Sow Resilience

Posted 5 years, 9 months ago    0 comments

Be resilient this year by sowing all sorts of different vegetables, and even trying something new. It could become your new favourite, which is what happened to us when we first grew crookneck squash (Cucurbita pepo) one hot dry summer…and had a bumper crop. We’ve sown crooknecks every spring since then, although if we have a damp, cool summer they sulk while other types of courgettes leap out of the ground. The weather can be unpredictable; it’s seldom a good year for everything, but it will be good year for something.

Our ebook, Growing Great Seedlings is now in paperback! From choosing seeds to making potting mix, transplanting and feeding, its all in here.
To celebrate, we have some copies available for just $18.00 each (pick up or $3 p&p within NZ). Email Clare if you’d like one.      

You can also buy Growing Great Seedlings in ebook, audiobook and paperback on Amazon


Pets in the garden

Posted 6 years, 2 months ago    0 comments

Pets are part of the family, so include them in your garden plans!

Have you ever wondered what makes a backyard beautiful…to your cat or your dog? After all, our 'best friends' often spend more time outdoors than we do. Putting a bit of thought into creating a garden that’s animal friendly will save frustration for pets and owners alike. Here are some design tips for an attractive garden that’s safe and fun for pets:

Grass   Keep it longer and thicker - a longer lawn copes better with toilet stops. Another benefit - you won’t have lawn prickles if grass is maintained around 10cm long. In hot weather a deep, soft lawn is much cooler for fur kids to lie on.

Planting   Create a natural barrier between dog and garden by planting the more robust species along garden edges, with softer plants on the inside. If possible, buy larger plants, these will withstand a bit of trampling from the start. A surprising list of garden plants are poisonous to pets (eg tomato), so do your research.

Edible grass   Grow a supply of fresh grass in pots (seeds for cat grass are available from Kings Seeds). Both cats and dogs will enjoy a chew.

Pesticides and herbicides   Most of these are highly toxic to cats and dogs and are easily absorbed through sensitive paws and noses. We recommend you avoid them if you’re concerned for the welfare and health of your pets. Your dog and cat will thank you!

Shade and shelter   Well sited hedges and trees regulate the temperature, clean and filter the air and absorb noise. Make sure there’s a spreading shade tree, cosy corners to curl up in and a safe hidey hole for a cat to peep out from.

Safety   Secure the compost, recycle and rubbish bins to prevent choking or poisoning (and mess!). Keep the cat inside at night for its own safety and to protect native birds and insects.

No go zone   Fence off the veggie garden if you can. Of course, a fence won’t stop the cat, but you could spread crop cover over vegetable beds to stop digging.

Fun and games    Dogs enjoy some shrubbery to fossick about in, and a perimeter to patrol. Establish a designated digging area in the garden. This could be a patch of loose soil or sand, tucked away out of sight. Cats feel safe and superior when they can keep watch from up on a flat-topped fence or post.

Special offer! 25% discount on GreenFootprint Garden Consultations for the month of April. Would you like your garden to be more pet friendly, sustainable and beautiful? contact me for professional garden advice. $150 incl. per one hour visit (includes written report). Travel costs apply outside Hamilton City. 





Wall of Life

Posted 6 years, 8 months ago    0 comments

Can you ‘grow your own’ retaining wall?

Every slope is different. There are situations when an engineered retaining wall is required. Other times we find that a living, green retaining wall of native plants looks great and works beautifully.

It’s all about choosing a diverse range of plants that are self sustaining while needing minimal maintenance. Fast growing, short lived native plants are fine, as long as their replacements (the next stage) are planted at the same time. Ideally, there will be two layers of plants growing under a dense upper canopy: that’s 3 layers of plants between sky and soil.

Email us if you'd like to know more. 

Wonderful Winter

Posted 6 years, 9 months ago    0 comments

An hour’s gardening in August is worth three hours gardening in November. We love winter: soft soil, weak weeds, a steaming compost heap..


Fantastic Ferns

Posted 6 years, 10 months ago    0 comments

Ferns are so useful and lovable; they manage to look architectural, ethereal, and Jurassic all at the same time. And most backyards can find room for a fern garden, because all they ask is a cool shady zone that is out of direct sunlight.

If you didn't catch our recent article on cultivating ferns, read online here or email us for a copy.



Dig In

Posted 6 years, 11 months ago    0 comments

Winter downpours give gardens a real hammering, because heavy rainfall can wash away our most precious resource - topsoil.

Busy earthworms and microbes are vital to healthy topsoil. They make humus, the amazing sticky substance which binds the soil together and helps hold water and nutrients. Between now and spring, take a few steps to protect and feed the soil:

  • Shake all the soil off the roots when you're pulling out weeds and crops, or better still, dig them back in.
  • Sow a cover crop (such as buckwheat). A cover crop doesn't just protect the soil from erosion, it's a living carpet which adds nutrients and suppresses weeds.
  • Spread woodchip mulch to feed hungry microbes and kick start the humus factory.

Compost fundraiser

Posted 7 years, 1 month ago    0 comments

Feed your garden with locally made organic compost and support OrganicFarmNZ's local organic certification programme

          Top quality unscreened compost made from tree chippings. This batch is well rotted after almost a year, still warm and starting to develop white fungal threads. Manufactured at Goodwood by local microbes

cost: 1 cubic metre $50.00 plus delivery

Pick up by appointment, courtesy trailers available (1 and 4 cubic m)
Minimum order: half a cubic metre $30

to place an order, please email or phone 0211035755

20% of compost price will be donated to OrganicFarmNZ Waikato to support organic certification and education in our region



Hedge fun

Posted 7 years, 1 month ago    0 comments

Hedges are versatile, beautiful, sustainable, fashionable..and a big investment. Do you want edible, native or evergreen? Tall or short?

In this photo we're planting a hedge of totara (Podocarpus totara). Totara is slower to establish and a little prickly, but makes a nice thick hedge and depending on the cultivar you choose, comes in tones of green, yellow or even blue. Read our other picks for great 'living walls’ and tips for keeping them in shape here or email for a copy.

More Recent Posts

Don't make me sick

Love Plums

Wriggly Worms

A Seat at the Table

Enough for Everyone

Good Foundations

Winning Weeds

Spring Growth

Oranges and Lemons

Sunshine in a Bottle

Love Your Lawn

Putting Down Roots

Tracking Nicely

What's Hot and What's Rot

The Gardeners of Tomorrow

Pick and Mix

Memorable Plants of 2015

Sustainable Swimming Pools

Abundant Backyard

A Green Room


Green and Serene

Planting Time is Watering Time

Listen While You Garden