Tag Archives: permaculture

Signs of Spring

Despite a very wet winter the farm is looking fabulous and the animals are very healthy. These pregnant goats were shifted into this paddock for a good spring feed.

We’ve had a dozen kids born this season with one doe left to go. Sophie had twins on Sunday afternoon.

Mindy had a Mini-Me

The red shaver chicks we bought in the autumn have grown into hens and laying eggs with the longer days. Eight hens are laying 5 to 6 eggs per day.

The 100+ poplar poles we planted this winter are starting to leaf out.

The piglets are looking plump and healthy, while the sows and boars are keeping on top of the fast growing grass.

The garlic is up and going – almost ready to be mulched.

Plum and peach blossoms have been plentiful and we are hoping for good fruit set.

Avos are ready to be picked.

And tomatoes are ready to go into the ground.

So much more to report but also so much work to be done!

Kia kaha, Estwing

Free Programmes 2022 – 2023

We’re excited to be working with Horizons Regional Council and the Whanganui Learning Centre to develop a programme based around community climate resilience in the areas of whare, whenua, and whanau.

2022-2023 Schedule

These events are free for residents of the Horizons region.
Partial funding comes from Horizons Regional Council.
Spaces limited. Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Stormwater without the Mansplaining
24th August, 5:30-7:30 pm
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St. Masks Required.
Do you have a damp home? Occasional flooding on your section? Pooling under your home?
This programme explains the ins and outs of stormwater and the various factors effecting it, as well as how it impacts on individual households and how residents can address it affordably and effectively.

Managing Marginal Land in/for Winter
August 28, 2-4 pm. Registration essential.
We’ve spent the last 8 years managing our land for too much and too little water. It’s in great shape and we’re opening the farm gate for a tour.

Holistic Land Management– Tour
October 16th, 9:30 – 12:30 am. Registration essential.
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, silvopasture, integrating poplar and willow, managing goats and kunekune pigs.

Climate Camp for Teens
29-30 October
Kaitiaki Farm, Okoia, Whanganui
Open to teens from the entire Horizons Region. 
Supporting and empowering teens in the face of increasing extreme weather events caused by human-induced climate change. 

Family Climate Fair
13 November, 1-3 pm.
Whanganui Intermediate School Hall
Empowering families to support one another to embrace more sustainable and resilient lifestyles. 
Activities, information tables, kai, speakers, group discussions, bike repair, games, toy & clothing swap, creating a bulk buying network & more

Family meet-up: Kowhai Park Fun & Games
December 10th, 12 – 3 pm
A relaxed family-friendly alternative to the “silly season.” Bring an example of a low-waste lunch. Bike repair tools will be on site. 

Keeping Cool During a Heat Wave
January 18th, 5:30-7:30
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St.
Too hot to sleep? We’ll share some ideas on how to keep your home as cool as possible without breaking the bank. 

Family meet-up: Bike to the Beach
January TBD
Two-wheeled hikoi from the city bridge to Castlecliff Beach supporting families embracing bicycling as a form of transportation. Then a big play day in the sand!

Family meet-up
February TBD

Love Your Land Day
16 February, 10 – 2:30. Registration essential.
Come along for a farm tour and speakers. BYO Lunch. 
Topics include: holistic land management; regenerative agriculture; riparian corridors; bush restoration; growing browse for stock; carbon credits; more

The Low-Carbon – High Efficiency – Affordable Home
February TBD. Registration essential.
This workshop helps demystify the home-building process for climate resilience and affordability. Topics include passive solar design, super-insulation, high performance windows, and where to claw back cost savings. 

Building Resilience on Your Land
April TBD. Registration essential.

Healthy Homes for Healthcare & Social Workers
April/May TBC
Whanganui Regional Health Network
This programme helps  healthcare and social workers to empower families improve the health and comfort of their homes. 
Register with Angela Weekly at the Whanganui Regional Health Network.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com
Kia Kaha!

Hedge Against Inflation

We’ve been practicing a form of permaculture we call “Eco-Thrifty” at our two homes in Whanganui for well over a decade. When we started our first blog in 2010 we thought the idea would catch on. It didn’t.

Twelve years later we are still at it and are reaping the harvests of avoiding the inevitable price rises in food and energy. Despite heading into winter and some seriously crazy weather, our farm is thriving and producing plenty of healthy kai while resisting the ravages of climate change.

Here is a visual update from yesterday.

Jerusalem artichoke off just two plants among hundreds.
Guavas tart and full of vitamin C to stay healthy.
Persimmons – my favourite!
Plenty of leafy greens.
These are apples in storage.
More vitamin-C-on-a-tree
Plenty of avocado trees laden with fruit.
Speaking of trees, here are some natives along with tree lucerne in a corner of our nursery.
Planted a few hundred garlic yesterday.
Found this little girl first thing yesterday morning.
Watched this kid being born yesterday afternoon.
And still had time for yoga.

Not bad for a blustery Sunday in June.

Peace, Estwing

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, silvopasture, 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

Celebrating a decade as the region’s leader in sustainability and resilience programming.

Brown Bag – Green Home
27th July, 12-1. FREE
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St.
BYO lunch and learn about the best options for home retrofit and renovation. 
Funding provided by ACE Aotearoa

Pruning Fruit Trees
27th July, 1-2. FREE
Whanganui Learning Centre, 232 Wicksteed St.
Outdoor workshop pruning pip fruit and stone fruit. 
​Funding provided by ACE Aotearoa

Hands-On with Poplar Poles & Tree Lucerne (Tagasaste)

August 14th, 2-4: pm. Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund

Poplars and tagasaste are the fastest and cheapest ways to get sizeable trees established on your land. Both are fast-growing, drought resistant and inexpensive to buy. Both respond well to pruning and make great stock fodder. This hands-on workshop includes planting poplar poles and propagating tree lucerne from seed.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

The Low-Carbon – High Efficiency – Affordable Home

September 18th, 2-4: pm. Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund

This workshop helps demystify the home-building process for climate resilience and affordability. Topics include passive solar design, super-insulation, high performance windows, and where to claw back cost savings.

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Kaitiaki Farm Weekend

October 15-16

Saturday afternoon 2 – 5 pm: 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 9:30 – 12:30: 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 1:30 – 4:30: 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

Climate Camp for Teens
29-30 October TBC
​Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Family Climate Fair
12 November TBC
​Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund

Register: theecoschool@gmail.com

Permaculture Design Certificate

January, 2023, Dates TBD

Love Your Land Day
February 16th, 10-4: pm. BYO Lunch.
Funded by Horizons’ Pūtea Hapori Urapare Āhuarangi – Community Climate Response Fund
Kaitiaki Farm is a thriving regenerative farm on the outskirts of Whanganui. The day will be split between a farm tour and presentations by Horizons officers along with specialists in other aspects of land management. 

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.

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

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