All posts by Estwing

The Spice of Life

I’ve been growing garlic organically for two decades and this may have been the best harvest yet.

After a crop failure two years ago due to ‘rust’ I was considering giving up. But instead I made some alterations. Last years crop was small in quantity but huge in bulb size and amazing flavour.

This year was even better.

Here is a blog I wrote a number of years ago explaining some of my key strategies and techniques.

https://www.fix.com/blog/how-to-grow-garlic/https://www.fix.com/blog/how-to-grow-garlic/

The photo below is of three farm interns and our daughter taken four years ago.

We sell top quality organic seed garlic across New Zealand by post from April through July. Pre-orders welcome: theecoschool@gmail.com

Nga mihi, Estwing

2021 Workshop schedule

17th January: Reading the Landscape

Join us for a relaxed walk through the farm ‘reading’ what the land is telling us about soil, water, life and past events. How can this knowledge help us make the most of land restoration efforts?

3-4:30 pm. Bring boots and appropriate clothing. $20

14th February: Goats 101

Goat curious? This hands-on workshop explains what we have learned about keeping goats and the land healthy and productive. Includes diet, trimming hooves, worm management and milking.

2:30-4:30 pm. Includes milking and clipping hooves. $30

21st March: The Affordable Eco Home

This workshop covers key aspects of designing and building a new home in an urban or rural location including: orientation; energy performance; ventilation; windows & doors; insulation; minimising construction waste; designing for expansion; self-build options; waste water and composting toilets.

1:30-5:30 pm. Includes afternoon tea. $70

18th April: Building Garden Beds & Hot Composting

Less effort for a better result: this hands-on workshop explains how to build and manage low-maintenance vegetable beds, as well as a simple method for hot composting.

3-4:30 PM. Come prepared to get dirty. $20

24th April: The Resilient Farm Tour

Extremes of climate put pressure on farmers worldwide. This tour explains some steps we’ve taken to ‘climate proof’ our farm over the last seven years and the amazing results.

1-5 pm. $65

26th April: Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’ – POSTPONED

We’ve put together a list of some of the core components of a permaculture property and arranged a ‘Show & Tell’ walking tour. Topics include: no-dig gardening; potting bench and plant nursery; vertical growing & small spaces; preventing pests and diseases in fruit trees; best tools and how to use them (stirrup hoe; broad fork; scythe); hot composting; tree lucerne (Tagasaste); chicken tractors; browsing goats; creative reuse in building; outdoor kitchen including solar cooking, rocket stoves, and solar dehydrator. There will also be a discussion of our diverse income streams.

2-5 pm. $50

16th May: Two Gardening Workshops

Building Garden Beds

Less effort for a better result: this hands-on workshop explains how to build and manage low-maintenance vegetable beds.

2-3 pm. $10

Growing Great Garlic

We have been growing amazing organic garlic for two decades. This workshop explains how to ensure a great crop.

3-4:30 pm. With a free bulb of seed garlic and small bag of compost. $25

13th June: Sorting Through the Double Glazing Options

What are the pros and cons of each approach to double glazing and which is best for you? Don’t waste your money on the wrong options! This workshop is a must for anyone considering upgrading their windows and doors.

3-4:30 pm. $25

19th July: Eco-Thrifty Retrofit

What are the first and best investments to make to a home to improve comfort and health? This house tour identifies the ‘low-hanging fruit’ which provide the best return on investment as well as warn against wasting money on expensive marginally effective products.

5:30-7:30 pm. $40

August: TBD

6th-12th September: Festival of Adult Learning

Gardening, Fruit Tree Care, Composting, Bicycle Repair, and Healthy Home Workshops TBC

FREE

11th-12th September: 9th Annual Whanganui Permaculture Weekend

Farm Tour & Workshops including:

Permaculture ‘Show & Tell’ 

We’ve put together a list of some of the core components of a permaculture property and arranged a ‘Show & Tell’ walking tour. Topics include: no-dig gardening; potting bench and plant nursery; vertical growing & small spaces; preventing pests and diseases in fruit trees; best tools and how to use them (stirrup hoe; broad fork; scythe); hot composting; tree lucerne (Tagasaste); chicken tractors; browsing goats; creative reuse in building; outdoor kitchen including solar cooking, rocket stoves, and solar dehydrator. There will also be a discussion of our diverse income streams. 

$50 or couples for $80.

RetroSuburbia: A Whanganui Case Study

What are the best strategies to renovate an old home and an old section? This workshop covers the do’s and don’ts for home renovations as well as edible ‘foodscaping’ on suburban sections. 

$40 or couples for $70

Design & Build for High Performance Buildings.

This hands-on workshop will focus on the Five ‘Must Haves’ for building energy efficient new homes or cosy sleep-outs.

$40 or couples for $70

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

Registration and non-refundable deposit essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

Fruit Set

Although I’ve seen fewer bees on the farm this spring than usual the fruit set has been excellent. The weather has been relatively good for stone fruit and pip fruit and we especially welcome the rains forecast for this week pre-summer.

Below are a selection of plums, peaches, apples, pears, quinces, blueberries, grapes and of course lemons.

The featured image is Manu next to his lock-down Birthday Strawberry Bed!

Peace, Estwing

Friends of the Eco School

2021 Membership: Individual $40; Whanau $50

Benefits:

2021 Permaculture Calendar

Organic Garlic Bulb

Family-Friendly Farm Day – Registration Required.

20% Discount off Plants

20% Discount off Workshops

10% off Consultation Services: Permaculture Design; Healthy Homes; New Build; Home Renovation

Bi-monthly e-updates.

Plus every Membership funds a Scholarship to a Workshop for a Community Services Card holder!

Workshops:

Whenua

Building Beautiful (garden) Beds

Easy Tomatoes and Pumpkins

Growing Great Garlic

Fruit Tree Pruning Basics

DIY Chicken Tractor

Reading the Landscape

Organic Gardening Master Class

Intro to Permaculture

Goats 101

Whare

The Affordable Eco Home

Dealing with Damp Sections

Double Glazing DIY Options

Solar Cookers & Dehydrators and Rocket Stoves

Plants:

Seed garlic

Black Boy Peach trees

Tree Lucerne (Tagasaste)

Strawberry Guava

Albany Surprise Grape

Flax

Join today! theecoschool@gmail.com

WWOOFing at Kaitiaki Farm

Our PDC Internship is on hold for the time being but we are still keen to welcome helpers on the farm.

Kaitiaki Farm is a  5.1 hectare (13 acre) property located 4 km outside Whanganui, New Zealand. We operate as a mixed-use operation leveraging niche markets for annual crops, perennial crops, nursery trees and animals.

We are looking for help with: annual gardening; plant propagation; tree planting; animal care; fencing/building; more.

Contact: theecoschool@gmail.com

Equinox Permaculture Update

Kai ora koutou! What beautiful spring weather we have had the past three days!

The sunshine and warmth following recent rains have created the perfect conditions for new growth. Some signs of spring on our farm include: our black boy peach trees in full bloom;

last years peach stones beginning to germinate;

strawberries blossoming;

the broad beans not knocked over by the wind are flowering

Meanwhile our garlic is flourishing;

I have planted my early tomatoes;

and we have three new kid goats.

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend: 28th-29th November

After six years Kaitiaki Farm is thriving as a result of our regenerative practices . This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in holistic land management and eco design on one of New Zealand’s premier permaculture farms.

The weekend includes: farm tour; market gardening; fruit tree care; managing goats in a browse-based system; kune kune pigs in orchards; tractoring fowl in land management; climate-resilient farming; improving pasture health without heavy equipment or chemicals; stream corridor restoration; native plantings; water management; setting up a plant nursery; identifying niche markets; disease-resistant fruit trees; growing avocados in marginal conditions. Plus: solar cooking; rocket stoves;  important considerations about grey water and compost toilets; Building-Code compliant sleep-outs and tiny homes.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 4.35.17 pm

Kaitiaki Farm is a  5.1 hectare (13 acre) property located 4 km outside Whanganui, New Zealand. We operate as a mixed-use operation leveraging niche markets for annual crops, perennial crops, nursery trees and animals.

Saturday 28th November, 1 pm – Sunday 29th November, 4 pm. Meals included. (We can help find accommodation.)

$170 per person with all meals included.

Individual sessions are also available below. 

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 4.33.41 pm

Draft Schedule:

Saturday 28th Afternoon: 1 – 5 pm ($60)

Farm tour; climate-resilient farming; improving pasture health without heavy equipment or chemicals; stream corridor restoration; native plantings; working with your Regional Council; water management; managing goats in a browse-based system;

Sunday 29th Morning: 9 – 12 ($50)

Market gardening; fruit tree care; kune kune pigs in orchards; tractoring fowl in land management; setting up a plant nursery; identifying niche markets; disease-resistant fruit trees; growing avocados in marginal conditions.

Sunday 29th Afternoon: 12:30 – 4 pm ($50) Includes Solar Lunch.

Solar cooking; rocket stoves;  important considerations about grey water and compost toilets; Building-Code compliant sleep-outs and tiny homes.

Spaces are strictly limited. Registration essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

The Affordable Eco-Home: 21st March

Is it possible for a home to be both affordable and high-performance? Yes!

This workshop covers key aspects of designing and building a new home or renovating an existing home in an urban or rural location including: orientation; materials; energy performance; ventilation; windows & doors; insulation; self-build options; reusing materials; waste water and composting toilets.

Tutor: Nelson Lebo is a leader in NZ’s Healthy Homes movement. He has been featured on all major NZ media platforms including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, and the web.

Screen Shot 2020-02-03 at 5.05.35 pm

Sunday 21st March. 1:30-5:30 pm. Includes afternoon tea. $70

Registration essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

Hands-On Design Workshop

Immerse yourself in the permaculture design process as part of an innovative new housing development on former horse paddocks.

Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 5.58.08 am

Join us for a blank slate design exercise in the field. This workshop engages participants to consider environmental conditions, site factors and human needs to envision the development of a piece of land for multiple households in Aramoho/Papaiti, Whanganui.

Topics covered: sector analysis; zones; eco-home design; co-housing; shared infrastructure; water management; wastewater & compost toilets; bundling services; & more.

What is possible for an ambitious eco-development involving multiple households? Small groups will work on different possible developments and then present to the whole.

(*See continuing the conversation below.)

Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 5.57.58 am

POSTPONED – New Date to be Determined

Sunday 6th, 2-4:30 PM + optional social gathering*

$45 individuals or $70 couples. Registration essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

* Continue the conversation afterward with the project initiators at a local pub.

Screen Shot 2020-08-02 at 5.57.38 am

 

6 Years Hard Yakka

We’ve reached our 6th anniversary on the land so I had a wander the other morning to capture some of our progress. We’ve focused on a number of areas over this time, primarily on fencing and planting the stream and hillsides to prevent erosion and slips. These efforts have been documented thoroughly in this blog so feel free to scroll through previous posts.

We’ve also worked hard on establishing animal systems to enhance our land management. This too has been thoroughly documented.

Early on we established an orchard and harakeke wind break, but it’s hard to see the deciduous fruit trees in winter. In this image you can see guava and feijoa and olives and loquat.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 4.35.27 pm

And finally there are the market gardens, which went on the back burner when we were doing all of the above.

I am particularly proud of the avocado mounds with tagasaste nurse trees. Four of these five trees are fruiting and nearly ready to harvest. Yum.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 4.33.41 pm

Yet it continues…

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 4.35.37 pm

Peace, Estwing