Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Seed sieves

Just showing off a new toy from Crafty Gatherer. Thanks Tess and Marco.

It has made sorting seeds much easier.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Taro flower

These guys are beautiful. It is the first time they are flowering and they are all doing so profusely. They only last for a few days but for the last month there have been flowers non stop on all of our taro.

As they are the screening for our bathroom our whole bathroom smells sweet.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Working with royalty

It is very powerful to know you are an important part of a system.

This is a newly hatched Queen bumble bee in my garden. I have attempted to define the roles we play below.

She will; pollinate a few plants while she builds up her reserves for overwintering and then in early spring when out of dormancy, build up a brood of worker bees that will pollinate my garden all growing season.

I have made; nesting boxes for her 'mother' and then her to raise their brood, sure there are overwintering sites for her, made sure there are food sources available for her and her mother when they need to build reserves (early spring and autumn), sure of a diversity of food crops throughout the whole growing season to support the whole nest of workers, there is clean water and no pesticides or herbicides used.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

A touch of purple

In my sea of green Hyasynth bean vines provide a splash of colour. They ramble up trellises and fences.

The pods of the bean are not very nice to eat but the flowers have graced our salad bowls all summer and provide endless bee food.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Austrian Hulless pumpkins

Austrian Hulless pumpkins.
These guys are for seed alone and need to sit for a few weeks to 'cure' before I open them and dry the seeds for winter. I have started growing these again as I have a new garden now so can grow more variety and still save seed.

Monday, 12 February 2018


Just a snapshot some of the wooden spoons that have been made by family and friends lately.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018


Cloth bags are great for collecting, drying and processing seed. My greenhouse has lines of drying seed at this time of the year. It makes me feel full inside to know I have the strongest seed of my favorite plants ready for next year.

Seed saving is a true abundance. To be able to generate more and more seed each year (lines and quantity) means I can scatter them around my family, friends and community.

Who needs money bags. This is my security.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018


This has been a crazy caterpillar year!!

I think that the wet winter killed off a lot of our overwintering Queen wasps which then in turn have not been around to keep caterpillars in check. It is very different. 

I have noticed lots of moths and butterflies in my garden pollinating for me and there has been a late season explosion of ichnid wasps, Potters wasps and other solitary wasps who have been enjoying caterpillar feasts. I would much rather have these guys around than the Common and German wasps.

This is the pupa of the Convovulous Hawk moth that likes munching on Kumara, Convolvulus and all in that family. I have not noticed much damage on my Kumara so left this beauty to do its thing.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Water out

We now have all water outlets installed. Next job water in.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Gourd wall

Another unfolding.

This one is taking a life of its own as our climbing gourds and hyacinth beans grow up a bamboo trellis. The no-dig garden is shallow and it will be good to see how the plants cope over our hot summer.

This is an edible wall that will provide shade and privacy over summer when there will be more people using this place.

Saturday, 6 January 2018


I love the way three separate materials turn into one. Sand, pumice and
clay with a little stomping and then some rolling with a tarp makes a mix strong enough to make a wall.

This mix is one of the last that will be mortar for our toilet wall.

Ari and I spent the afternoon today putting up a few more layers of bricks.

Food forest

It is a food forest!!!

One of my criteria for a food forest is that they should give the workers (including me) food from the outset. Why else would you spend time there while you were waiting for the trees?

This will eventually be a guild of citrus.

In the meantime in the succession of things we will be eating pumpkin, tomatoes, chilli, sorrel, spring onions, mellow, dill, buckwheat, strawberries...........

There is also plenty on offer for the pollinators and co.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Corn flower

Early morning corn flower.

I love the miracle of corn. Each of these beautiful red hairs is the female pollen receptacle. The male flowers are at the top of the corn plant and the heavy pollen blows down to this female flower. Once each 'hair' catches a pollen grain it will then fertilize one kernel of corn.

Part of the beautiful dance that is corn.

This is my Popcorn that I have had for over 12 years.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Honey harvest

Harvest time.

If we harvest before Christmas we can be sure there will not be poisonous Tutin in our honey. This stuff can be eaten straight from the comb.

Passion vine hoppers suck the sap from the Tutin bush and then in turn bees harvest honeydew from the hoppers. This is especially true during hot summers so after Christmas all honey harvested needs to be tested.

As bees categorize nectar as they store it in their hives then Tutin honeydew can be  concentrated  in small areas of the comb. After Christmas comb honey is a no go.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Corn Understory

This year I planted a dense understory of Red Clover under my Kaanga Ma.

Because this is my sandy top garden I also sheet mulched the paths with long grass.

Two types of mulch to cover the soil, hold moisture and mix up the diversity of flora and fauna. I will keep an eye on the 'living mulch' and possibly turn it into sheet mulch as needed.

The edges of this bed are also planted out with beans and squash.

This garden is an isolation garden to keep some of my seed lines separate.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Corn is up

Corn is up.

Corn needs to be planted in blocks for good pollination. I usually plant four rows minimum. The inside of the beds are kept well mulched.

Thursday, 23 November 2017


Frogs in the pond are an indicator of life.

Life in that the land is healthy as they are very sensitive animals.

Life in that the weather is warming and I need to get a move on with summer plantings. When the frogs start singing every night I know it is time to strat planting straight into the warming soil.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Kumara beds

Succession at work.

This is my overwintered Kumara bed.

Mustard to clean the soil, feed early wakening pollinators and build up ladybird, parasitic wasp, and hoverfly populations.

Wheat for carbon rich mulch and mychorrizal connections.

Both to keep soil covered and keep weeds at bay.

Next step is to sythe the wheat, broadfork the soil, pull out wheat roots, plant tipu and then mulch with wheat tops. Done.

I only prep a bed when it is ready to plant.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Native hedge

Even though this hedge is in the middle of a busy area (Zone 2) there are no perennial edibles.

It is amazing how fully tuning into the context can give unexpected form. I think this space would have been totally different if I had not used Living Design to allow it to unfold.

This is to be a thick screen to stop eye contact between road and private space. It will be better without people harvesting or even looking for food. Some food plants have been used in the gardens succession but eventually is will be a garden nobody will notice as it supports the many happenings that take place around it.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Raspberry mulch

Rasberries like their mulch acidic. 

These guys were lucky enough to be planted on land that had been grazed holistically for years. I just loosend soil with a broadfork where we were going to plant each cane. Planted rasberries and a little comfrey and then sheet mulched with old fridge boxes an pine needles.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Tree protection

Spot the new trees.

This year we have planted, Almonds, Pine nuts, Walnuts, Oak, Hazel, Peach, and of course the Tagasaste, Alder, various Acacia as support species and loads of natives. (over 400)

As this area has sheep to keep the grass down we built tree guards out of brush. These should act as a mulch as well.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Apple Cider Vinegar

Just bottled up the 20 liters of Apple Cider Vinegar.
This was my first ever go. All I did was roughly chop the apples, cover with water and then leave for 6 months.
A great way to use up apple abundance and also get rid of one more plastic habit.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Australian bugs

Wow!! Just got home from a whirlwind 10 days in and around Castlemaine Australia. Talk about eco-shock. The landscape is so different than here.

Loud birds, wildflowers, gold, flying foxes, living design, kangaroos, milking goats, steam trains, Big city, gum trees, rocket ovens, markets..............

Am so grateful for the amazing people who shared how they are interacting with their landscape. I am now inspired and seriously kick starting my summer gardens.

Not to mention guilty for carbon......more trees to plant.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Bamboo fun

We have used all of our bamboo harvested from last year. The list of uses is extensive; bed slats, flute, garden fence, pegs, smoke bomb, scaffolding, tee pee poles, mason bee houses, garden stakes, trellis, berry frame, charcoal holders, spoons, cups, awning poles, tree stakes,......and the list goes on.

We will start harvesting over the next few weeks. Just before growing season to make sure the new culms get enough light and do not get damaged. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Entrance transition

I'm loving the path to the garden at the moment.

You transition off our drive under the Tagasaste (which is full of  Bees, Bellbirds and Kereru), past the Grapefruit,  over the drain and you feel there before you even open the gate.

The narrowing of the path (off the drive), preview of destination and sense of slowing down or arriving always invites me whether I am driving past, going to work or passing through to gather food for a meal.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Comfrey understory

This is my second load of comfrey plantings this month. The first was an understory in my citrus orchard and this is destined for a garden edge.

It is great how easily you can create a dense comfrey barrier by planing out root sections.

Bug houses

As small gardeners start awakening in spring I always try and keep one step ahead with nesting places.

This bug hotel is made especially for mason bees, potters wasps, ladybirds, and lace wings.

Next week I really need to make a few bumble bee nests.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017


One weeks growth!!

Our sheep never stay long and the grass just springs back. I love looking back down the paddock where they have been and seeing the growth.

I usually move them daily. If grass is grazed once and not too low it will grow back fast. My favorite feeling is that as it is growing it is pumping a large proportion of the energy it makes back into the soil. These root exudates feed the diverse range of micro organisms who then make nutrients available for the grasses growth. Magic!!!

I like to think this aliveness is helped by the diversity of my pasture and the long rotations that allow things to grow back strongly.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Finishing roof


Yay!! The roof is up. Talk about delays.

We stained all of the timer and then put up the clear light.
It is great having such a big dry outdoor space. As they say when building with earth 'good hat and good boots'. This should do the job.

Next week we will take down our wonderful bamboo scaffolding clear the sight and start on the wall design.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Compost trenches

A lot of my garden beds have trenches down the middle. These are filled with stalks from my carbon crops, and then seaweed, animal manure, wood ash, leaves, weeds............ depending on specific crop needs and what I have at hand.

In-situ composting that creates a diverse habitat for the many decomposers in my garden, feeds my plants and holds onto moisture.