Tag Archives: permaculture

Read All About It

Over the last few years I’ve been blogging less and writing for publication more. Below are some of those articles about our holistic approach for farming and home renovation that are available online:

https://www.buildmagazine.org.nz/articles/show/from-tent-to-toasty-home

Peace, Estwing

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon: Farm Tour of Gardens, Intensive Orchards, & Farm Buildings (Permaculture Zones 1-2). Includes integrating farm foul into fruit & veg production and what are the best tools to use for low-input/high performance systems.

Sunday morning: Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Sunday afternoon: Eco Design/Build for Sleep Outs, Tiny Homes, Minor Dwellings. Includes passive solar design, ‘super-wall’, retrofit double-glazing, building code changes, wastewater compliance, compost toilets.

Choose any combination: $50 each or $130 for all. (Couples $240)

Meals and accommodation also available – please enquire.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Programmes @ Kaitiaki Farm

2022 Workshop Schedule

Best Options for Home Renovation
22nd May, 1 – 4. $50
This workshop covers the most cost effective choices to manage moisture and warmth in NZ homes. Topics include: glazing options; insulation levels; appropriate ventilation; subfloor moisture; best curtains and blinds; heating and cooling; moving warmth around a home. 

Building Garden Beds Workshop

June 12th, 2-3. $15

Work smarter not harder making and maintaining fabulous no-dig garden beds. 

Growing Garlic Workshop.

June 12th, 3-4 pm. $20 (Comes with a bulb of seed garlic)

Learn a time-tested method for growing amazing garlic from a true vampire slayer. 

Best Options for Home Renovation
July 3rd, 1 – 4. $50
This workshop covers the most cost effective choices to manage moisture and warmth in NZ homes. Topics include: glazing options; insulation levels; appropriate ventilation; subfloor moisture; best curtains and blinds; heating and cooling; moving warmth around a home. 

Hands-On with Poplar Poles

July 10th, 1-3 pm. $20

Get familiar with poplar poles. Hands-on workshop planting poplar poles to reduce erosion on hillsides and build a more climate-resilient property.

Hands-On with Gorse

July 17th, 1-3 pm. $20

Hands-on workshop on strategies for thoughtfully managing gorse.

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon: Farm Tour of Gardens, Intensive Orchards, & Farm Buildings (Permaculture Zones 1-2). Includes integrating farm foul into fruit & veg production and what are the best tools to use for low-input/high performance systems.

Sunday morning: Farm Tour of Paddocks and Hillsides, Non-Intensive Orchards, Stream Restoration, Bush Restoration, and Browse Block (Permaculture Zones 3-5). Includes water management, preventing slips, managing gorse, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Sunday afternoon: Eco Design/Build for Sleep Outs, Tiny Homes, Minor Dwellings. Includes passive solar design, ‘super-wall’, retrofit double-glazing, building code changes, wastewater compliance, compost toilets.

Choose any combination: $50 each or $130 for all. (Couples $240)

Meals and accommodation also available – please enquire.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Permaculture Design Certificate Internship

11th October, 8 weeks.

Details here: http://www.theecoschool.net/workstudy-permaculture-design-certificate.html

Building Your Building Skills

November TBD

Permaculture Design Certificate

January, 2023, Dates TBD

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

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

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

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.

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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. 

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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

Hands-On Design Workshop

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Yet it continues…

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Peace, Estwing

RetroSuburbia in New Zealand

20-20 Hindsight Revisited

Nelson Lebo

In just four months 2020 has delivered more life lessons than most years do in 12. Along with those lessons have come new terms and phrases: social distancing; self-isolation; contact tracing; essential services.

Witnessing the ‘essential services’ lolly scramble has been mildly entertaining as different sectors lobbied for essential status with plenty of self-justifying rationalization. Ah yes, all services are essential but some services are more essential than others…

From my perspective I tend to think of the essentials as food, water, shelter and companionship.

Of the latter we have been able to provide safe accommodation for a number of adults who otherwise had no place to go for the duration of the lock down. This has resulted in a large bubble filled with board games, jigsaw puzzles, playing Lego with the kids, and walking bubba up the road to visit a neighbour’s horse. We’ve also enjoyed the regular act of speaking to neighbours ‘over the fence’ which has brought our rural cluster of homes closer together.

Regarding the other essentials, it’s been business as usual on our farm as would be the case on any permaculture property worldwide. Growing food, storing water and creating energy efficient spaces to live are at the heart of the permaculture movement, which provides a ready-made textbook for the type of resilience a wider audience is now clamouring for.

Despite what may be implied by the ‘Billionaire Bunkers’ of the South Island, resilience (and sustainability) need not be expensive. As shown by the 2011 renovation of our home in Castlecliff, meaningful results can be achieved on a shoestring budget. Here are some reflections published in the Chronicle on 30th January 2012.

 

Big savings in a year of living lightly

“We are now over the 12-month mark of renovating an abandoned villa in Castlecliff into a warm, dry energy-efficient home. When we set out on this low budget / high performance retrofit we had no specific numbers in mind for energy savings and waste reduction. We simply wanted to push the envelope and do the best we could. As it turns out, our power bill has averaged $20 per month (this includes the daily line charge) and we have spent a total of $20 in rubbish fees for the entire year. I’ve come to call this our “20-20 hindsight” but there is no reason it could not also be a 20-20 vision for others to work toward by the year 2020.

The first Conservation Comment I wrote in July explained the design principles we employed for our passive solar renovation that have helped us achieve low energy bills. There is nothing new or unusual about those principles: solar gain, thermal mass, insulation and draft proofing. Similarly, there is nothing new or unusual about the design principles for our approach to resource conservation: reduce, reuse and recycle. The 3 R’s have helped us reduce the cost and impact of the renovation project as well as the cost and impact of our day-to-day lives. Here are a few examples.

While we have followed the New Zealand Building Code and used treated pine, Braceline Gib, building paper, and heaps of insulation, there are also areas where we were able to reduce costs and impacts by reusing materials. Prime examples include the bathtub, vanity, washtub and toilet in the bathroom, and the bench, sink, mixer, drawers, and shelves in the kitchen. Perhaps the most visible example is the vintage Shacklock 501 multi-fuel range that I bought my wife two years ago as a wedding present and we worked with Building Control to find a way to install safely.

Regarding our household waste stream, we compost all of the food scraps and even our fish and chips papers. We save paper to burn in our Shacklock or our outdoor pizza oven (made from an old wood burner) or to mulch our gardens and fruit trees. We reuse plastic bread bags and other small non-recyclable plastic containers. Again, there is nothing special about any of this, other than the fact that we take it seriously and put out one bag of rubbish for every two months. Perhaps the most unusual thing we do at all is emphasize the costs savings rather than simply the environmental benefits. At the end of the day, eco-thrifty living makes dollars and sense.”

 

Along with the renovation we filled the section with fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Today the home and section are unrecognizable from a decade ago, and have been included in a recent book written by permaculture co-founder David Holmgren: RetroSuburbia: The downshifters guide to a resilient future.

In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown – which has forced almost all of us to downshift for six weeks anyway – this book and the greater RetroSuburbia movement seem more relevant than ever. Dani and I feel privileged to work with our Australian counterparts in promoting the movement on this side of the Tasman.

As this is my last conservation comment, I want to make sure to thank all those who have supported our community projects over the last decade including the major hardware stores and garden centres. I especially want to recognize the dozens of volunteers for the Curtain Bank and the Repair Café as well as the Whanganui Learning Centre and the Josephite Retreat Centre for their unqualified support.

Kia kaha, Estwing

7th Annual Permaculture Weekend: Community Resilience

The 7th Annual Whanganui Permaculture Weekend will be held in conjunction with the Festival of Adult Learning Ahurei Ākonga (Adult & Community Education Aotearoa).

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The focus will be on building household and community resilience.

Community Resilience Week

Permaculture and Adult Learning

7th – 13th September

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Wednesday 9th, 1 – 2:30: Backyard Gardening and Composting. 63 Tawa Street, Gonville

Free. No registration required. Sign-in and Social Distancing required. 

Thursday 10th, 4-5 PM: Basic Fruit Tree Care. Whanganui Learning Centre.

Free. No registration required. Sign-in and Social Distancing required. 

Thursday 10th, 6-7 PM: RetroSuburbia Case Study. Whanganui Learning Centre.

Free. No registration required. Sign-in and Social Distancing required. 

 

Saturday 12th, 9 AM – 1 PM: River Traders Market: River Exchange and Barter System (REBS) is Whanganui’s local currency. Learn more at the REBS stall.

Free. No registration required.

Saturday 12th, 2-3:30 PM: Repair Café. Mint Café

Menu: broken tool handles – please bring a replacement; small wooden items including toys; DIY sharpening of tools and knives – we have the gear; minor bicycle repairs and flat tyres;

By Donation. No registration required.

Saturday 12th, 4-6 PM: Building an Affordable Eco-Home: Key Points.

This workshop covers all aspects of designing and building a new home in an urban or rural location including: orientation; materials; energy performance; ventilation; windows & doors; insulation; self-build options; reusing materials; & more.

$45 p/p, $70 couples. Registration essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

 

Sunday 13th, 10-12:30 AM: RetroSuburbia Property Tour

From abandoned villa to affordable eco-home and section. This Whanganui property is the only case study outside of Australia to be included in David Holmgren’s RetroSuburiba: https://retrosuburbia.com/case-studies/eco-thrifty-retrofit-case-study/

$40 p/p, $60 couples. Registration essential. theecoschool@gmail.com

SEED SWAP 2020

This years seed swap is still going ahead but there will be a very different format.

If you have seeds you would like to share please drop them off at the Whanganui Environment Base at the Maria Place recycling centre. The drop off dates are from the 14th to the 25th of September, between the hours of 10-4, Mon-Fri.

Please include your name, phone and email and the details of each seed variety.

I will send out an email at the end of this time, to the addresses supplied, as well as the SW google group and the Seed Swap email group, listing what is available.

If you would like a seed parcel, please respond to the email with your name and number and the seeds that you would like.

Your parcel of seeds will be waiting for you at the Environment Base for pick up between the 5th and 9th of October.

Enquires can be emailed to Angela at nangethepange@hotmail.com

These changes are due to the difficultly in maintaining social distancing requirements under level 2.

Take care and keep well.

See you next year, Angela.