Rural People & Issues
This section of the website holds articles on everything you need to know about non-farming issues when living in the country. Choose from the menu on the left to browse our articles.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Strawberries
Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.
- William Butler
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Olives
The olive fruit is the greatest cure for any problem in life
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Mandarins
As the temperatures drop, we see the contents of the family fruit bowl change – gone are the soft, succulent summer fruits, first replaced by fragrant autumn beauties, which then give way to their robust, hardy winter cousins.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts, the fruit of the hazel tree, are an easy-care addition to the home garden, making them the perfect beginner species if you are new to nut growing.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Cape gooseberries
I’m currently harvesting a bountiful crop of paper lantern-clad Cape gooseberries from my patio.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Passionfruit
Passionfruit provide us with a taste of the tropics in late summer and autumn, arriving at the tail end of the stone fruit season and just before the apples, pears and feijoas arrive in full force.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Nectarines
I’ve just returned from a South Island road trip, with the back seat of my car piled with Central Otago summer fruit and other regional delicacies destined to fill the fruit bowls and pantries of family and friends.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Gooseberries
Whoever came up with the story about infants originating from the base of gooseberry bushes must have been a bit misguided and definitely not a gardener.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Avocados
The avocado takes pride of place at the 21st century dining table – receiving honourable mentions for adaptability and its nutritional profile. What’s not to like?
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Limes
The lemon’s slightly less well-known cousin, the lime, has become a culinary stalwart in recent years.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Cherries
No fruit screams “Kiwi Christmas!” louder than a bowl of cherries.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Macadamias
In these unsettled times, with the threat of food shortages looming, it’s always good to take stock of what sorts of things can be grown or produced locally.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – A peach by any other name
The dark red, velvet-skinned, late season peach beloved of many Kiwi has recently undergone a name update, bringing it firmly into the 21st century. Sanguine peach, call it what you may, this fruit holds a special place in the hearts of countless New Zealanders.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Oranges
The winter months are when citrus crops really begin to shine. I think my favourite thing about mid to late winter is seeing the New Zealand oranges begin to appear on the supermarket shelves (or at your local market, if you’re lucky).
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Feijoas
Feijoas were the go-to autumn garden snack for us as kids, with the ‘pick them up off the ground, not off the bush’ rule drummed in from the start. To this day I’m very wary of under-ripe feijoas and their mouth-puckering acidity.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Cherry guavas
With winter well and truly setting in, the flashy fruits of summer and autumn are long gone and our fruit bowls are stocked with dependable, storage-friendly apples, kiwifruit and citrus. Did you know there’s a bright flavour-bomb of a fruit that ripens on the heels of the feijoa and steadily produces into the winter months?
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Tamarillos
Tamarillos are subtropicals, tolerating only light frosts, and are also sensitive to high heat environments and drought conditions. They will not tolerate waterlogging or having wet feet either, and being large-leaved, smallish trees or shrubs with soft, semi-woody and fairly brittle stems, need protection from wind as well.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl - Almonds
Did you know you can get dwarf almond trees? Did you know they're quite easy to grow? Did you know they're delicious?
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Rhubarb
Easy to grow and delicious to eat, but did you know rhubarb can also be used as a natural cleaner, soap ingredient and pest control?
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Loquats
In terms of fruit and vegetable production, the late winter and early spring months can be deceptively sparse but loquats can fill the gap.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Currants
Did you know that blackcurrants have some lesser-known relatives which are much milder on the palate and can even be eaten as a fresh dessert fruit? Enter the red and white currants…
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Apricots: Summer’s Gold
I’ll be spending most of my weekend in the kitchen, engulfed in a cloud of steam, with a sticky bench and even stickier complexion. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Notable plums
February is indeed the month of ‘peak plum’ and I’ve just spent the last week bottling, jamming and dehydrating the last of the rooftop haul.
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl – Beyond the Meyer lemon
For cold-hardiness and reliable production of relatively sweet, juicy fruit, you can’t go past a Meyer, and they are a great starting point. But what of the other, lesser-known, but no less interesting members of the lemon clan?
Your Backyard Fruit Bowl - The humble Choko
Maturing in late autumn to early winter, and with good storage potential, it is a handy substitute for cucumbers and zucchini in the months when these vegetables are absent.
As a home garden specimen tree, the persimmon offers not only a plentiful source of fruit heading into the winter months but also a brilliant display of colour as its foliage turns in the autumn.
Nothing screams autumn like the musky-sweet scent of homegrown grapes, hiding in amongst their leafy surrounds and just waiting for the keen eyes of a backyard treasure-hunter.
The 100 Mile Diet
The 100 Mile Diet, was a one-year experiment by a Canadian couple in eating food grown within 100 miles.