Category Archives: Eco Thrifty Life

Farm Development

Kia ora friends, this is an update primarily for our past interns to show some of the infrastructure improvements we’ve made recently.

In order to comply with our resource consent we’ve added car parks at the top of the drive betwee n the market garden and the orchards. After doing that we decided to shift a shed up there to serve as a farm stand and tool storage closer to the market garden.

Coming down the drive at the bottom of the market garden is the homemade caravan that we built during Lock-Down last year.

Next is my favourite – the ‘Redneck BBQ’ – also building during Lock-Down.

The BBQ is located next to the outdoor dining space beside the house.

Topher is modeling the steps down to the pines that we also built during Lock-Down.

Recently we shifted the fence and gate along the upper farm track so that they are along the property boundary.

Just last week we put up deer netting next to the milking shed we built during Lock-Down so we can more easily manage the goats during milking or for other reasons.

We also shifted another fence line to allow easier access down the lower farm track.

Also last week we extended the wind netting for the avocado orchard in the valley.

Here are Topher and Baby and Luigi on the farm track below the manuka, flax, poplars and tree lucerne we planted five years ago.

Probably a few other things I’ve forgotten but that’ll do for an update. I’ll write a blog about the farm stand once it’s completed.

Addendum: I knew I would forget something(s). Below are the strawberry bed we built for Manu’s Lock-Down Birthday 5th April, 2020, as well as a tree fort I started during Lock-Down but finished last month with Manu’s help.

Peace, Estwing

9th Annual Permaculture Weekend: 11th-12th Sept.

Once again we are running the Whanganui Permaculture Weekend alongside The Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga

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

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. 

$70

Minimum numbers required for workshops to run.

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

The Resilient Farm Tour: 24th April

On Kaitiaki Farm we’ve spent the last six years developing strategies to ‘climate proof’ our farm against the extremes of both drought and flood. These include: protecting slopes; planting the riparian corridor; wetland restoration; soil improvement; integrated plant/animal systems; multiple approaches to water management; diverse income streams; and more. 

Because of a diversity of land forms, slope aspects and micro-climates Kaitiaki Farm is an ideal place to learn many different and holistic approaches to land management. It is a walk-through textbook in permaculture.

24th April, 1-5pm. $60

Registration essential: theecoschool@gmail.com

Tutor: Nelson Lebo has been practicing permaculture for over 20 years.

Act Locally – share globally

2021 is shaping up to be a good year for The ECO School and Kaitiaki Farm. We’ve always believed in sharing our work widely through hundreds of blog posts and making our programmes affordable.

In addition, we’ve often received good media attention and early 2021 is no exception; including two mini-docs about some of our programmes (see links below) as well as a cover story in NZ Lifestyle Block.

Better Ancestors series Episode 2: A Better Way to Educate – The ECO School part 1

Better Ancestors series Episode 3: Can Permaculture Thinking Save Our Future – The ECO School part 2

For anyone interested in learning more about our offerings we have a full schedule of programmes for 2021: https://ecothriftylife.com/2020/12/22/2021-workshop-schedule/

Kia Kaha, Estwing

The Resilient Farm Tour 24th April

Extremes of climate put pressure on farmers and food production worldwide that is only expected to increase.

On Kaitiaki Farm we’ve spent the last six years developing strategies to ‘climate proof’ our farm against the extremes of both drought and flood. These include: protecting slopes; planting the riparian corridor; wetland restoration; soil improvement; multiple approaches to water management; diverse income streams; and more.

Because of a diversity of land forms, slope aspects and micro-climates Kaitiaki Farm is an ideal place to learn many different and holistic approaches to land management. It is a walk-through textbook in permaculture.

24th April, 1-5pm. $65

Registration essential: theecoschool@gmail.com

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. 

Our primary interests lie in holistic land management, regenerative agriculture, market gardening, appropriate technology, renewable energy and human-scale solutions, as well as home building and renovation. 

New Year Permaculture Update

The farm is thriving as we enter 2021.

The 3,000+ trees we’ve planted have benefitted from recent summer rains, especially the stone and pip fruit orchard. Shown below are plums in the foreground and apples in the background.

Earlier this week we were gifted about 80 avocado, walnut and macadamia trees. We borrowed a friend’s van and took a day trip to Waikanae to collect them.

They’ve been placed in the back of the nursery for some TLC before being planted out. They join peach, oak, guava, fig, and olive saplings along with grape vines.

Meanwhile our avocado trees have set next season’s fruit while still hanging onto this season’s.

We’ve had an excellent garlic harvest this season and now it’s been hung to dry.

We’ll be selling organic seed garlic starting in April.

The goats are producing plenty of milk…

…and we’re making halloumi multiple times each week.

We’ve had two litters of piglets with another on the way.

Heaps of tomatoes, zucchinis, pumpkins and cucumbers in the ground but rabbits have eaten all of our beans and snap peas.

Lots more going on but to be honest I need to head out the door and get to work.

Peace, 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

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

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