for newly planted seedlings, keeping insects, pests and adverse weather at bay.

The regenerative track getting the royal treatment

What started as a retirement dream grew into a passion project to nurture and protect a native forest for future generations.

8 tips for preserving herbs

Don't let that summer bounty of herbs go to waste.

How to keep your worm farm healthy

Worm farming is one of the most rewarding ways of creating soil from food scraps and garden waste.

How do you practice regenerative agriculture strategies on a block?

Culture farmer Nelson Lebo shares the practical ways he uses it on his 5.1ha block near Whanganui.

Why mushrooms are more useful in your garden than you think

A world of fungi is transforming the soil in this self-sufficient garden.

Is this succulent frame your next weekend project?

A small vertical garden in a picture frame is easy to make and looks amazing.

Gardening after a flood: How to restore your soil and trees

Gardener and author Kate Wall shares the lessons she learnt restoring more than 150 flood damaged gardens in Brisbane in this special book extract.

4 common things that can go wrong with your ride-on

Ride-on mowers are easy to use, but they’re also sophisticated pieces of machinery.

From Auckland to chic off-grid living on a block near Taupō

Leaving Auckland for a bare Taupō block prompted a young couple to build an unfussy life from total scratch, savouring every moment.

9 tasks for a healthy garden in February

Ensure all plants — mature or wee seedlings— are healthy in the height of summer and reap the rewards later.

Food tree riparian planting for flood response

Riparian planting is not exclusively for natives. Fencing off your water’s edge provides the opportunity for a wide range of productive plants.

Improve your block's resistance to natural disasters

Climate change is the greatest challenge facing rural New Zealand. Here’s how simple planning and design can make your block more resilient to natural disasters.

Picking your own 'slow flowers' in Matakana

An avid gardener has turned her passion for flowers into a unique block business that shares the love with everyone.

Choose the right grass to make your garden shine

Flowers are the bright and bold stars of a garden, but grasses are the frame that can make them sparkle.

How to grow good corn (from a self-confessed corn addict)

There’s very sweet corn and then there’s good corn.

Hot tips for gardening this January

It's the month for watering, sowing and keeping the garden groomed.

Is it pampas or toetoe?

Those fluffy fronds on the side of the road may look pretty, but they are actually weeds.

Why a bed-and-breakfast was the first addition on this family's block

The man who created one of the toughest endurance races in NZ is enjoying a marathon clean-up and new challenges on his Rotorua block.

A beginner’s guide to square-foot gardening

This grid-driven method of gardening encourages high yield in a small space — wasting not a smidgen of soil.

How these Helensville entrepreneurs are reshaping their land with native trees

This couple had to rethink how to put two hectares to good use when their soil was deemed too unstable for a factory.

How to grow great eggplants

Some people have dismal luck with eggplants, but warmth is the essence of a thriving crop.

How to forage, harvest and use elderflower

Large, lacy, creamy white clusters of elderberry flowers are a pretty sight and a delicious find.

Plants and green-thumbed friends help Lynda Hallinan's garden thrive

Two keen country gardeners share a friendly rivalry over flowers, foliage and finding ways to foil rabbits.

Rhododendron lovers fill Kimbolton garden with rhodo trials, hybrids and more

An infatuation for genus Rhododendron keeps a park budding with rare shrubs, hybridization and thousands of blooms.

How to spruce up your end-of-year garden

The end of the year may be upon us, but there is still plenty to do.

Trapping lessons from the pest evangelists of Taupaki

From a lifestyle block in Taupaki, a dynamic couple is ridding the land of pests, one trap at a time.

Why Oliver Hoffmann has weeded every day for 30 years

An after-work weeding habit has grown into a 30-year retaliation against Auckland’s peskiest pests.

Meet Naseby's multi-generational family of peony growers

An export peony business in Naseby delivers floral cheer to the likes of Hollywood royalty and familial riches to its multi-generational ranks.

10 things you need to know about going off-grid

Is going off the grid the best decision? It can be a complicated question, especially if you’re already connected to the grid.

Moa bones, caves and velvet worms on a family farm in Waitomo

A spirited Waitomo clan have filled their lives with art and adventure, exploring every nook and cranny of their region and sharing some of its best bits with visitors.

Ways to make your November garden flourish

The warming weather allows for plenty to do in your garden this month.

Turning a clay pan into an extraordinary native garden

A lush garden in suburban Blenheim has sprung from crowbarred holes in a clay pan planted with native shrubs and trees. It’s taken Andrea and Pete Forrest two decades to create Moritaki.

6 things to remember when growing tomatoes

If you're going for a fruitful tomato harvest, keep these six things in mind.

How to find the perfect ride-on mower

They all mow grass, but there’s a science to finding the right one for your lawn.

How to grow sunflowers

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

Veggie growing tips: raising seedlings

Raising seedlings is a great way to save money when growing your own food.

Why you should grow lemongrass

This herb looks lovely as it moves in the breeze, is excellent in the kitchen and can be used to make a fragrant tea.

What to do in the garden this October

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

How to improve your pasture for free

Deferred grazing is an easy way to rejuvenate pasture.

Native plants to use for fodder

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

20+ tips for growing fat, sweet tomatoes

This gardener uses family-tested tomato growing techniques in an effort to rival her late mother’s unforgettable crop.

Lynda Hallinan embraces nature's stubbornness

‘I go to nature to be soothe and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more,’ wrote John Burroughs. Somewhere in Hunua, the owner of Foggydale Farm is rolling her eyes.

Lessons from a small-but-mighty block in Ohoka

With a block smaller than a hectare, this Ohoka couple have definitely spent 20 years making the most of their space.

What the best farmers do to manage their stock

What you can learn from NZ’s highest-performing sheep and beef farmers.

Mow your way to a lush spring lawn

Smart mowing can beauty your property and even control weeds, if you get the timing right.

How to save precious hours on your lifestyle block

The most important resource on your lifestyle block is your time, so it's important to spend it wisely.

How to grow the radishes of your dreams

Ruby-red or pearl-like, every kind of radish is a veggie patch necessity.

How to beat superworms

Why superworms are outsmarting drench & what to do about it.

The 10 most cost-effective edibles to grow

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

8 tips for growing and harvesting rocket

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

Meet the oak-tree hunters of Aotearoa

A passionate group are hunting for Aotearoa’s most magnificent oak trees to make sure we can all share the love.

Your spring gardening checklist this September

Say goodbye to dreary winter days, and hello to a garden ready to bloom into spring.

Going nuts for growing nuts

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

How to sprout, plant and grow kūmara and potatoes

Late winter or early spring is a great time to start sprouting kūmara and potatoes.

4 common issues with citrus (and how to avoid them)

The things that turn citrus bad can be pesky little buggers.

From beef farmer to earthworm warrior

There’s an art to the science of regenerative farming and it has turned this conventionally-trained farmer into an earthworm warrior.

Potato growing basics PLUS how to grow potatoes in buckets

You don't need a large garden to grow potatoes. Try growing them in a bucket or a container.

Advice for aspiring lavender growers

The bigger the patch, the bigger the investment.

All about Meyer lemons PLUS lemon ice cream

Learn how to look after your citrus - and treat yourself with this yummy ice cream recipe.

Tips and tricks for your garden this August

The final days of winter are upon us, and with it comes flourishing daffodils and a list of tasks to keep you buzzing around the garden.

How to give homegrown onions a go

There's nothing sweeter than pulling up garden-fresh onions from the ground.

8 reasons why you should plant a hedgerow

A hedgerow is an old-fashioned way to feed yourself and your livestock, and create valuable habitat.

How to protect stock and property on lifestyle blocks

Missing, stolen or damaged property are significant problems in rural communities. Michael Van de Elzen and FMG’s lifestyle insurance specialist, Montana Kerr, discuss the best methods to keep lifestyle blocks secure.

7 Airbnb lessons from block owners in Rotorua

Nestled away on a Rotorua lifestyle block, Wildberry Cottage is a Scandinavian-inspired Airbnb that has taught Paul Charteris many lessons.

Plant these flowers in August for a blooming spring

A colourful garden may be synonymous with spring, but the planning starts in late winter.

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.

The ultimate guide to pruning your fruit trees

The good news is poor pruning is like a bad haircut – it will grow out.

Tips for your best broccoli crop

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

Your mid-winter gardening checklist

July is an ideal time to keep tasks ticking along, from planting garlic to sprouting early seed potatoes.

How to control rabbits and rats

It's the best time of year to start controlling two annoying pests, before they start breeding again in spring.

5 tips for growing bananas in your backyard

Banana plants grow widely across New Zealand and even where they can’t bear fruit, they have plenty of other uses.

8 ways to give your fence a refresh

Good fences will only stay that way with regular maintenance.

Why you should test your soil this autumn

You can pay for a professional soil test, or assess it yourself with some close observation.

10 tips for growing saffron

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

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.

Quick tips for your best-ever June garden

Sow, plant, and compost your way to a bountiful winter garden.

Life lessons from this fantastical garden at Lake Wakatipu

Thomas Schneider’s whimsical approach to significant issues results in a profusion of sculptures and statues, flowers and trees, animals and birds, and all critters — great and small.

Lynda Hallinan is all fired up for cooler weather

Lynda Hallinan looks forward to the 'ritual annual catharsis of combustion' every autumn.

How to plant tulip and daffodil bulbs

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.

6 trees to plant for great firewood

If you’re planning to plant trees this winter, here are six good options that make excellent firewood.

10 great trees for a multipurpose woodlot

A good woodlot is for generations to come, so think about harvesting while you’re planting.

May gardening tasks for your best-ever winter garden

Dreaming of some fat homegrown cauliflower? Plant this crop (and many others) now and reap the rewards later.

Why scientists need your flood photos

Climate change means more floods, and finding new ways to cope.

How this website is connecting green-fingered Kiwis around the country

Realising that gardening can be isolating for some, Jane Mahoney created an Airbnb-inspired platform to connect curious gardeners around New Zealand.

firewood how to check if your firewood is dry enough

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

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

This treasured herb can fetch up to $10,000 per kilo

One of the world’s most valuable herbs is growing in secret plantations in NZ, and you can grow it too.

10+ tips for your herb garden this April

It's time to trim, sow and consider growing something unusual this winter...

How to brew a good cuppa from your garden

Homemade herbal tea is many brews above what you can buy in a packet.

How to naturally grow nutrient-rich food

If your goal is to grow nutrient-rich food in sync with nature, the key to getting it right starts long before you plant anything.

Balancing our food needs with the soil that supplies it

When it comes to climate mitigation, writes Dr Mulgan, Planet Earth’s survival is more complicated than most suppose.

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

How to grow mushrooms at home

Growing mushrooms in your backyard does double-duty – they provide a healthy, sustainable food source while improving the soil.

How to grow fat and lovely cauliflower

Be in the know before planting this finicky crop.

A Raglan mother transforms her yard into a lush, spray-free food haven

A former theatre nurse has turned her Raglan property into an almost self-sufficient “wild garden” and is now raising a gluten-free bread business that looks and tastes as good as the real stuff.

What to harvest, plant and prepare this March

As temps begin to drop, it's time to start thinking about cool-season gardening.

20 tips for aspiring BnB hosts

If you live in paradise and want extra income, it makes sense to invite people to stay. Sheryn shares her lessons hosting visitors from near and far.

6 tips to growing mandarins (almost ) all year round

If you pick and choose your varieties carefully, you can be munching on sweet mandarins from early winter until late summer or even all year round if you plan it well.

5 easy-to-grow flowers for homemade bouquets

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

Why it pays to plan the perfect block

Here's how good planning can transform your block and protect our environment.

What and when to harvest this month

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

5 creeping sedums for hot spots in the garden

This sunshine-soaking plant is a favourite for European rooftops.

10 ways to safeguard your block from a fire

With heatwaves sweeping through the country, it's time to brush up on fire safety in rural areas.

How to make damson gin

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

A checklist for your vegetable garden this February

Here's what to sow, what to save, and what to protect from high humidity.

7 lessons from a slow-flower garden in Matakana

The owner of Slow Blooms, a cut-your-own flower and herb garden, explains how to apply slow-garden principles at home.

15 spray-free strategies to protect crops from pests

Looking for spray-free solutions to outsmarting bugs? Here's the ultimate guide for remaining one step ahead.

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

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

Transforming a bare block into a self-sufficiency dream

If it weren’t for chocolate and coffee, Angela Clifford and her family would be mostly self-sufficient food-wise from their bountiful organic block.

7 tips for keeping your block secure

Going on holiday to the beach? If you prepare right, you won't have to worry about block security while you're away.

This is how to get an all-year round fruit harvest

With this guide, you'll be sure to select fruit trees that will yield fruit year-round.

How to harvest sunflower seeds

Once the petals begin to fall, it's time to get to work.


Does orchard size matter?

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

From boggy paddock to native wetland

Their 6.4ha block was once covered in gorse twice their height.

30+ basics every block owner needs to know

With the number of lifestyle block owners rising each year, many of them new to farming, it’s important to know where to find reputable advice and help.

Protect and nourish your garden this January

Summer is the time to take proactive measures to prevent fungal diseases, thirsty plants, and insect infestations.

3 ways to create enriched garden beds

Permaculture gardener Kath Irvine shares her years of experience, and the secrets to creating a great garden bed, in her book The Edible Backyard. 

10 weeds to forage (plus how to use them)

You’ll find these common weeds in your garden or out on your block, but you’ve probably never thought of harvesting them for dinner. Here’s how to turn a plant in the wrong place into a delicious, healthy addition to your diet.

Explore a paddock-turned-sculpture garden

One couple, one hectare, and a thousand more years in which to write a vision upon the land.

DIY: 6 natural fertilisers to make at home

The more nourishment plants get, the better they grow. Making your own garden fertiliser is easy, eco-friendly and sustainable.

2 spicy natives to add to your edible garden

Add native New Zealand plants to your garden and reap the rewards.

12 majestic trees to grow on your land

Here are 12 trees you should plant in your paddocks, simply because they’re beautiful.

Tips and reminders for gardening this December

Here's our monthly gardening advice — straight from the experts.

10+ resources every block owner needs

It’s important to get good quality information from the right sources. These are some of the best resources for block owners.

How to turn your garden into a white wonderland

White gardens are beautiful day and night, but even the most famous one in the world is a mix of colours, and that’s all-white.

Why it takes six months to build the perfect garden bed

Permaculture farmer and gardener Nelson Lebo has spent 20 years perfecting the art of creating and managing low-maintenance garden beds.

Organic ways to control codling moth

Bugs are a part of nature and I come in peace, but when they invade an entire apple crop, its time to declare war and this is the time to get started.

What is wrong with my lettuce?

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

6 locations to consider for your dream lifestyle block

If you want to find an affordable dream country home, here are six spots to consider.

A late-spring gardening checklist

Keep your dream summer harvest in mind when planting out your garden this November.

How to grow herbs for a profit

Starting a backyard herbal enterprise can be a viable means of earning extra cash.

6 delicious reasons why you should plant kohlrabi

It can look a bit like an alien turnip, but kohlrabi is a lovely addition to summer salads and winter comfort foods.

How to control alligator weed on your block

Watch out for this weed, it can easily outcompete pasture and clog up your waterways.

9 tips for growing great passionfruit

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

Inside this Clevedon family's growing veggie-box business

A family vegetable business on a South Auckland block has created an award-winning way of selling their produce.

Everything to sow and plant this October

It's time to sow, sow, sow for a bountiful season ahead.

10 tips to growing cucumbers

While cucumbers come in different shapes and sizes, their garden preferences are nearly identical.

Why runner beans should be a staple in your garden

There’s one non-negotiable, flavoursome, highly productive vegetable in Jenny’s summer garden, and it saves her money.

A Wellington mum transforms her front lawn into a productive veggie garden

Sarah Hopkinson’s personal and professional passions come together in a sandy section she’s transformed into a productive garden.

6 easy-to-grow cherry tomato varieties

Cherry tomatoes are a good option for smaller gardens.

Is this the star of the edible garden?

This sweet herb – sometimes maligned as an invasive weed – deserves a second look, and with it you get a bee guarantee.

7 tips for cutting back spring with a brushcutter

If you’ve got out-of-control weeds or long, tough grass, a brushcutter is a great tool for tidying.

How to grow tomatoes with string frames, mesh frames and cages

Gardening guru Kath Irvine breaks down different ways to support vine tomatoes in her book, The Edible Backyard.

8 tips to give your ride-on mower a spring spruce-up

October grass is often thick and lush, putting extra stress on your ride-on mower, so give it a spring makeover.

Nadia Lim's quick tips for growing peas

There's nothing quite like the flavour of freshly picked peas from the garden.

Why you should give chokos a go

They’re the winter equivalent of cucumbers, and there's a secret to picking the ones that taste best.

Lynda Hallinan's quick tips for growing ferns

Because who doesn't want some fronds with benefits?

A Waikato family's sweet life growing organic citrus

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

7 layers of a successful food forest

Creating a thriving food forest is an art and a science.

Your September gardening checklist, sorted

As the soil begins to warm up, it's time to get your spring garden started.

Farming in the 'fourth dimension' near Whanganui

On this block it takes a month to cut down a tree, six months to build a garden bed, and two years to plant avocados, all to save money, effort, & time.

A passion for destroying moth plant has spread far and wide

A crusade against the noxious vine has grown from one to a thousand-strong team.

Tasks for the vegetable garden and orchard this August

It may still be chilly, but spring produce is just around the corner.

The easy way to create ‘rooms’ in your garden

It helps if you have a big budget and a team of landscapers, but there are easy ways to create classic 'rooms' in your garden.

A rare herd of cuddly-looking giants near Taupo

They look quite cuddly, and they're roaming on a farm near Taupo, but farming them isn't for the fainthearted.

A guide to biosecurity on your lifestyle block or farm

Good biosecurity will save you money and heartache.

4 steps to pruning an apple tree

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

Transforming a 14ha block into a cute-as-a-button retreat

A block in Raglan that started with very few prospects is now one of the most wish-listed places to stay on Airbnb.

The dirt on planting fruit trees correctly

A strong, healthy fruit tree starts with the right kind of hole.

5 quick tips for gardening this July

The garden may seem to dull in winter, but there are still a few tasks to be done.

Why every driveway needs a tractor with the right blade

Even a well-designed driveway needs regular maintenance, and there’s one accessory that will help it make the grade.

19 great fruit trees to plant this winter

Gardening teacher and landscaper Kath Irvine shares her favourite fruit tree varieties. Fruit trees must tick three boxes — delicious, hardy and reliable.

A beginner's guide to growing inside

What to think about if you’re buying a greenhouse for the first time.

3 secrets to getting the best from cabbage trees

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

11 crops to plant this winter

As Jack Frost arrives, the harvest of fresh fruit and veggies slows down. But there are several stalwarts that survive the cold, and it’s the ideal time to plant fruit trees.

Onion talk: Tips for planting alliums

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

How to bring on the winter veggies this June

The time has come to get winter-ready — here's what you need for a continuous supply.

Going off-grid and mortgage-free in King Country

A family committed to a self-sufficient way of life have quickly turned an untamed block into a productive homestead.

The feel-good benefits of a communal farm

Common Property still operates with the purpose of giving access to land to those who couldn't afford their own. This is what we can learn from their community-oriented initiative.

9 tips to building a good wood stack

Gathering firewood is one of those jobs best done year-round, so you always have a dry, well-seasoned supply.

The best way to be zero waste on a block

Waste from your block is actually quite the opposite to its name — here's how to make the most of its value.

Top 10 veggie crops for city gardeners

These veggies are excellent for small gardens.

The ultimate guide to designing your dream orchard

The basics of creating a productive orchard, and the design tricks that will keep it that way.

8 things 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. You won’t meet anyone who loves them more than hazel researcher and grower Murray Redpath.

Why these growers share 11ha for the common good

Many would-be growers can't afford their own land, but on this block, a little common sense creates business opportunities.

10 tips to drying firewood in just 6 weeks

Get the basics right, and you can have perfect firewood in as little as six weeks.

7 ways to fight a varroa infestation

There are several ways you can treat a hive to reduce varroa mite populations.

What to dig up, plant and prepare this May

It's time to put the final touches on your cold-tolerant garden.

How to brighten up your winter garden

Gardens can lose their colour in May, but there are ways to brighten things up.

How to plant a forest and receive funding for it

Mass planting expert Rachel Rose reveals the different funding options available and the secret to planting a good forest.

Explore the country's most extraordinary tree collection

The planting layout of the country’s national arboretum, Eastwoodhill, near Gisborne, is undergoing a reshuffle to a 100-year plan.

An unused car park becomes an urban market garden

A former fine-arts student finds his muse in providing Aucklanders with organic produce.

An expert reveals the best trees to grow and the ones to avoid

Rachel Rose has helped to plant almost 5000 trees in the past two years. These are the best trees to grow and ones to avoid.

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.

Thinking about importing seeds? Here's what you should know

Buying seeds from overseas can cost you and New Zealand a pretty bad penny.

Why you should keep an eye on your chooks' poo

Poo is a useful indicator of flock health, and a possible early warning sign of an illness if you know good poo from bad.

What to sow and plant this April

It's time to get your cool-weather veggies into the ground.

How to grow pomegranates from seed

Pomegranates can be grown from seed, but you need to be patient.

A 'gin garden' brimming with gin-worthy botanicals

When two artisan gin-makers wanted to source the best organic botanicals, they created a very special garden.

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.

Thinking of restoring a wetland? Here's what you should know

Learn from those who've done it on how to repair and restore a past wetland that can help save the world from climate change.

Trees with the highest pollen count

An easy guide to understanding the pollen value of plants.

8 tiny homes around the country

Dreaming of living in a tiny home? From refurnished boats in Whanganui to views of the Auckland skyline, the space is small but the ideas are bigger than ever.

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.

2 quince recipes: Quince paste and quince chutney

It’s completely inedible when raw and dangerous to cut up, with a heady, perfumed scent that is completely at odds with its appearance. Sound like your kind of fruit?

Nadia Lim's tips for collecting and storing seeds

Many plants, such as heirloom varieties, produce seeds that can be collected one year and sown the next, ensuring they are saved for future generations.

A guide to wetlands in NZ from an expert

If you’re dealing with a paddock that’s a boggy mess in winter, it was probably once a wetland.

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.

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.

10 tips for gardening in March

With the ground still warm from the hot months, autumn is the perfect time for planting.

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?

A guide to being a good country neighbour

Understanding rural etiquette can make for a more peaceful life on the block.

How to time your pear harvest perfectly

Nothing beats the melting succulence of a fresh, ripe, well-grown pear.

How to get the most from a fig tree

An expert grower explains why some fig trees just don't grow fruit.

Is this the secret to productive farming?

Research is showing that the biodiversity of your land is more important than ever.

Dreaming of a living wall? Here are the basics to know

Whether it's for a dose of native foliage or to hide an unsightly fence, livings walls can be a fun (and surprisingly easy) way to flex your green fingers.

12 dos & don’ts of being a good country neighbour

Getting along with your neighbours can make country life that bit more special.

Wisdom from a couple with a certified organic block

After almost 30 years on their block, this Ohoka couple are brimming with wisdom for wannabe block owners.

8 summer tasks for the flower garden

Fresh flowers will make the transition into the colder seasons much more do-able.

Why you should consider letting your lawn go wild

Life's too short to be fussy over a lawn, it's time to let nature take its course.

How a squashed tomato sowed a growing love affair

Food writer Kristina Jensen celebrates a special couple and their favourite tomato.

9 expert tips for February gardening

No amount of heat can stop one's dedication to the garden.

They left their jobs to become mushroom growers

Two management consultants have exchanged the corporate world for a country life dedicated to sharing the joy of mushrooms.

10+ tips and tricks to creating a great outdoor space

The newest 'room' of your house could be right outside your door. Here's what to think about when you're creating the ultimate outdoor space.

5 cool-weather crops to start readying before autumn

Start sowing and planting these crops before cooler weather sets in.

How to avoid these three common pasture mistakes

Learn from the mistakes of long-time block owners and use their lessons to your advantage.

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.

How to grow the unsung hero of the veggie garden

There's one key to growing a good leek crop, and Jenny finally feels the love.

What to do in the garden this January

Keep a watchful eye on the garden as the summer heat ramps up.

This little plant grows in the hottest conditions

The summer sizzle is on its way, and these under-utilised plants love it.

A block owner's guide to summer sleepouts

If you want extra beds for summer guests, a simple sleepout may be the ideal solution.

The couple bringing fun to the mushroom business

A 2 billion year old organism is the hot new food trend, and a gourmet business opportunity.

Creative ways with succulents

Succulents are a beautiful business plan if you enjoy some simple DIY and a little creativity.

6 mallow species to look out for on your block

These common weeds compete for more desirable species such as ryegrass and clover.

Nadia's guide to growing beautiful tomatoes

There's nothing quite like biting into a homegrown tomato.

The ultimate guide for growing dill

Dill is often confused with fennel, but if you love to cook, you need to know the difference.

11 tasks for the early summer garden

Pop these seeds on your next shopping list — summer's the perfect time to get sowing.

DIY Project: An artistic climbing frame for plants

A practical climbing frame for plants can double as art for the garden.

The Toyota that stole her heart and joined her down the aisle

Kellie Hollingsworth wasn’t interested in cars, let alone restoring them. But then a shabby old Toyota stole her heart.

Why is gardening so good for the soul?

Gardeners know growing plants is great for your health, and now science is showing us some of the reasons why.

7 ways to fight New Zealand weeds organically

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.

How to grow your own bath sponge

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

How to feed your poultry at every life stage

The happy, healthy chicken diets you need to feed your poultry for every age.

8 plants to grow for protein

These plants are an easy source of nutritious protein and can be grown in most parts of the country.

10 ways to encourage your kids to garden

Gardening is a fun activity for kids, and a great way to get them interested in eating vegetables.

This couple grew an eco-house and co-housing village

Richard Thompson and Laurel Stowell have grown their dream home, and a village to go with it.

Everything to sow and plant this November

Now is the time to sow to reap the benefits this summer.

A vision to clear pest vines spreads across Golden Bay

Banana-passion vines stand no chance against a Golden Bay man’s infectious vision.

Why you're having problems growing shiitake

These gourmet mushrooms can cost you around $60 per kilogram, or you can grab your chainsaw and grow them yourself.

How to grow delicious courgettes

Sow your courgette seeds now for a fruitful summer harvest.

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.

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.

A glorious six-star garden inspired by England

Nature gets away with quite a bit in this otherwise formal country garden.

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.

25 lessons from a long-time gardener

Gardens are great teachers, and Jenny Somervell’s has taught her a lot. She shares her key lessons, sometimes learned the hard way.

6 things to check on your tractor this spring

What to do before you fire up the tractor for spring.

10 hands-on tasks for a blooming flower garden this summer

Kick off the flower garden by sowing annuals and planting tubers this October.

A quick-and-easy gardening guide for October

Add these seeds to your shopping list before heading to the garden centre.

14 tips for getting a great asparagus crop

Planting asparagus crowns all comes down to technique.

5 important things to know about growing grass

Growing good quantities of quality grass doesn’t take a science degree or a large investment, but it does require care and common sense.

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.


Transforming a steep, wet block with earthworks

When you have enormous amounts of water moving over your block, good earthworks keep everything calm.

Earthworks 101: Transforming a block with a digger

A beginner’s guide to hiring a digging contractor.

Confessions of a Horowhenua yuzu grower

You don't eat the fruit, they have little or no juice, and the tree may grab you and never let go. Meet the amazing yuzu.

4 tips for growing broad beans

There’s just one bean that can survive the worst of winter and can be planted through spring.

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.

This herb is the best substitute for cucumber

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

Protecting Tasman Bay with fun, hands-on education

A Nelson-Tasman conservation group encourages its youngest generation to love and protect a 120-kilometre coastline.

How to grow wasabi in New Zealand

Fresh wasabi is a hot pick for the patient gardener.

Spring gardening: What to grow, sow and keep safe indoors

Empty those winter beds and get started with (carefully selected) warm-weather crops.

Zooming in: Beauty therapist teaches confidence from her new rural home

A beauty therapist loves her new rural life while keeping up her work for a good cause.

The secret to growing nutrient-rich food

The best way to increase the nutrients in the food you grow means a fundamental change in how you work in your garden, using some very special crops.

A harvest in 7- 14 days: A step-by-step guide to growing microgreens

Microgreens provide fast-growing, highly nutritious mouthfuls of goodness.

10 late-winter tasks for the farm

Keep an eye on the pasture and young livestock as the weather starts to warm up.

Why growing a food forest can be trickier than you think

Imitating nature to grow food seems like a good idea but creating a thriving food forest can be tricky.

How to kick off the veggie garden this August

It's time to start sowing a plentiful veggie garden.

7 things that make winter on a block easier

Good equipment saves you time and money.

A classical garden in the middle of wine country

Mythological creatures live harmoniously in a fun-but-formal Italianate garden created by a pillar of the community.

This indoor jungle started with a cheap bundle of houseplants

Huw Evans bought a bundle of houseplants from Trade Me. They’ve grown into a passion that’s taking over his home, inside and out.

Explore the edible jungle in the middle of dairy country

Thirty-three years ago, Hawi and Susann Winter decided to create a jungle of the most delicious kind.

The Auckland couple transform dried flowers into beautiful floral artworks

To cement their partnership, Antonia de Vere and Mark Seeney got married. Now they combine their talents in one very creative business, Markantonia

The best spots to plant fruit trees

Use data from a basemap to find the best places for fruit trees.

Cool-weather tasks to tick off in the garden

Don't let chilly weather stall progress in the garden.

How to get a berry patch started this winter

It's a berry good time of year to plant these varieties in the backyard.

How to plant and prune deciduous fruit trees

While cutting back a tree may seem counter-intuitive, pruning is an essential step to promote a fruitful harvest.

8 good reasons to chop down a tree

The best time to plant a tree is always today, but when it’s best to chop one down takes more consideration.

6 tips for composting in winter

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

3 ways to fix a bad driveway

Many country driveways will worsen as they erode with use and time. Here's how to fix the most common problems.

8 tasks for the flower garden in June

Choose winter bloomers to add a pop of colour to your garden.

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.

Transforming a dry block into a food forest and off-grid nursery

Twelve years ago, an enterprising couple started creating a permaculture food forest and perennial farm on a dusty, bare block in a dry Hawke’s Bay valley. Today, it’s unrecognisable.

growing garlic

7 gardening tasks for June: Plant garlic, feed leafy crops

Make the most of the chilly weather by growing hardy, nutritious crops.

How to grow mushrooms at home using a fungi spawn kit

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


A couple's decades-long mission to save heritage seeds and fruit trees

Kay Baxter and her family faced the biggest challenge of their lives in their quest to save New Zealand’s heritage seeds and fruit trees.

Explore Clachanburn Station through the seasons

Creating a Garden of National Significance in the remote foothills of inland Otago with its extreme climate and heavy clay soil takes a body of strong bones, a will of iron and a soul of magic.

Growing Mexican limes in New Zealand

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

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 reap the many health benefits from mushrooms

Mushrooms are so much more than their tasty flavour.

Why New Zealanders are not natural-born mushroom foragers

Mushroom foraging can be dangerous even in the age of Google.

4 types of apple that every orchard needs

Plant the right trees and you can enjoy the amazing flavour of heritage apples for most of the year.

6 ways to use seaweed on your garden

Very few things in life are free, but a wonderful garden resource is lying around, going to waste, and it will only cost you a trip to the beach.

10 farming tips for late autumn

Prepare the paddock and animals for wetter, coolor weather.

3 tips for planting a tricky slope

A little ingenuity and the right plants can help you overcome one of the biggest landscape challenges, the awkward slope.

16 feijoa varieties to plant for your ideal harvest time

Plan your feijoa season ahead of time by selecting the ideal variety for your garden.

How to give the garden a boost with autumn leaves

Use autumn leaves to supercharge garden soil.

Read our digital edition of NZ Lifestyle Block May 2020

If you’re a current subscriber to NZ Lifestyle Block, this digital edition is yours to keep and read forever.

4 hearty winter vegetables to grow in pots

Some well-placed pots can bring a cold-weather harvest to any small garden.

7 gardening tasks for a bountiful (and beautiful) winter

It's time to get ahead of your cold-weather harvest and flower garden.

Have you heard of these unusual edible perennials?

In just 12 years, permaculture gardeners Jo and Aaron Duff have transformed a dusty, bare block into a perennial food forest including some unusual edibles you might never have heard of.

This Wairarapa woman transforms her garden into a living church

A creative woman on a beautiful farm branched out beyond her flower-free, well-hedged garden to plant herself a business. It’s growing divinely.

5 orchard lessons from a fruit-poor orchardist

This time of year should bring bountiful fruit, but not in this orchard.

9 ways to add nutrition to your meals with microgreens

Microgreens are an easy way to add homegrown nutrition to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

"Growing food and helping others is inspiring to me”

Shannon Wright has turned a passion for nutrient-rich food into a growing business of goodness.

What to sow, plant and prune in the garden this April

It's time to start sowing cool-weather crops.

12 breathtaking views from high-country stations and farms around New Zealand

Whether it's sunshine slicing through snow-capped mountains or sheep trundling down a hillside, there's an undeniable magic to the rural corners and peaks of New Zealand.

4 things to know about rural fires

Being 'fire aware' can make all the difference for protecting your property.

What your soil is trying to tell you

March is a good time to do soil testing, and apply fertiliser and lime. But do you know what your soil is telling you?

The benefits of hosting volunteers on your block

Volunteer schemes are not a way to get things done for free around your block, but Sheryn has still found it very profitable.

March gardening checklist: Plant broccoli seedlings, add compost to soil

Plant plenty of cruciferous seedlings now for an abundant winter harvest.

7 garden tips for bountiful winter harvest

Growing an abundance of fresh food during winter may sound difficult, but it is possible, even in colder regions.

A New Plymouth gardener profits from his 1000sqm veggie patch

On a block this small, this New Plymouth gardener only grows the most efficient vegetables for his bottom line.

10+ tips for making a profit off your lifestyle block

Can you make a living from your lifestyle block? Give up your day job and lead the good life? Yes. But.

10+ lessons from the worst forest fires in NZ

In the soot-covered aftermath of the Nelson fires, we look at how lifestyle block owners can best avoid the ravages of fire.

How this couple turned their block into a small-scale market garden

When red-hot chilli fans Steve and Anne Corkran got burned by big business marketplaces, they decided to go direct to their customers and turned their block into a thriving market garden.

20+ things you need to know if you're on tank water during a drought

Forecast rain might be a welcome relief for tank water users across the parched North Island, but now they should be wary of contamination.

A couple turns their berry-pickin' hobby into a 6-ha blueberry orchard

What was once a silly dream has been whipped into a business churning out refreshing blues.

This is the pungent secret to Mexican cooking

A pungent herb with a unique flavour is the secret green in Mexican cuisine.

How to keep your flowers blooming through summer and beyond

Careful planning can keep the garden colourful for another year.

7 gardening tasks for February: Harvest herbs, sow swedes and turnips

Gardening never stops — especially in the height of summer.

4 ways to know if you’ve made good biochar

It’s easy to identify high-quality biochar.

How to deal with an abundant elderberry harvest

The problem with this invasive weed is that it's so delicious.

How Crete beans made their way to NZ in the name of love

Every seed has a story, and some are sown with love.

Michael Van de Elzen returns to his rural roots with a lifestyle block in Muriwai

Chef Michael Van de Elzen is creating a block where everything is grown and cooked from scratch.

Why your block needs some dock

Research shows a small dock population can do animals good.

Why you should harvest fennel pollen (and how to do it)

One foodie describes it as the spice an angel would sprinkle from its wings.

9 garden tips for January: Protect tomatoes, sow beetroot

Keep the garden cool and moist is just the beginning this summer.

The challenges of making NZ predator-free

Are wild deer and cats pests? A new report says getting people to agree on what biodiversity is, and how to control pests is going to be critical if NZ is to be predator-free.

Meet the caretakers of a historic DOC farm in remote Northland

A family which counts itself lucky to be the keepers of a DOC farm in an unspoiled coastal wilderness shares it every summer with holiday campers.

One big reason not to touch your pōhutukawa this summer

Some of New Zealand’s most famous trees are at enormous risk but there’s one simple thing you can do to help them this summer.

A couple's horse and mountain-biking trail oasis in Rotorua

He’s into his bikes; she’s into her horses. This Rotorua couple makes a living out of their hobbies.

Is this the super berry of the future?

They’re the colour of a blueberry, have the sweetest name, and some of NZ’s most experienced croppers are hoping they’ll be an exciting new superfood for NZ gardeners and growers.

6 summer gardening tasks: Feed tomatoes, keep celery hydrated

Water, liquid fertiliser and sun are the key ingredients to a fruitful late summer harvest.

The lowdown on loquats (hint: they're great in cobbler)

Often unappreciated, loquats are pure gold and make delicious jam.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

How to make an easy seaweed garden spray

Seaweed is full of nutrition, both for you and your garden. Warning: may be stinky.

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.

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.

waitakere jason duff kauri

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 leaching on farm new zealand

Nitrogen 101: 4 ways to reduce nitrogen on your block

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

3 delicious ways to use up a peach glut

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

Endive salad green

5 leafy greens to plant in March

If you love salads, there are some great leafy options to sow and enjoy this autumn, and one has a sweet little bonus.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Growing guide: Cranberries and NZ Cranberries

New Zealand cranberries can be planted any time of year and are best eaten fresh and fully ripe.

From backyard hobby to blooming business

A novice gardener's flower growing efforts have bloomed into a home-based business.

Why you should plant round cucumber varieties

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.

8 tips to growing great rhubarb

Give your tastebuds a treat and plant rhubarb. This herbaceous perennial grows in all parts of the country, including cool spots, for much of the year. It dies back in winter and re-emerges in spring, once the weather has warmed up.

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.

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.



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 (or maybe not) for your garden

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 best leafy green you can grow this winter

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

How to espalier fruit trees

Winter is a good time to start an espaliered fruit tree. However, some trees adapt better to espalier than others.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Guava growing in New Zealand

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

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.

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.

Secrets to growing olives in cold weather

There’s a great way to grow olive trees even when your place gets really cold.

25 tips to protect your block from fire

When you live on a lifestyle block you face a higher risk from fire than people who live in a town or city.

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

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.

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.

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: How to make 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.

4 unusual forage foods

Foraging for wild food is fun and satisfying, but when you stumble across mysterious morsels on your own land, it’s even more satisfying.

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.

Animals set to steal the show at Heroic Festival

A colourful Auckland family with a motley crew of animals are opening their garden gate for the Heroic Garden Festival.

6 keys to tomato-growing success

Growing tomato growing is easy even if you don’t have much space – they thrive in containers, buckets, bags or even sacks.

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.

Grow wild strawberries

Alpine strawberries are quite easy to grow, and very hardy in marginal lands, like shady forests and snowy alpine hillsides.

Is there a secret income growing in your garden?

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

'Things we learned installing our composting toilets'

When the owner-builders of one of New Zealand’s first hemp homes decided they also wanted to their toilet to have green credentials, they had to battle to get the loo of their dreams.

The veggie that helps break the sugar habit

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

soil biology

8 facts you need to know about soil

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

The 10 best lettuces for a 365-day salad supply

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

8 spring pasture tips

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

The 7 common reasons why a septic tank fails

It’s estimated that more than 40,000 of the 270,000 or so on-site domestic wastewater systems in NZ are at risk of failing.

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.

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.

Animals in your orchard

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

10 plus trees for fire resistant shelter belts

Climate change research predicts that Canterbury and other rural areas in NZ will be hotter, drier places in the next few decades. Vegetation to prevent the spread of fire will become an important factor for many country properties.

6 ways lifestyle blocks pollute water ways - and how you can change

It is a matter of the tragedy of the commons that we as small land-holders are individually powerless to make any difference in the declining state of the water quality of our local streams, rivers and lakes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

NZ's plant flammability test

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

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.

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

How to design a home orchard

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

Drying firewood

5 tips to drying firewood

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

8 tips to having a great WWOOF experience

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

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.

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.

Tips for planting flower bulbs for spring

Flower bulbs need to be planted now so they are ready to burst into flower at the right time. Here’s how to get the best results.

5 great shade tree options

If your animals suffered in the heat of summer, now is a great time to plan a plantation of shade trees.

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.

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.

5 medical uses of plants in a survival situation

Many of our current pharmaceutical products stem from the beneficial properties first identified in wild plants.

10 great ideas from a top New Zealand barn

A small obsession with old barns played a big part in the design of this award-winning home. Follow Tane's tips to get the look.

7 weeds you didn't know were good for you

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

When is a peach a plum?

Peacherines and nectarines are peach-plum crosses, but there's some debate as to whether they are the same thing.

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.

Why pumpkins are the new superfood

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

An ode to nikau palms

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

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.

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.

Can you grow juniper berries in NZ?

Juniper berries aren't typically found in your average kitchen, but this exotic fruit offers a flavour that jumps out at you and can add that extra punch needed to spice up a dish.

22 lessons in running a farmers’ market stand

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

Garden work for November

As the weather starts to warm up, it is prime time to start sprouting flowers, fruit, vegetables, and herbs in your home garden.

This bad bug sounds the alarm about your water

E. coli is generally thought of as baddie in your water that makes you sick, but it’s actually doing you a favour.

Leading the way in eco tourism

Featuring New Zealand's largest earthbag buildings, tipis, a permaculture garden and solar energy, Raglan's Solscape eco-camp is leading the way in sustainable tourism.

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.

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 in tackling it will be diligence.

A beginner's guide to becoming certified organic

Organic farms make up just a fraction of New Zealand's total farmland, but there's big potential.

Prosperity through permaculture

This enterprising couple don’t just want to create a green future for their family – they want to create a sustainable lifestyle for their whole community.

5 fencing jobs you can do yourself

Anyone can build a fence, but it's a science and an art to build a good quality fence.

Innovation driving success at watercress farm

A gravity driven watering system is just one of the innovations in use at an organic watercress farm in Raglan.

How do you like them heirloom apples?

An orchard of organic heritage apples, plums and pears is proving an educational experience for its owners and their community.

Grow your own sweetener

To be truly self-sufficient, especially in colder climates, you may think you have to give up sugar, but that’s not the case.

Sheep hard at work at organic winery

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

Garden tasks for September

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

2 natives that you don’t want to mess with

You may think of all natives as friendly plants, but two common ones have a deadly secret.

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.

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.


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?

Hukerenui School

How a school is making a profit from the land

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

construction equipment

Essential safety gear for DIY enthusiasts

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

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.


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.

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

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

rabbit in mobile hutch to eat weeds

5 organic ways to weed

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

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.


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 you must consider before buying a lifestyle block

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

Things to do in the garden in May

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

13 things to know about growing rhubarb

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

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.


From a crop of potatoes to a booming enterprise

Starting with a single crop of potatoes, a Gisborne farmer has created one of New Zealand's largest and most innovative horticultural businesses.

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