Writers: Sarah O'Neil

Sarah O'Neil

Sarah O’Neil lives on a small 3 acre lifestyle block. The family moved from the big city to the country in 2007. Sarah has published 3 books, including The Good Life, four glorious seasons in my country garden. She's also an award-winning blogger, winning a Yates Vegie Growing Challenge and still writes regularly. Visit Sarah’s website at sarahthegardener.co.nz.

How to make a compost oven


Christmas is a now a distant memory, you’ve rung in the New Year and relaxed yourself silly beside the beach. And now you’re home again with a month ahead before you slip back into the ebb and flow of the school year routine. Continue reading »

How to grow a giant pumpkin


Have you ever wondered how to grow a giant pumpkin for Halloween? When you think about Halloween, you instinctively think of an American celebration with carved pumpkins at the heart of it all. However, the carved pumpkin didn’t start out in America, and didn’t even start out as a pumpkin! Continue reading »

Way back when – Celebrating gardening


Back in the day our parents and grandparents were fortunate enough to live the quarter-acre dream. They had backyards big enough to have a large garden to supplement the family meals, a few fruit trees and plenty of lawn left over for active kids to romp and play until the sun went down. Continue reading »

Growing unusual veggies


In this busy modern world, cities are expanding and backyards are shrinking. Yet the desire to grow food is more pressing in the face of rising food costs and the instinctive need to give kids the freshest vegetables possible. Continue reading »

How to grow Brassicas

How to grow brassicas

Brassicas. These are all the good green favourites that as a kid you were made to eat because they were good for you, and if you were lucky it wasn’t boiled to a grey mush. We are talking about broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and the uber trendy kale. Continue reading »

Plant, eat and repeat: How to grow salad in the heat

How to grow salad

In the life of a garden it always feels like you are in the middle of something, the middle of a season, weeding, watering or harvesting.  But rarely anywhere near the end of gardening.  There was a definitive beginning when the decision was made to pick up a spade and turn the earth in order to grow your own food.  Since that time the gardener finds themselves in a constant cycle of tasks and chores. Continue reading »

How to build a bean tee-pee

Grow a bean tee-pee

Getting kids outside is an uphill struggle in this technologically wired world. In their desire to build and create in Minecraft they are losing ‘Life-craft’ knowledge. Food doesn’t just appear on their plates at meal times, by way of a packet that was transformed into something edible in the kitchen. Food comes from the outside, in the garden and if we can get our kids to put down their devices and controllers long enough they’ll step out into a world far more interesting than what a flat screen can provide.  Continue reading »

How to grow carrots

How to grow carrots

Sticks and stones may break my bones and make my carrots wonky! Continue reading »

Grow food for the love of the kids

Grow food for the love of kids

As a mum I want the best for my kids and one of the most basic ways to ensure they get the best out of life is to make sure what they put into their bodies is the freshest, nutrient rich food I can give them. They grow so fast and I feel like I am buying new shoes for each new school term at the moment. Having a couple of almost pre-teen boys is like having a couple of bottomless pits and it seems the hole is never filled. They are always hungry. Continue reading »

Dodging raindrops for winter gardening

Winter gardening

Winter is often considered the off season for fair weather gardeners, who enjoy the simple pleasures of sun warmed tomatoes and crisp salads on a hot day and incredibly sweet, sweetcorn straight from the plant. But for some gardeners, once soil gets under their nails something comes over them and the pursuit of home grown veggies almost becomes an obsession. The need to grow food overwhelms them and you can find these keen gardeners out there in all weathers tending their plots. I know this from experience, I’m one of them.  Continue reading »

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