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Tomato, spinach, panir casserole

Recipe from Change of Heart by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker

Tomato Ponsonby RedYou can substitute any of the summer greens for spinach in this quick and easy dish.

8 heritage tomatoes – quartered and cored

2 cups cooked spinach

1 cup panir 1cm cubed* see recipe below

1 Tbsp lard, coconut or olive oil

sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

1 cup posole (ground) or breadcrumbs* see below

1/2 cup grated butter

Place tomatoes, spinach, panir, seasoning and oil into a bowl and mix well.Place into a baking dish and cover either with breadcrumbs or ground posole, mix well with the grated butter. Bake at 180degC for about 30 minutes or until brown on top.

*Posole – which you can buy in some supermarkets as Masa flour

Pasole is a traditional way of eating corn where the dried corn is processed with either wood or shell as to increase its nutritional value (up to 60 times more available calcium hydroxide. It’s best made in large batches as it is quite a process. If you have experience of making posole, please get in touch [email protected]
To begin soak six cups of dried corn overnight in water. Pour off the water and put in a pot with 2 cups of bone/shell ash-water, and cover with extra water. Make sure the corn remains covered throughout the cooking process. Simmer for one hour or longer, until the skin can be rubbed off the kernels.
Remove from heat and drain. Place in a colander and rub under running water until you have removed as many of the skins as possible. Then put everything into a bowl or bucket and float off the skins.
Return to the pot and cover with water. Continue cooking for another hour and repeat the whole de-skinning process until the corn kernels are white, fluffy and skinless. They are now ready to be ground for tortillas, added to soup, or dried.


3 litres milk

1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar

1 colander

1 cloth (30x30cm)

Bring your milk to the boil. Slowly add just enough apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to curdle the milk. (I prefer the taste of lemon juice in panir, but either is good).
Next turn heat off and gently stir as little as possible with a wooden spoon until you have a clear yellow why and a mass of panir. If you do not have clear yellow why, add a little more vinegar or lemon juice. Leave the curds in a solid mass, do not break up by stirring.
When you are happy your curds and whey have separated as much as possible, put a cloth inside a colander in the kitchen sink and ladle in the curds. Hang your curd-filled cloth up on the kitchen hook and leave to drain. this will happen very fast and not a lot of whey will come out.
Leave the curds to cool, than remove from cloth and use or freeze for later.
I usually cube the panir and to add to soups or fry and add to veggie dishes.
Because the whey has been boiled and will not contain the life raw whey contains, (although it still has many nutrients), I prefer to feed it to the animals rather than use it in the kitchen, but it can add excellent flavour to soups and stews in place of stock.



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Bee-babies and moon-suits


I wonder if this is what it is like to be a first-time parent with a newborn baby??

Suddenly, you are in charge of LIFE, of another being that sort-of plonks, mysterious, into your world, and nine different aunties tell you ten different tales about how to care for this cryptic creature; how to satisfy it’s natural instincts, how to protect it from this mighty mean world, how to know what it wants – and you think, blimey, why did I get knocked-up by curiosity in the first place?
And newborn babies don’t come with five thousand venomous bottoms.
I have been on the bee-team (which, as it happens, is way cooler than the A-team) for six months, apprenticing myself under the wonderful Christy & Cody Kerr – our favourite Kentucky-fried couple with a bit more than a passion for our fuzzy buzzy friends. My intro to beekeeping was hardly your happy hands-free powerpoint situation – we had everything from laying workers to relentless robbing to varroa infestations – indeed, I look forward to the day when my beekeeping style resembles more that of Pooh-bear off to a picnic than Mad Max in a moon-suit with a semi-smoking canister of twigs and a question-mark floating over my head.
I jest, I jest – it is less often lack of confidence with bees that gives me my sometimes underwater feeling than it is my mountain of awe at their nature. They know what’s what – it’s not hard to feel like a fumbling hooligan in the midst of such exquisite architecture and super-social genius. I begin to realise just how important it is to hit the balance between mothering them through all the abuses they are subject to, from pests or humans, and letting them work it out themselves. The bottom line is to build colonies of honeybees that do not rely on drugs or sugar for their survival, like some poor patient on life-support, but are naturally strong and resilient to all the ever-changing environmental pressures in their (that is, our) world.
Allow me a quick plug? On the weekend of April 19-20 we are holding a top-bar beekeeping workshop in our wee apiary at Koanga. Great chance to get your head around the buzz, and your hands too. It’ll be theory and discussion (and happy powerpoints!) on the basics – colony structure, seasonal hive management, pros and cons of different hive designs, problem-solving etc, along with plenty of time getting into the hives themselves and having a serious nosy around. We’ll build a top-bar hive from scratch, monitor some varroa, play with some beeswax, watch a doco or two in the evening, and generally have a rollicking good time, I reckon.
Til then,
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Forest garden – an almond tree writes


My name is Shaked, and this is the opening post for our forest garden/ nursery Koanga blog.

Now, if you ask yourself Sha…. what? -as many kiwis do, Sha-ked is how its pronounced, and since I’m originally from Israel, Shaked in Hebrew means Almond tree.
I was born on a special day in Israel, which, in direct translation means the holiday for the trees. The almond is the first tree to blossom in Israel at this time of the year, and so…. I was born a tree.

I arrived at Koanga a year-and-a-half-ago, have done my Permaculture Design Coure  here, a bio-intensive gardening internship, and have started to work for the institute. Now I manage our organic heritage fruit tree nursery and our developing forest garden.

And so, I am so excited to be doing this work and research, to learn and to teach, and now, I am more than happy to share this also on our forest garden blog.

Plum- Marabella

So, in order to share what’s going on here, I would like to start with what we are actually trying to achieve.
The Koanga Institute, and mostly Kay Baxter, has collected around 200 different heritage varieties of apples, pears, stone fruit, olives, berries, figs, grapes, and more over the last 30-years. Most of these have been planted here, at the developing Kotare village, outside of Wairoa, in Northern Hawke’s Bay, which is where Koanga Institute moved to three-years-ago.
As the collection needed to be planted in order to be kept alive, this is the first stage at which our forest garden started with. Yet there are more trees from the collection to be planted here, and obviously more to be collected, (we are just starting to get familiarized with our new bio-region, and develop a collection based on the Hawke’s Bay climate, soil and history)


So, what are we actually aiming for?
Well, if I needed to put it in one sentence it would be:

“A local, regenerative, resilient system, that provides us with highly nutritious food and other basic human needs, while being efficient and easily manageable.”

…while of course, taking care of our collection, making it more resilient and less demanding, and making the trees available to everyone.

blueberry atlantic

Where are we now?
Well, most of our heavy feeders are already planted, some are fruiting, and more will fruit in the next few seasons.
And now, we are slowly building the rest of the forest layers.
In some of the blocks we have already started establishing the lower trees. As quite a bit of our land has good drainage down to a silt pan 0.5-1.5 m under the top soil and pumice, we needed to find many varieties that could handle wet feet.
We have planted some tagasaste, siberian pea tree, tree medic, acacia, casuarina, maakia, alder, and more varieties of mainly nitrogen-fixing, poultry-feed trees, that will do well in our climate and drainage/ soil type.
In a couple of weeks we are conducting a forest garden design workshop.  This will take everything we’ve learned throughout our experience here as well as Kay’s 30+ years of experience. The workshop is aimed to share these experiences so more people understand and start to implement their own forest gardens.


My other main focus these days is our nursery.
There we grow from seed or cuttings our support trees for the forest garden, mainly propagating from the organic heritage fruit tree collection, making those available for anyone who wishes to be fed with these amazing heritage cultivars of fruit.
Last month we invited Murray Jones, an experienced nursery man, to share with me a budding lesson. This was great, watching and experiencing a new (for me) technique for propagation.
We walked through the forest garden, collected scionwood from the trees to be propagated for the next season, and budded them on rootstocks we propagated last season.
This allows us to do most of the propagation now, it’s faster and easier, giving us another opportunity to graft later on whatever didnt take.
These budded trees will be on the 2015 Koanga tree catalogue, while the 2014 catalogue has just been published a month ago. It is filled with flavours, ideas and stories.


It’s a bit awkward, as most of these trees I am propagating I have never tasted yet, and Kay is my guide for all the “which and how”. Although, the last season was a great start for my heritage fruit tasting. I was waiting for it, and it hasn’t disappointed -even though the peaches were the only ones mature enough to produce fruit yet.
It started with Mary’s christmas, Mammie ross, Christina, Four winds, Batley, Green’s special, Mrs. Robinsons, Massie eliot, and Waiatea. Wow!! What an awesome variety of timing and flavours, from white flesh to yellow and dark orange, sweet and buttery. Definitely the best peaches I’ve ever tasted.
I really love my duty here!
If your trees are producing more than you can eat in one go, try Kay’s peach crumble recipe.


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Peach crumble

Taken from Change of Heart – The Ecology of Nourishing Food by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker


Serves four

Slice eight ripe peaches and arrange carefully into the bottom of a 20cm pie dish. Sprinkle with 1/4 a cup of rapadura sugar or honey, followed by the crumble mix.

To make the crumble you need:

1/2 a cup of butter (grated)

1/2 a cup of rapadura* or honey

1 cup posole* or sprouted, dried grain wheat*, or wheat flour

If using posole or sprouted wheat, grind it in a corn grinder first, then place in a bowl with grated butter and rapadura/honey. Mix thoroughly with fingers and sprinkle over peaches. Place in a moderate oven and bake until golden brown on top. Serve with kefir cream or ordinary cream.

*Rapadura sugar is made from the juice extracted from the sugar cane which is then evaporated over a low heat and ground to produce a grainy dark rich sugar. It is free of chemicals.

*Sprouted dried wheat grain: Place wheat in a glass sprouting jar. Soak for 12 hours, then drain, rinse and leave covered to sprout for 12 hours.
Rinse, drain and cover again. Repeat that process until the small white rootlets first appear. Dry these sprouts in a solar dryer, dehydrator, or very low temperature oven.
The grain is then ready to grind as per normal. It has a sweet and nutty taste. We have organic heritage seeds for wheat and nine other grains available.

Posole – which you can buy in some supermarkets as Masa flour


Posole is a traditional way of eating corn where the dried corn is processed with either wood or shell as to increase its nutritional value (up to 60 times more available calcium hydroxide. It’s best made in large batches as it is quite a process. If you have experience of making posole, please get in touch [email protected]
To begin soak six cups of dried corn overnight in water. Pour off the water and put in a pot with 2 cups of bone/shell ash-water, and cover with extra water. Make sure the corn remains covered throughout the cooking process. Simmer for one hour or longer, until the skin can be rubbed off the kernels.
Remove from heat and drain. Place in a colander and rub under running water until you have removed as many of the skins as possible. Then put everything into a bowl or bucket and float off the skins.
Return to the pot and cover with water. Continue cooking for another hour and repeat the whole de-skinning process until the corn kernels are white, fluffy and skinless. They are now ready to be ground for tortillas, added to soup, or dried. To grow your own corn check out our 17 different organic heritage seed varieties.



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Thorny Croft – March update

bob_corker_portraitBob Corker is an experienced permaculture designer, who has specialised in large scale landscaping projects as well developing intentional communities, using appropriate technologies. He manages Thorny Croft farm with his son Taiamai. Both will be tutoring on our upcoming four week animal internship.

Grazing Management and Transitioning into Multi-tiered Production – continuing on from Bob’sfirst blog, The Thorny Croft Vision

The inspiring vision of the multi-tiered perennial solar production system is somewhat tempered by the reality of a flat grassed paddock and a few weeds (thistles).  Our challenge is the transition, which in terms of reaching ‘full production’ will take maybe up to twenty years before the canopy trees are dropping nuts to their full potential.

First Stage  – Grazing rotations and pasture renovation
Our main aims are to:
·    Never graze for periods of more 1 or 2 days on the same pasture (preferably one day or less if we’ve got the time to manage it)
·    Establish a rotation between 40- 60 days according to season and conditions
·    Have a high stocking density so that a considerable amount of the pasture gets trodden on and generally trashed to form part of the carbon recycling
·    Trying to just graze the young tops (where most of the nutrition is)
·    Leaving enough length in the grass to foster quick regrowth
·    ‘Bank’ grass during good growing periods, and draw down on that bank during slower growth periods
·    Soil test and add appropriate fertilisers (in this case calcium bound in an organic form)
So far the most dramatic response to this has been the change of pasture species and the increased production.  When we first started, after the farm had been mostly set stocked for many years, there were almost no clovers and a predominance of yorkshire fog (which is more tolerant of set stocking), now we are seeing lots of clover, and more rye grass and others.  We are also seeing much more root depth.

IMG_0592Typical pasture under a set stocking regime. Note the lack of clover. Brix values typically 3-4

We are building fertility which will lead us into the second stage

IMG_0588Two years of rotational grazing. Lots of clover and less ‘fog’. Brix value 12 or over.

Second Stage –  Progressive perennial establishment
We are aiming to progressively establish our perennial base.    The exact proportion each year will depend on our development budget
Essentially we’ll fence off broad strips aligned with our grazing patterns, and plant these up with four categories.
·    Fast growing pioneer perennials that will handle a  40 – 60 day rotation, including, rye grass, comfrey, lucerne, red clover, chicory, plantain, and others
·    Fast growing pioneer perennial trees that will handle a  40 – 60 day rotation, including tagasaste, forage willow, and assorted acacias
·    Medium fast perennials that will produce poultry and/or pig forage and/or human food, including mulberry, apples, hazels, others
·    Slower, canopy trees (main producers), chestnuts, forage oaks, walnuts,

For the first year there will be little if any grazing, and probably only with young stock. However, we are also experimenting with an organic grazing repellant which will enable grazing earlier.  (more on that to come)

Stage Three  –   Progressive maturing
Once the whole area is planted in perennials, there will be a progressive maturing of the system, early production will come mostly still from pasture and fast growing perennial crops, as time proceeds the production of the mid height  and canopy trees will dominate.

Happy growing!
See Taiamai’s blog on the Thorny Croft sheep.

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Thorny Croft Farm – sheep

pig2Taiamai Corker is the son of Kay Baxter. Along with his dad, Bob Corker, Taiamai manages the farm at Koanga Institute’s Thorny Croft Farm. He lives there with his wife Franzi and their two-year-old daughter Elanor. Working with animals is his great passion. Taiamai and Bob with be taking the up-coming, four-week, animal internship which covers all facets of running a small organic farm...

…It’s an exciting time for the sheep at Thorny Croft – this is the week we put the rams in with the ewes in order to get our spring lambs.
We’ve been building up our stock ever since we arrived in Wairoa, three-years-ago and now have about 80 ewes and a couple of rams from 15 original ewes.
Ideally in the future we’d like a flock of around 200.
In keeping with the Koanga kaupapa, our sheep are all heritage breeds: Wiltshire Horn and East Freisians.

Wiltshire Horns
Wiltshire Horns

Wiltshire Horn are one of the oldest English breeds, harking back to Roman times. Producing an average of 1.8 healthy lambs a year, they are a hardy, easycare breed, which makes them well suited to organic farming.
They are well adapted to the warm weather as their horns help to cool them, while shedding their wool helps prevent fly strike.

East Freisians
East Freisians

The East Freisians are a milking sheep from Holland and Germany. We started out with three lambs  which we hand-raised and added a black ram and ewe to the mix because the pure white ones get sunburned on their pink ears, feet and noses. Soon we will have bred this out of them.
While less hardy than the Wiltshires, East Freisians are a friendly, breed, who are easily trained with treats.  They produce two to four lambs a year.
As so many of our sheep have been hand-raised, they are not skittish around humans. This makes them great to work with because you can just walk up and check on them. Keeping them this tame will be one of the challenges of having a larger flock.
I love working with them and get a kick out of watching how excited they become when exploring a new paddock, literally jumping and skipping about. The Freisians are quite animated compared to other breeds.

East Freisians
East Freisians

In line with organic principles we don’t vaccinate or use commercial drench or chemicals for parasites or flystrike and we don’t dock our sheep’s tails.
Like in the garden, the emphasis is on getting the right minerals into the sheep food so they are natually hardy enough to withstand parasites and diseases.
We give them a stock primer from Environmental Fertilisers which is beneficial for gut function and drench them with a cider vinegar-garlic mix.
Eventually we will start rotational grazing the sheep (more fencing needed) which will largely break the worm cycle.
As with the vegetables we grow, we are putting a lot of effort into re-mineralising the soil, via organic fertilisers, so the sheep’s grass is nutrient dense.

East Freisians
East Freisians

The intention with biological farming is that eventually we won’t to have bring in any outside fertiliser. Once the minerals in the soil have built up, the whole system should be self-regenerating. The use of selected fertilisers is just a quicker way of restoring the  balance to the soil, after so many years of set stocking and a superphosphate based fertiliser regime
In a few years time our lambs and sheep will be skipping happily around on lush, sustainable  pastures and the East Freisans will hopefully be  producing delicious cheese.

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Urban Garden February 2014

Steady progress on the animal front, and a few hard lessons as well…
gadn Our baby rabbits are now weaned at six-weeks-old, having fun in their own cage next to mummy. They are doing super well on tagasaste and cut herbs and grass.
The average weight of the rabbits at weaning was ½ a kg
We are not going to buy another buck because all rabbits we buy in have been fed industrial pellets and hay, and do not seem to be as strong and healthy as our rabbits are now. We are on generation two of “no industrial feed, only daily harvested organic tagasaste and herbs”, so we’re keen to use our own buck. This will bring us back full circle to line breeding with our rabbits, which is how most of the old time animal breeders operated. Mother – son, and father – daughter, but never brother over sister.

The chickens have also done super well, we have six hens and all of them are still laying in mid March every day, almost!
The guinea pigs have been a learning curve. The holes in our netting were to big and first guinea pig escaped out the bottom and now the cat is putting his paws through quite small grids as well. We have come to the conclusion that the wire netting needs to be 20cm hexagonal or square netting (hexagonal is way cheaper and we made two cages out of 1 5m roll) to keep guinea pigs in when young and also to keep cat paws out! We have also found that the guinea pigs can get the grass up just as easily through tiny holes as big ones, so it doesn’t seem to matter.
We’re still looking for more females so if you know of any body with spare short haired females please let us know.
The guinea tractor system seems to be working very well, they are certainly the easiest animals to take care of and feed, and if there is no off site food such as tagasaste available in your urban area then guinea pigs will be the best option for you.
Our bees in good form. They began the season as a weak swarm that we a lot of trouble with but is now almost a large enough hive to over winter well and get off to a good start next spring.

All of the fruit trees are growing steadily, getting lots of vermiliquid and mulch and compost and vermicast from within the system, and we will be putting up espaliering wires around the entire fence area shortly for training. Lots of forest garden support trees and plants to go in next. The guild including the orchard herbal lay we planted under our single lemon tree last month is now away, the beans are climbing, the artichokes visible, the alfalfa is up and the tree lupins away along with the comfrey, sorrel, chicory, milk vetch etc.
Our biggest issue this month was that we did not get our succession of seedlings in in time to have them ready when our summer crops came out and we now have nothing to harvest in the veggie garden!!This is a major problem if that is our food, and a big learning curve for new gardeners. Getting the replanting of seeds and successions right is a bit of an art, and comes with experience!

Our outputs in February were as follows and I think we can easily double that next time around…

EE1iUIWe’re having a ball in this garden, we will learn a lot here that will inspire and support a lot of others. … keep an eye out for next months blog


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The solar dryer

marcoMarco has come to Koanga from Tauranga with his wife and six-month-old baby, to do a three-month appropriate technology apprenticeship. The solar drier is just one of many projects he has thrown himself into….

As part of our Appropriate Technology course we made a solar drier to harness the sun’s energy for   drying and preserving some of our excess fruit and vegetables so we can eat them throughout the year.
The basic design is a radiant heat solar drier. It is a really easy design, but works really effectively.
Basically there is a layer of glass that is propped up on a timber frame, and two layers of corrugate iron.  The sun shines through the clear glass at the top of the drier which then hits the black painted corrugate iron that heats up the metal.
drid tomsThe heat from the underside of the metal then heats the food below in a stainless mesh tray, causing  it to lose moisture and dry.  The moisture leaving the food flows out under the screen and up the sloped air channels. The cool air comes through the corrugate troughs and draws the hot air and moisture out leaving behind tasty dried food.
You can dry all sorts of fruit and vegetables. Depending on the size of the fruit and amount of sun, the drying process can happen in a day or two.  It would be advised to put the produce in on a sunny day and to cut it quite thinly.  As you can see in the photo above, we have wild blackberries, alma tomatoes (which are specific for drying), elderberries and peaches.
solar groupWe have made a large solar drier to suit the community, but you could build a much smaller one for home use out of pallets, for example.

Here is our design draft:
Solar drier sketch

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Millie’s garden apprenticeship

mllAged only 19, Millie originally came to the institute all the way from Geraldine for a two month seed internship. She likes it so much she’s decided to stay for three years as a garden apprentice. Here are her words…

…It’s been three months since I fell into Koanga, and landed on both feet. It’s a place where the seasons carry us and an almost forgotten rhythm of of life can be lived.
I’ve learned that plants do not come from little plastic trays on a store shelf, but have a much greater life-cycle.

….And more importantly, I’ve learned that the life-cycle of each plant is so intricately woven into ours, that it becomes a question of: are we growing the garden or is the garden growing us?

Everyday Mother Nature asks us to step back and keep things in perspective…. “Sure, you can do the finickity weeding of every plant out of place,” Mother Nature says. “But tomorrow, I will rain like hell and the next day, little weedy will grow again!”
My eyes are wide open now, I’ve learned a huge amount. But the garden continues… the marrows are the size of table legs, the birds are in the millet and the river is cool and potable.

Where else would I want to be?


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Kay’s Garden Blog -February


05.02.08 064February 2014
The Summer is fading, but I’m still holding onto the warm days, the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants… and … we’re putting away pumpkins, onions, potatoes, and will have loads of flour corn . We’re fermenting all of our own tomato paste and sauce, and our chilli sauce.  Next season we’ll need a corn crib and a pumpkin rack like we used to when we had big gardens in Kaiwaka, along with a potato clamp. I think a kind of clamp would be great for storing other root crops too so that they keep fresh and crisp and the beds can be planted in the following rotation. Beetroot keep well in clamps and daikon too as well as carrots.
We cleaned our September planted Essene flax seed today, as well as our hulless barley which was sitting under the cloche to become super dry and crunchy, and easier to thresh. I also cleaned the first harvest of our white Scotch runner beans which will become our winter soup beans. Every crop produces a little more each year as the soil improves…
17.9.09 029

Growing Soil
I have been so inspired on this soil building journey by John Jeavons  of Biointenisve fame, by all the teachers in the Biological Agriculture movement of which Beddoe in his book Nourishment Home Grown has been the most important. Albert Bates in The Biochar Solution inspired me with his stories of the terra preta soils in the Amazon… if they could do it so can we.. and that’s my goal, deep black, alive, soil in my home garden that continues to sequester carbon and grow soil because it has a life of its own. Biochar is also part of our solution together with excellent compost making techniques, and initially bringing in minerals. These three systems put together are dynamite, and totally inclusive of each other.. however it is quite a journey learning even one of these systems. If you are really interested in learning to work with the laws of nature, to regenerate your life and your environment I suggest you begin one of the above mentioned books. We are about to put a blog on the website that describes in detail our three year journey so far building soil here, with all our soil tests and recipes etc etc. I’m doing it because I think it a valuable journey to share with all of you, we all need to do it!!
We have developed a system you will hear much more of (watch our appropriate technology blogs) for using biochar makers to heat the hot water for showers at the Institute. That gives us 40 litres each week of high quality Biochar, that can go directly into the Institute compost heaps or onto the forest garden floor. We need to find a way to adapt that so it is practical to use for families, when heating water to wash clothes or  for showering or bathing. If each family produced enough biochar to put 5 litres into their compost each week it would support the growth of black, alive, soil very quickly.
My garden beds that had the most Biochar put into them two-years-ago are doing by far the best now. That is where the corn is 3-plus metres high and the sunflowers 3 ½ m high.
brad biocharBrad beside his new Biochar burner

National Tour
If building ‘Growing soil’ is the aim of the game then  we are making serious progress…. Nutrient dense vegetables, grass, animals and human health all stem from that. I’m still learning lots on this journey … but at this point it feels for me as though the science and the cellular level learning are coming together, happening at the same time, acknowledging and supporting each other, that there is a balance there. I love it and I’m excited to be travelling around the country this May /June sharing with you all some of my understandings and learnings in these critical leading edge areas….we are finding a way  back to the ancient wisdom…


My Body is Choosing Nutrient Dense More and More
Every season I find myself planting and eating vegetables that I previously chose not to because they were not as sweet or too strong or bitter… my body is definitely changing and I’m enjoying the more nutrient dense vegetables more and more. Now I find I crave more and more those that are more likely to nourish me. I’m just loving the Magenta Spreen this Summer, I”ve eaten more of it than ever. I mostly cook it in butter or lard with other veg or pop it straight into the soup pot. However, last Summer when Claire was here she made Pesto with it and that was wonderful too. Simply replace basil with Magenta Spreen or even common old Lamb’s Quarters.
This Autumn I’m Planting Fillbasket Brussels Sprouts, Purple Sprouting broccoli, Dalmation cabbage, Borecole, and Ruapehu cauliflower. The brassicas with the darkest green leaves and the most purple colour contain the highest levels of phytonutrients, and this selection means I will have something to pick all the time.
My other winter favourites are Nutty celery, a must in every garden (did you notice that shop celery is the most toxic vegetable in the shops), Cylindrical beetroot, dark, productive and tasty, and Oxheart and Yellow Austrian Llobericher carrots, amazing colour and cooked and raw… you can easily taste that they contain less sugar and more phytonutrients than our modern sugar sticks. Rosso endive, being red leafed and open hearted it is extremely high in phytonutrients, Winter lettuce, open hearted  lettuces are far more nutritious than tightly hearted lettuces, Upland cress dark green leaves, Aomaru Koshun daikon full of colour and Ohno Scarlett turnips also full of dark red colour.
My carbon crops for next springs compost materials will be oats ( they unlock the most phosphate and grow to be super high brix) and Tic beans also a legume and excellent food both seeds and greens., hulless barley  and essene flax seed. All good for eating as well as carbon.

Peaches- Christina- Marrianna R/S

Forest Garden and Poultry
Our emerging Forest Garden is getting to the stage where some parts of it look like a shaded forest, the chickens love those parts best, and I am now able to chop and drop a tagasaste every week, around fruit trees in it’s area. The cardoons are flowering and coming up again, their stems will soon also be compost on the forest floor, the Siberian Pea trees have grown a lot this year, their second, and so have the Goumi and the acacias (retinoides) . All of the fruit trees are showing they are there now too so we’ll see a lot of progress over the next year I think. Our First Hyndmans figs are ripe now, we just had our first big crop of Peaches ( 4Winds, stunning fruit), and our grandson Oliver has had a ball this Summer taking care of all our young poultry being raised as replacements for our laying hens and ducks.  Somehow it’s been a great year for raising the young poultry, they have thrived on curds and comfrey and alfalafa and occasional minced meat/fat and free range, and some soaked sprouted grain as well. This year we have enough young birds to be able to choose the very best of them to replace half of our existing flocks, the way we were taught by the old poultry breeders our children learned from years ago. We will have fertile eggs of our Brown Leghorns and our Fawn Indian Runner ducks next Spring. It’s awesome being able to feed our poultry such amazing food and know that we are actually breeding them again for those that do well in on such high quality free range tucker.

See you this winter when we visit a town near you